Bouquets to Art is a major fund raiser for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco – it pairs floral designers with major pieces of art on display throughout the museum. This is my 6th year participating as a designer and thought I would share the process with you.
Two weeks ago, I was paired with a beautiful metal sculpture by Ruth Asawa; to call it metal macramé doesn’t do it justice but perhaps provides some context beyond the photo. It is my second time attempting to interpret Ruth Asawa – last year my exhibit just didn’t quite realize my vision, so I requested a rematch!
A week or so ago, I was at the museum and visited the space. Her art is difficult to capture since so much of the beauty is in the shadows cast by the intricate weavings and texture of the pieces. And they are metallic, not exactly a color found in floral material. So my inspiration is to try and work with the shadows and surroundings.
I did a couple of sketches, refining the composition of the exhibit. I’ve learned from past experience to keep it simple (a lesson I have to relearn each year!), so I plan to work in a fairly small scale.
Next up: Production of the mechanics. Needs to follow rules of public space (stability, access), museum (no products that can introduce anything that could damage surrounding artwork) and floral (water source, longevity).
A trip to SCRAP and Home Depot scored the materials I needed. Instead of perforated bronze metal that would replicate the metal skin of the building used by the architect and seen through the nearby window, I found a piece of drainage plastic that when painted bronze looks fantastic! Also instead of making a concrete mould, I found a patio pot tray that will be a great foundation for the piece! Still keeping it simple.
Next up: Production and trip to Flower Mart. The pieces I have are going to dictate the scale for the final arrangement. Not sure what floral materials will work to the scale I need; hoping for inspiration at the Market.
Whew, now I am worried; the structural part of the arrangement (the mechanics) went too smoothly. It never goes smoothly. The San Francisco Flower Market is pretty cool, one of the largest wholesale markets in the country. It was busy this morning with dozens floral designers searching out materials for their exhibits. I found some purple thistle and fern that shares textures with the art, so that is my starting point. I also picked up some green spray rose, air plants and couple of other types of fern. Somehow this is all going to be open and airy, creating an engaging play of shadow just like the Asawa art. Not so sure about the keeping it simple part today.
Next up: Build the actual floral arrangement. The difficulty will be creating some airy that really doesn’t have a base, and contains enough water to sustain it for a week. Otherwise I’ll need to replace it during the week. The branchy ball is a stark reminder of the small scale of the arrangement.