Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
There are two kinds of people—those that enjoy shopping and the others that don’t. Bookstores are a godsend for the latter group. These will have suitable items for everyone on your holiday shopping list, including titles for flower lovers.
This article will explore some flower-related titles, including some new releases.
Anyone who likes crafts will treasure a copy of “The Art and Craft of Pounding Flowers” by Laura C. Martin from Rodale Press. Flower pounding is a unique art form in which the color and form of the blossoms and foliage are exquisitely transferred by the simple use of a hammer. Just think of that. It’s like stenciling without the need for paints and stencil forms. Illustrated in full color, this book features all the basics and complete instructions for creating over fifty different projects. Among the quick and easy items are clothing, gifts, accessories, and things for home décor and holidays.
The language of flowers is well and good, but sometimes flower lovers are hungry for more knowledge. “Nature and Its Symbols” by Lucia Impelluso and translated by Stephen Sartarelli is by far the most authoritative title on the symbolic meanings of plants and flowers. Getty Publications of the J. Paul Getty Museum released this title. Readers will never be disappointed with the wealth of information this book has to offer, and will find themselves returning to its pages again and again.
The author has arranged the various symbols into different chapters by theme, such as plants, flowers, and various animals. There is an in-depth introduction to each chapter along with separate entries for each individual plant, flower, or animal. Each entry gives a complete history for that symbol, and its symbolic use in art. Using full color illustrations, the author explains how each one is used symbolically. This volume is the fifth in a popular series A Guide to Imagery with the goal of explaining common symbols seen in art. This indispensable guide will be useful for flower lovers, museum visitors, art lovers, and more.
Now there’s a guide to decorating with flowers and floral images. “Rooms in Bloom-Contemporary Florals for the Home” by Alice Whately is from Watson-Guptill. Formerly a décor editor at Elle, the author has written several books on interiors. With this no-nonsense guide, everyone can learn to decorate like a pro. In this title, the author focuses on the many ways we can introduce florals and floral themes into our homes. She explains how to display fresh, dried, and silk floral materials in various ways. She also shows how to use floral fabrics, floral montages, stencils, and other means to create dream rooms that bloom. The different kinds of florals are arranged by various themes, such as vintage florals, retro, feminine and the like. The appendix contains useful lists of suppliers and other helpful information.
A flower shop is a magical place. The beauty, essence, and uniqueness of a flower shop is wonderfully depicted in “The Flower Shop-Charm, Grace, Beauty, Tenderness in a Commercial Context.” This beautifully conceived volume is by Leonard Koren and published by Stone Bridge Press. The author trained as an artist and architect. He now writes books on aesthetics and design. This title is illustrated with his own photographs. He seems to be one of the few photographers that still have an appreciation for black and white photos. In this book, he presents the story of Blumenkraft, a quintessential flower shop in Vienna. Through the beautifully illustrated pages, the tale unfolds and explains how Blumenkraft’s founder came to create this special place, the role of the supporting staff, and the shop as a part of the community. Without stretching the point, the author shows that it isn’t necessary to sell one’s soul in order to have a successful retail business. Amidst the clamor of the marketplace, an abiding love of beauty and emphasis on customer service speaks for itself.
Year after year, one can depend upon the sturdy sunflower. These have become a favorite floral material. They’re the subject of a delightful book from Courage Books/Running Press. “Sunflower” celebrates the innate qualities of this truly American flower. This title offers 60 lush full size color photos accompanied by inspiring quotes and nuggets of wisdom from some of the world’s greatest names, such as William Blake, Gandhi, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and others.
Though clematis has earned a place in gardeners’ hearts, it is not widely recognized as a cut flower. For that reason, I recommend “Clematis-Inspiration, Selection, and Practical Guidance” by Charles Chesshire from Rizzoli International with special photography by Andrew Lawson. The author explains which ones are the best for cut flowers, how to select the best stems for cutting, how to arrange and care for the floral arrangement. There are so many kinds of clematis that it can be confusing, but this guide discusses how to choose the right kinds, and how to grow them. There is also an enlightening chapter on the history and classification of this beloved plant. The author even includes detains on how to propagate and hybridize your own clematis. Chesshire is a renowned expert on clematis and the author of several other gardening books.
Color is all around us, but it isn’t something that receives the consideration it deserves. For the most part, flower lovers tend to choose hues that are pleasing to them. Yet, floral designs offer us a unique opportunity to use color for purposes other than the aesthetic. “Color for Life-Emotional, Spiritual and Physical Wellbeing Through Color” by Charles Phillips from Ryland Peters and Small. This unlocks the secrets of how we see color, how it affects us, and how we can utilize appropriate ones in our surroundings to improve our lives. This book can help floral designers choose the right color and the right combination for various purposes, such as meditation, relaxation, and romance.
There is more to everlastings than bouquets and dried flower wreaths. The unique beauty of dried flowers come alive in “Microwaved Pressed Flowers-New Techniques for Brilliant Pressed Flowers” by Joanna Sheen from Watson-Guptill. This features thirty wonderful projects with complete step-by-step instructions. Among the projects are flowerpots, vases, furniture, greeting cards, pictures, and lampshades. The handy table of flowers features details on each kind and the special techniques used in preserving it. The author explains how to choose the materials for pressing, how to do the pressing, using both microwave and traditional methods. At the back of the book are pages to record your microwave pressing projects with space for the flower names, the pressing time, and other details.