Ten years ago when I started my journey in education, an art teacher told me that you do art with your students in hopes that they will see the world differently. As I processed what she said, I began to imagine the students I worked with walking to school, coming home to their neighborhoods with a broader sense of hope for themselves and the places they lived. While I liked this idea, I don’t think I ever experienced it for myself until I began practicing floral design.
Though I am not a formally trained artist, the art of floral arranging is a way for me to explore design, color, texture and making things with my hands. Flower arranging gives me tremendous amounts of joy. I am at an early stage in my career as a florist and every wedding feels like an exciting opportunity to make, create, work with nature and experience this joy. The more flower arrangements I create, the more I begin to notice the verdant life all around me in my urban Brooklyn neighborhood.
What my friend had said all those years ago, I am finally seeing. Every time I go outside I notice the greens, the flowers that are growing and the ones that are dying. I see the different kinds of varieties of greens on a tree. Before, I merely saw the trees in the background of my life and the flowers in each landscape as nature’s platitudes. But as I begin to work with flowers, I realize how profound it truly is that the colors, shapes, smells and textures of a flower are not made my man but are a product of the ground and the magic hand of God which breathes into them. With this in mind, I am seeing the world and everything in it as new.
Recently I went to the aquarium with my 15 month old son and I saw the colors and the lines on the fish as if all of those years travelling to the aquarium and zoo in my childhood, I had been blind to the magnificent designs of nature. Perhaps this new found participation in the design of flowers has lifted a veil from over my eyes. The more arrangements I make, the more awe I have for the wild, the universe and its intricacies which are so far beyond my ability to properly conceive. I love thinking about the deep shades of blue that perhaps no human has ever seen but exists somewhere in the vast seas.
As a mother, one of the best things I can do for my son is cultivate awe in him and encourage him to explore the mysteries of his surroundings; and in so doing create empathy for his environment as well as his fellow human beings. What better reason to pursue one of man’s first callings to love, care for and nurture the earth and what better reason to make art...and to make babies!