When asked to join a group of talented local florists to decorate the Winnipeg Art Gallery for their annual ball, my first thought was who would I want to collaborate with? I immediately thought of local artist Penny Kovacs. She contacted her daughter Brenna Bacchus and her students at local inner city elementary school, Sister MacNamara. They had recently completed a clay bowl project which was to raise money for the empty bowls Winnipeg Harvest fundraiser. We thought the colors and textures of the bowls would be a great compliment to our main floral design centerpieces.
It was great to meet the organizers and other florists at a planning meeting, but the room I was decorating was not complete yet. I knew I wanted to see the finished room to experience the overall feeling of the room and thought Nuit Blanche was the perfect time to do it. I set out with 3 other friends and had a fabulous night. We even met some jumping fairies who let us take their picture.
After seeing the room complete, Penny and I knew we had to capture the beautiful colors in the artwork. There were many muted shades of cream, rust and peaches, but we really noticed a recurring cloud presence. This was our inspiration for the painted vases and blue dyed water. The flower part was easy! I had so much fun shopping. I walked into the cooler at our sponsor, Florists Supply, and gathered armfuls of thistle, hydrangea, sedum and billy balls. I really wanted to bring in a touch of the bold orange and fuchsia in one of the paintings and found it in dahlias and spray roses. Next came the work…
We glued clear trays on top of the cylinder vases filled with water. Because I had the Canadian room, I really wanted to achieve a full, natural and elegant look with flowers that could be grown in Canada. After many trips schlepping vases and flowers in the freight elevator (with the help of Penny’s husband Wade and my dad), we had all the pieces to create the look.
The last step was going over final details and making sure each bowl had a flower in it. I was thrilled with the final result and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Even the next day clean up was delightful as I chatted with other florists in the loading zone at the back of the WAG. I found the event a great way to get inspired, collaborate, create and connect with others in the industry. I hope the tradition continues on for many years!