Monday brings an opportunity to practice flower design by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday to create an arrangement from materials gathered in one’s own garden.
Actually, as it was raining cats and dogs this morning, I did not venture into the garden for materials. Instead I repurposed several long-lasting items from previous arrangements.
Arum italicum foliage used in a vase early in December still looks very green and healthy. I chose one of the strongly patterned leaves to practice leaf manipulation. I started by making parallel cuts within one side of the leaf, removing every other strip. My mat knife blade proved too dull for this task, cutting but also bruising the leaf. I changed course and cut out selective sections of the pattern, using scissors and even a thumb nail.
Precision is important in this type of work, but I was impatient with it. The end result suffered because I quickly bored of the process and did not take time I should have to get nice clean cuts. Also, perhaps the Arum leaf is not particularly appropriate for this technique. (Aspidistra leaves are among the frequently recommended choices.)
Abandoning plans for manipulating more leaves, I inserted the Arum leaf into a small pin holder.
To hide the mechanics I wrapped a length of Tradescantia pallida (purple heart) leaf around the base of the pin holder. This purple heart was used in a Monday vase in September and had been living in a little glass of water ever since.
Though I did not grow it, a poinsettia holiday gift gave me easy access to a bright red bloom and a few dark leaves to complete today’s design.
This was a good experiment. I like the arrangement despite the crudeness of my work manipulating the leaf. There are many other techniques such as folding and weaving that I plan to experiment with sometime.
Euphorbia pulcherrima (Poinsettia)
Tradescantia pallida (purple heart), formerly Setcreasea pallida
Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Please visit her to see what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.
Susie this is incredible…I love how you use foliage in such an artistic and creative way…you are such an inspiration! Wishing you a fabulous New Year!
Thanks Donna. I joined a formal design guild this year and I am practicing for a session in February. Happy New Year to you!
A very successful experiment I would say. Well done.
Thanks John. It’s fun to try new things but hard to imagine how it will really turn out.
So restrained and elegant! At first I thought the leaf had been artfully eaten by insects…even more impressive wrought by your own hand.
Thanks Rickii, I will have to practice this some more to get the cuts done more precisely, but not sure I’ll ever have the patience for it. Interesting to try though.
This is intriguing and I admire how adventurous you are Susie! I do love the final effect – Poinsettia in a vase is new to me too and looks fabulous next to some glossy foliage. I particularly like the Tradescantia leaf wrapped around the base.
Thanks Cathy! Poinsettias exude latex when first cut. Before using you can place in hot water, then recut the stem underwater and wait a minute or two until the latex quits seeping. Actually I used the searing technique which is to hold the stem in a flame for a few seconds. Don’t know if this made any difference, but I had read years ago to do it and finally got around to trying it. Poinsettias are supposed to last very well as a cut flower, so we’ll see.
Cathy also mentioned “conditioning” and I must admit I am such a novice I have never done anything to any of the stems in my vases! So your advice is really useful. Thanks!
I am tempted to skip the bothersome steps like conditioning but it is so often recommended, I do it when time allows.
I like it! I was starting to wonder what kind of garden creature would eat a leaf like this until I read about your leaf manipulation and the mystery was solved.
It does look a bit chewed. I must get some sharper blades! Thanks for stopping by and commenting Susan.
I am absolutely ‘gobsmacked’ Susie – that is stunning! Not that the vase meme is competitive at all, but you have really raised the bar with this! I know you said you got ‘bored’ with the cutting but this filigree concept is relatively simple and is something any of us could have a go at – this is another reason why the meme has become so successful, because people who think they are no good at vases are realising that the techniques are not difficult and I am so grateful for your part in this. I had looked at the poinsettia I had as a gift and wondered about cutting it, so your suggestions on this are also welcome. Thank you Susie – you can join in again, anytime!! 🙂
That you are gobsmacked is high praise, I think! Don’t know who came up with this technique called leaf manipulation, but it is fascinating to me and the Monday vase gives me a fun, safe place to practice it. I’ve learned so much from seeing the creative ideas of other participants each week, so hope you never tire of hosting. Happy New Year!
Nice color contrast – very seasonal but with a unique twist.
Thanks, I do like the strong contrast of color and pattern. The poinsettia is holding up well.
Your “leaf manipulation” is so interesting Susie! I’ve never seen that done. You’re a true artist.
Best wishes for a happy new year and I look forward to your 2015 vases!
Hi Kris. Google “leaf manipulation” sometime and you’ll be amazed. Hope the new year brings you much happiness.
Fab combination, Susie. Happy new year to you and plenty of inspiration in 2015 🙂
Thanks. A very Happy New Year to you as well Annette.