A couple of weeks ago, I came across a blue planting dish filled to overflowing with a treasure trove of vintage silk flowers. Even though the blooms were bent and dusty, I knew I’d be able to put them to good use. Right away, I began to envision some possible projects to utilize them.
Because the blooms are fragile, not colorfast, and old, I could not use water or liquid-based silk flower cleaner to remove the accumulation of dust. Instead, I brought out my softest bristle one-inch wide paintbrush. It was time to put on my coat and bring the flowers out to the cold winter wind. Mother nature turned out to be a great helper for my cleaning chore.
While cleaning the blooms, I realized that I could transform the motley collection of flowers into three separate arrangements. It was also at that time, that I settled upon the approach I’d take with them. That is, figurines should be the centers of attention. Aside from the mechanicals, dishes, and figurines, I decided to use only the flowers and trim from the old arrangement.
After returning indoors, I sorted the flowers into three piles, one for each new arrangement. Then I brought two additional planter dishes out to supplement the original dish.
A very old Abingdon dish with coral glaze was paired with a “primitive” wood carving of an Asian warrior. I secured the carving to the bowl with sticky florist’s clay. A person could use hot glue, but I didn’t want to harm the wooden piece. I attached the foam mechanicals to the bowl, added moss then arrayed the big blue flowers and added the pink flowers and fill pieces for enhancement. Some of the nylon fishing line loops from the original grouping added some detail.
The blue-green McCoy planter bowl is one of my best pieces of pottery. To the mechanicals, I added moss, then used some hot glue on a small, vintage swan figurine to secure it to the foam. There were several loops and strands of the nylon filament line. I placed the fishing line around the swan as a way of framing the figurine. I utilized practically all of the greenery as a base, then added most of the pink elements in an outward progression to showcase the small figurine.
For the third arrangement, I wanted a very bold statement for the generic blue planter dish. The Buddha bust was already on a metal post and wooden board base. So, I cut two thirds of the original styrofoam mechanicals out of the dish, then sandwiched the board base between the bowl’s edge and the styrofoam for a solid fit. I recycled the original moss over the jerry-rigged mechanicals then added the remainder of the large blue flowers to form a frame around the Buddha piece.
I managed to utilize everything but the dirt and loose scraps from the original arrangement. The resulting creations exceeded my expectations.