Photos by Maxwell Tielman
Welcome back to Sound Garden! This week’s musical inspiration is a study in paradox. Matthew Sweet’s third album, Girlfriend, was released in 1991 and is a shining example of utterly listenable power pop. Many critics have lauded it as among the best albums of the 1990s. This is all well and good, except for the fact that it is an album entirely devoted to his painful divorce. If you listen to the lyrics and themes closely and ignore the bright guitar and upbeat rhythms, Sweet’s sadness is revealed. I seem to have a yen for albums like this; much of Stevie Wonder’s early work features heavy lyrics paired with gorgeous, lofty music. We can take some time at a later date to speculate about the complexity of my musical taste, but for now, on to the flowers! :)
I’m on a sugary sweet hangover from Valentine’s Day, so I selected some real beauties this week. The photograph on the cover of the album is of Tuesday Weld (an actress from the 1950s), and I just love her knowing look and vintage fur collar. Because the image is so soft, cozy and romantic, I chose blooms that not only matched the muted palette but also reflected the feathery textures.
Follow along with me after the jump as I take you through a “craft” for non-crafters (like me!). We will wrap up a vase just like Tuesday Weld is wrapping herself up on Girlfriend‘s cover. And I will demonstrate a floral arrangement that includes sweet, feminine blooms and, as always, a hint of spiky texture. —
The full post continues after the jump . . .
Above are the “showcase” blooms for our arrangement.
Above are the supporting players.
Although I am forever crazy about mercury glass vessels, I decided I wanted something softer and warmer for this particular arrangement. Using a thick silk-wired ribbon, I wrapped the vase from top to bottom.
First, I took a strip of clear, sticky floral adhesive that you can find at any floral supply or craft store. There are two kinds of floral adhesive. The first comes in green and has a silly putty-like texture. This adhesive is good for keeping taper candles secure in candelabras, “gluing” a large floral arrangement to a pedestal vase, etc. The second kind is used here. It is clear and has the texture of very thick rubber cement. It is stretchy and very, very sticky. You could also substitute a glue gun, but on a non-porous surface, I often find it difficult to get the ribbon to stick.
I folded the ribbon under so I got a clean edge, fastened the strip of floral tape to the underside and simply stuck that end to the top rim of the vase. Then I carefully and tightly began to wrap the ribbon in layers down the surface of the vase while slowly spinning it. When I got to the bottom of the vase, I simply repeated folding the ribbon under and securing it to the vase with a strip of floral adhesive. Done and done.
Then I added some of the softer elements — the ranunculus, lilac and protea blossoms. My goal with this arrangement was to create a mild cascade effect, with the “face flowers” appearing to “fall” from the top left down across the arrangement and toward the bottom right. Hopefully, you can suss that out in the finished product picture below.
Above you can see that I focused on clustering some of the face flowers, like the roses and ranunculus. This is a particularly nice effect when using a more traditional bloom such as a rose. If you cluster several together, the arrangement is elevated.
When I listen to Girlfriend, I am hit with a major wave of nostalgia. The album represents a very specific time in my life that was filled with young heartbreak and future promise all at once. Today I wanted to create a design that was both tender and sweet but also hinted at coming of age. Ultimately, all great romances include a dynamic mix of colors and textures.
Join me back here in two weeks when I delve into another sonic adventure with flowers.