Sometimes the type of bouquet Im going to show you how to make is called a 'water bomb' or 'aqua pack'. Basically its a bouquet of flowers and foliages (leaf material), arranged in the hand with the stems spiralling and the stems are packaged neatly in cellophane to make a self-contained 'vase.
In the previous workshop I explained how to arrange flowers to put in a vase, well the principle is the same as far as spiralling the stems goes. You might well wonder at this point why the emphasis is always put on the fact that the stems 'spiral', wondering why its so important. Well its not just to be arty, although it does mean that the flower heads radiate nicely in a uniform way from a central point. The main reason is that with a hand-tied bouquet, especially one that will be self-contained in water as in this case, the item needs to be able to stand and have actual balance. Its no good giving someone a free standing bouquet in water and when they put it on their table it topples over. The splayed stems caused by spiralling them will give a stability to the design. So, we have to look at two kinds of balance actual balance and visual balance. This type of bouquet is especially useful in the following circumstances:
1. As a gift for someone who might not have a vase to hand, ie just moved in.
2. As a presentation gift because the flowers will not wilt until the person gets home to put them in a vase.
3. For someone who is ill/or very busy and wont want to be bothered to arrange bunches of flowers
About 15 stems of flowers minimum, whatever you like.
Foliage ie beargrass, hard ruscus, eucalyptus.
2 separate meter squares of cellophane (florists will sell this)
Tissue paper (optional)
Watering Can close by
Prepare the materials
Cut the stems so everything is a uniform length. 45' cuts of course!
Strip off all foliage and thorns from the lower 2/3rds of all the stems and lay out on a bench.
Cut a piece of twine ready because soon you'll only have one hand free. You will need about 18inches to make life easy.
Have the 2 squares of cellophane handy but dont use it to work on as the debris will cling and spoil the end result.
Fill the watering can with fresh water and flower food if you have any. Dont fill too much you'll need to be able to lift it and pour with one hand!
Have tissue paper squares at the ready if using it.
Have the sticky tape dispenser handy, if not in a dispenser then cut off several strips of about 4inches (sorry 10cm) and make available somewhere.
As before in the first workshop, start by placing stems of flowers and foliages in the hand, holding them at the point where the stems are stripped and add stems across in one direction from the front and the opposite direction from the back so that you end up with a spiral. This part is extremely tricky to explain non-visually but Im not sure this blog supports video! Dont give up hope if its all going wrong it always does first time, just put everything back on the bench and try again. Once you have the hang of it the result is really worth the effort.
Once you have everything held in one (probably aching) hand, grab the piece of twine you have put within easy reach and without letting go....yes that bit is vital and teeth can come in to play here...tie very very tightly. If using soft stemmed flowers ie tulips, then you probably need to place foliage stems around the outside because it really is vital that the string is very secure and tight, most students I've taught fall short of this at first but there really is no room for slack twine at this stage.
Once securely bound the hand tied bouquet stems are trimmed. Thanks to Natasha for helping to demonstrate while I take photos and vice versa.
Loops of beargrass are added to add some style. Tie again over the other string if necessary, dont cut any tied string though.
If using tissue then squares folded into triangles would be placed on the bouquet while held upside down and secured with sticky tape.
The next jpegs show no tissue so that you can clearly see whats happening without it getting in the way. Now the bouquet will stand securely on its 'tripod' shaped spiral of stems.
Lay the squares of cellophane flat on a clean workbench and place the handtied bunch in the center. Firmly pull up the cello in pleats around the bunch while you support it and clasp tightly at the tying point, when all the pleats are pulled tight and even secure with strips of sellotape and make very secure.
The double cello is tricky to work with at first but its important that the water has no escape obviously, also if you have left thorns on the stems this is also a hazard so be careful in preparation.
In the next post I'll cover how to make bows, single, double and pom pom as shown on the finished hand tied.
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