Continuing my quest to learn the techniques and style of Colonial florals, this winter bouquet is patterned after popular eighteenth century floral designs of that era. I choose an antique Milk Glass vase for the container of this arrangement since most centerpieces of this period were designed in glasswares, ceramic bowls, posy holders, or pewter ware. Louise B. Fisher, who I introduced a few weeks ago, talks about the fragility of antique containers when designing dried arrangements for Colonial Williamsburg in her book An Eighteenth-Century Garland.
"When I first started to use old containers I felt the heavy responsibility of working daily with irreplaceable, breakable antiques, many of them over two hundred years old. Now, however, I feel only pleasure in handling such treasures and have become accustomed to their everyday use. Casualties have fortunately been rare, and in only one instance was damage done that was past repairing."
It is easy to feel that antiques should be stowed away from high traffic areas or kept in glass cases, but I am very passionate about using the valuable for everyday. With care and attention one can enjoy the rarity of a cherished vase or family heirloom with the adornment of dried specimens from nature even more.
This arrangement is crafted from hops, tansy, pennycress, oak leaves, foxtails, and various field grasses. Most of these botanicals were present during the colonial period, of course Milk Glass was not present at that time, but I had to improvise. Which brings me to say that all creativity and reconstructions must at times be improvised for a better outcome, and I think this centerpiece proves that....photographed in the last rays of afternoon light, a dramatic contrast of light and dark highlights the piece bringing the dried flowers to life once again.
Life is better simplified,