Flower arrangements are often made to order. "Include yellow roses, lilies and something that looks like a wildflower," a customer might say. "Keep the arrangement short, so it doesn't block conversation at the dinner table."
There are no customer orders at "Art in Bloom" -- floral designers are limited only by their own imagination, as they create an arrangement inspired by a work of fine art.
"Art in Bloom" opens with a "Bloom & Champagne" reception from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, at the Eccles Community Art Center. The exhibit of flowers and art continues 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 24, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 25, at 2580 Jefferson Ave., Ogden. Admission is free.
Designers have selected a work of art on display in the center's current exhibit, the 38th Annual Statewide Competition.
"They're interpreting the art piece with flowers," said Pat Poce, the art center's executive director. "They get to show their expertise and talent in creating a floral piece to complement the artwork."
More than a dozen floral designers are signed up.
"We have designers from Logan to St. George interested in participating," said Debra Muller, assistant director of the center. "It's a chance to do something very creative, that I'm guessing they don't always get to do in people's houses."
The floral competition will be judged, with $1,000 in prizes to be split among the winners. Awards will be announced at 1 p.m. Aug. 25.
Using flowers and other natural materials to interpret a work of art is challenging. The floral designers may choose flowers with colors that coordinate with the painting or sculpture they've selected, or they may try to incorporate blooms that fit the theme, feeling or style of the art.
"I think the hardest thing is to actually convey the message," said Poce, who has participated as a floral designer in similar competitions at other venues.
The art and floral design need to flow together, he said. "I think that's the difficulty -- getting it correct so it fits the piece."
Michael and Heather Cragun are excited about the challenge.
The Craguns opened The Flower Valet, a home-based floral design business in Layton, a year ago. They may be relatively new to the flower business, but the husband and wife have prepared for the competition like seasoned pros. They spent a couple of hours looking at the art show, discussing ways flowers could be used with each piece.
"Then we picked the one we wanted to do, and spent a little time sitting before the piece, and taking measurements of the piece, and looking at its composition and colors," said Michael Cragun. "We took photographs, and after we left the art center we spent time with our resources deciding which flowers we want to use and which container."
They've produced a prototype, and are working to refine it.
An eye for art
Yolanda Garcia, with the Flower Patch in Ogden, is another local designer signed up for "Art in Bloom." It's her first time to participate in a show like this.
"I'm kind of excited about it," she said. "I want to see what I can do."
Garcia selected an unusual painting, which has images of bones in it, as her inspiration. Among other things, she's planning to use an old skull in her floral arrangement.
"I was out fishing, and I was cleaning out a couple of trout when I saw an eye socket looking at me," she said. "I dug it out ... and they told me it was an old horse head."
The designer says she hopes she can do justice to the painting she selected: "I'm just hoping I can do something right with it."
Art and flowers
Jeremy Trentelman, floral designer at Olive and Dahlia in Ogden, participated in a similar event called "Arts & Flowers" at the Phoenix Art Museum.
"I did a representation of Deborah Butterfield's 'Ponder,' a life-size horse made of reclaimed fencing material," he said. "I built a horse out of driftwood that was 4 feet tall and 5 1/2 feet long."
Trentelman's horse sculpture was accented with purple flowers and green grass.
Another year, he created a 4-foot cube, enhanced with red flowers and a wreath, to go with a contemporary painting.
"Typically, I don't go with the regular run-of-the-mill stuff," he said.
For "Art in Bloom" he's thinking of incorporating nails and soft flowers into an arrangement based on an image of a cactus.
"I love it," he said of creating floral arrangements inspired by fine art.
For a while, he even forgot this is a competition for prizes. "I was more excited to do another interpretation," he said.
- WHAT: Art in Bloom
- WHEN: Opens with a reception 5-7 p.m. Aug. 23; continues 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 24 and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Aug. 25
- WHERE: Eccles Community Art Center, 2580 Jefferson Ave., Ogden
- ADMISSION: Free; 801-392-6935
- RELATED EVENT: “From the Bucket to the Vase,” free seminar about creating arrangements using everyday flowers, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Aug. 25, at the art center; sponsored by the Utah Professional Florist Association