DIY: Botanical Chandelier

Back in February I wrote about making myself some floral art to celebrate Valentine's Day, and I waxed poetic about Azuma Makoto, an artist whose work is an enduring source of inspiration. Scroll through my posts and you'll notice a major theme: I'm crazy about making structures out of flowers, leaves, branches and grass. And, I'm envisioning that plants, living and dried, will be an essential part of my store. 

A colorful nosegay.

Some of these plants will be for sale, and others will simply be whimsical seasonal displaysideally, composed of elements that are crowdsourced from the community. Originally, I was planning to open in early September, so in late August I put the word out on social media that I was interested in gathering a massive number of hydrangea blossoms. As you can see, people responded! Thanks to this wonderful display of generosity, my workshop was soon overflowing with blooms in an amazing array of shades. 

Dried flowers in a Midcentury Modern room

Having too many flowers is a pretty great "problem" to have. But eventually, there were so many vases filled with hydrangeas, I no longer had any room to work (or think!). The obvious solution was to suspend the blooms along an overhead beam. This not only frees up space, it helps speed up the drying process. Now the flowers and I have room to breath. Plus, it's a great way to study my "material" while I wait for the construction at my storefront to be completed. (Delays, delays! Inevitable delays!)

Different varieties and colors of hydrangea, picked in late-Summer.

It's funny how a project born of necessity quickly evolved into an exercise in observation. Since hanging the flowers up a few days ago, I've looked at them from just about every angle, in every kind of light. My favorite vantage point is straight up, with my back flat on the floor. What a pleasure! It's like being a kid, gazing at a fantastically colorful cloud formation on a sunny day at the park. Only instead of searching for  shapes in actual clouds, I am thinking about how I'm going to make a flower chandelier for opening day. 

Hanging bunches of flowers resemble notes on a sheet of music.

What kind of framework will I need to build to hold things together? And where am I going to get a ladder tall enough to reach the ceiling? (The distance is at least 40 feet.) I haven't figured that, or many other things out yet. And I'm in no hurry. Now that I know the joys of living with bunches of hanging flowers, it's going to be hard to live without them, though I do feel excited to create something that people who visit Future Nostalgia will hopefully enjoy. At least for awhile, until a new season inspires a new idea.

Clusters of hanging flowers, backlit by the afternoon sun.