People have mixed reactions to artificial flowers. Today, polyester silk flowers dominate the world of amateur and professional artificial flower arranging. Silk flowers actually have a proud history. The Chinese have created silk flowers for centuries. Italy chimed in at the turn of the 12th century,
French and English techniques evolved from the Italians. The English brought them to America. In between actual silk flowers and polyester silk flowers, came semi-rigid plastic flowers. These are the flowers that are most controversial and often scorned.
My paternal grandmother raised real flowers. Her opinion of plastic flowers was that they are only suitable for graveyards and commercial adornment. Meanwhile, my maternal grandma had less success with real flowers, but did appreciate the necessity of plastics. Mom’s opinion was a blend of the two. She had difficulty raising real flowers, so she resorted to plastics for indoor use. She did greatly appreciate gifts of real flowers as most people do. Most of the mothers of my friends harbored a distinct prejudice against plastic flowers. It was a prejudice that rubbed off on me.
The retro styles came into vogue several years ago. I decided to explore some of the outdated, campy aspects of retro, just for fun. That’s when I discovered the possibilities of semi-rigid plastic flowers. Unfortunately, plastics had become retail rarities. Luckily, I had also discovered garage sales and thrift shops.
Live flowers and carefully crafted silks bring out warm, loving emotions. I found that semi-rigid, molded plastic flowers are not only utilitarian, but bring out light heartedness and humor. With some phony, plastic flowers placed here and there, we see our own phoniness and have the opportunity to laugh at it. It’s good to have real flowers in our environment and it’s good to have obviously fake flowers, too.
The garage sale white daisies were jammed into the green Japanese pot with faded, fake ivy, multicolored Christmas sparkles, and old, jumbled up polyester silk blooms. I appreciated the daisies and ivy as the vintage collectables they are. I completely broke down the old conglomeration. The pot was scrubbed. I then rinsed the plastic plants in cold, soapy water. Many of the daisies had come apart, so I went about gluing them back together. I made a “bed” of the ivy, then carefully arranged the plastic daisies to please my eyes.
The green, vintage car teevee lamp has been sitting on top of my kitchen cupboards for quite awhile, it was time for a revamp. The old arrangement came out and the car was cleaned up. I made a bed from the remainder of the plastic ivy from the other project. Then, I used a bunch of semi-rigid stamped, plastic marigolds that I scored last winter. I wish I’d thought of doing this before now. The flowers are easy to clean, making them more suitable for kitchen display than the polyester silks previously used.
The mushroom and fungus “planting” is a birthday gift. My friend knew the plastic-loving part of me would enjoy this. It’s an Inarco, Japanese urn filled with injection molded specimens. There’s even a tiny, plastic bee for accent. I smile whenever I look at this gift.
So, what about plastic flowers? Is there a secret part of you that likes this sort of artifact? Do you dare indulge it?
The Blue Jay of Happiness believes that artificial artifacts are evidence of our inate creativity. Plastic flowers are no less legitimate in that creativity.