Thursday, October 13, 2016

In the shop:chicken wire and flower frogs

 I've been working on phasing out the use of floral foam at the shop and have been really enjoying the results from using alternative mechanics.

Developed in the 1950's, floral foam revolutionized the floral industry by introducing a product that holds water and supplies it to the cut flowers placed into it, allowing florists to use low or unusual shaped containers.

Unfortunately, however, the foam is made from a chemical mix that does not decompose, so is filling up our landfill sites, and somewhat more alarmingly the foam is believed to be carcinogenic.  The foam in its dry form ( which is how it is stored in a flower shop)  throws up large amounts of  chemical dust into the air and that toxic dust has been strongly associated with types of cancer, especially lung cancer.

So what is a florist to do, when the industry norm is a scary environmental and health issue? well, I've moved back to my floral training and returned to the oldschool mechanics of days gone by- chicken wire and flower frogs!

As you can see in the top photo, chicken wire gets easily folded and molded into a little "bubble" that goes into the vase.  Low vases can be tricky to work with, but using this chicken wire cage allows a designer to achieve a wonderful, loose and wide shape.  When you are designing for pieces that are going to be moved around, such as going out on delivery, mechanics need to keep everything stable and in the place you put it. (The other method florists often use with vases is to create a gird of clear tape across the mouth, but with a low vase this won't work- the stems will "flip" to the side and the stem end will not be in the water.)The photo above is of the finished vase, made with the chicken wire cage.

Another oldschool florist trick is to use a flower frog, the type I use in the shop most often is a pin frog. These are just genius.

A heavy metal set of vertical pins sits in the base of the container and you press the stems into the pins to keep them where you want them.

I find the shape and flow I can achieve with chicken wire and pin frogs is so much better than with foam, creatively it feels much more organic and artistically challenging, if that makes any sense at all!

There are also ceramic and metal flower frogs that are almost like little pots with holes in, many florists collect them as they come in so many amazing formats....I think I may have found a new obsession to collect myself!.

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