!! Taipei. So much to say about that colorful kind city. Being there several days before the workshop really allowed me to take in part of the essence and history of it all. Joyce, my host, took me around to dozens of areas both common to tourists and local spots alike with most common denominator throughout being TILE. Textured green subway tiled buildings spilling over onto pink terrazzo covered sidewalks, all constructed over decades of style and influence and none of it without years of ware and patina. But I loved that. It all felt so accidental, chosen because of practicality and so happened to also look incredible. I guess because of the numerous earthquakes in the city they do this to provide more structurally sound buildings. Ballsy cause in California we just dont chance it, but they have one of the tallest buildings in the world. I like these people.
Our workshop was two days. The first focused on centerpieces and the second on bouquets, an installation, and editorial with a model (those photos coming soon). The students were so kind and I am always so blown away at how each person sees flowers so differently. Below is a floral design husband and wife team who traveled from Singapore and it was so neat talking to them about their wedding industry there. Just bizarre/moving/humbling traveling half way around the world and being in a foreign country yet finding so much in common with people through flowers. Nature truly is a unifying force.
We advertised the course as Dutch Masters inspired floral design. Yes, its been done before, and we here (as in myself) at JSD never pretend to invent or reinvent anything in floral design, but instead pay homage to those before us. The Dutch Golden Age of painters was during the majority of the 17th century when many people focused on realism and romance through their still life vignettes. Several stems of garden picked cabbage roses, half decaying with petals strewn about the table next to an opulent spread of vegetation, with a fly on the grapes. The combination of beauty and nature but also in its decay was meant to show the breadth and cycle of life, embracing our mortality. Uh! I am so passionate about realism, as in being real about life and not living in denial to who you are really; where you are, really. Anyway, after browsing the flower market and seeing what Taipei had to offer made me realize we had to include tropicals in this spread. I mean, the tropical selection of greenery, orchids, pods and patterned leaves was enormous. I already stand out in Asian countries from how expressive/loud I am and often try to be aware of my surroundings and control myself but this was an Elaine Benes excitement I couldn't contain. I believe I once shamlessly said "Shut UP!" when finding out the price of these plum lady slipper orchids (they were $1/stem). Oh and these water lilies....
Installation made with mossy lichen branches (unknown species of foliage), branches with pods (unknown species of podded branches), iris, and another plant I was not familiar with. Unfortunately everyone knew the name in Mandarin or Taiwanese but not English. If you happen to know, I would love to find out!
The fruit!!! I could not believe how beautiful all their produce was. The sliced vegetable with the holes is lotus root which I had the pleasure of trying for the first time in China last year and it is so good. Bamboo shoot texture but with the flavor of jicama. mmm. What I am holding in my hand are yellow mushrooms which I will not google and pretend to know the species of, but they were just, beautiful. And butterflies! Real and preserved and colorful and shimmery and just the thing I always want around my flowers. I like to think they are in butterfly heaven when still being placed around flowers after their death.
That is all for now. I have hopes of doing an Asia tour next year and planning the workshops consecutively in various countries although I admit being away from Dan, our house, and the kittens for that long sounds like a homesickness I might not be able to bare. We will see.