I just completed week six's arrangement for my floral design class. I had chosen a pink and white color palette of lilies, ranunculus, tulips, snapdragons, and baby roses when I picked out my flowers yesterday at Trader Joe's. Once in class, our instructor pulled out the surplus of flowers she had in the fridges and said we could use whatever we liked. I chose the pink carnations and million star (often mistaken for baby's breath) as well as the basic leather leaf fern for filler.
Last week we were told that we would be doing an Easter arrangement in a basket of some sort that we were to provide. I had noticed others asking the instructor about less traditional baskets and thought my square basket would do nicely even though most people were going to use traditional low and oblong Easter basket (I didn't have one). With the oblong baskets half would be flowers and half would be filled a stuffed animal and other Easter decor. We have a packet of sample photographs for each week, and I saw that not all of them for this week had a stuffed animal in it, so I thought I'd be okay without one.
Once in class, when our instructor told us we were free to arrange things however we wanted for this one, I figured I'd be okay. One rule we needed to follow was that our arrangement was to be 1 1/2 times the height of our basket or the width of our basket, whichever was larger.
I got going purposefully making a one-sided arrangement so it would fit on our fireplace mantle once I got it home. Since we were being allowed to do whatever we wanted, I started playing with the idea of creating an "S" curve from top to bottom through the center of the arrangement with the lilies and snapdragons. Then I thought it would be interesting to use the pink carnations as filler instead of green leather leaf so the lilies would stand out on a background of pink instead of green.
I was feeling really good about the arrangement as it grew. The more flowers I got in it, the more I liked it. My classmates were giving me compliments too, so I figured I was doing good. My instructor stayed pretty quiet. I figured it was because she was helping others and also doing her own arrangement.
When I got done, she came over to look at mine. She commented that it was definitely an "en masse" arrangement. Right then, I knew that she didn't like it. She made a few more comments about how she was going to teach me to do arrangements other than "en masse" ones. Then I really knew she didn't like it.
I felt like a heel. Everyone else was being a good follower, using the right shaped basket with the stuffed animal, and I was sitting there with an arrangement that was clearly not what she had wanted us to do. I felt like it had been a secret test, and I had failed miserably. And being a classic "people pleaser" that needs assurance from authority figures makes the whole thing smart even more.
The sad part is, it's a beautiful arrangement. I'm certain that if it was for sale in a shop, there would be someone that would fall in love with it and buy it. I could probably sell more than one like this.
The other sad part is, I love en masse arrangements that have little or no greenery. I love bouquets without greenery. I love photographs of flowers en masse without greenery. I love the repetition of colors and forms. It pleases my aesthetic. But it seems that my aesthetic is in direct contrast to my instructor's aesthetic.
This is a repeated theme in my life. In many creative classroom settings in the past, I've ended up being the "black sheep" whether I intended to or not. I really wanted this time to be different. I really wanted to conform and be the "good student" for once. I'm really going to try, but somehow I think I've already been labeled as the "problem child".
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