RBS Social Enterprise 100 Awards

We were invited back this year to provide floral designs for the awards ceremony held by Royal Bank of Scotland on 5 December at The Atrium. We made an arrangement for each table and a special installation for the awards ceremony table. We very much enjoyed the challenge of an extremely colourful story to illustrate and embellish the event colour scheme. This year we chose to take the number-based impact measurement theme pretty literally with big, bold vintage, numbered velvet rosettes.RBS SE100 5th We thought this retro feel was fun and fitting as it went along with the handmade ceramic awards provided by Koestler Trust: arts by offenders. The flowers we used were a combination of pink orchids, peach roses, blue thistles (as requested by our Scots friends last year), red berries and giant yellow chrysanthemums. Each table was dressed in multicoloured runnuclus in tall slim vases with the big vintage rosettes.RBS SE100 3rd The blue laser lights in the venue really set everything off.RBS SE100 Awards

Fair Trade Floral Design at the V&A

We delivered a workshop at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 1 December. The journey to the market was especially beautiful walking across the park with its crispy fields and bare trees in the winter sunlight.Image Lauren was impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of Marissa, the workshop assistant, who was standing waiting for her at the flower market at 6:00 am. It was lovely driving over to the V&A and passing the Natural History Museum in awe of the architecture and design – the scaled reptilian brickwork is exactly right for the purpose of the building. It was bordering eerie walking into the V&A with no sound of other people and being watched by the big golden angel called ‘Spirit’ that looks over the staff entrance.

Preparation was fun, with Marissa and Lauren setting out the Rainforest Alliance certified flowers for the bouquets.Image The workshop was equal parts theory, practice and creative space. We talked a lot about our experiences of flowers and how we see them in the world for the future. Lauren demonstrated small arrangements that have a low impact on resources and high visual flair.Image Participants then made their own arrangements and bouquets.Image

The women attending were a mix of experienced florists and inexperienced flower lovers and came from several different countries including Kenya, Italy and Canada. We would like to thank everyone who participated – Lauren had a great time sharing her experiences. We look forward to further collaborations with the V&A in the future. 

Good Deals Conference

The Good Deals Conference was held at Southwark Cathedral on 28 November and at Vinopolis on 29 November. The keynote speakers were Jonathan Greenblatt, Head of Social Innovation at the White House and James Featherby, author of ‘Of Markets and Men’. We love working with Good Deals because there isn’t a better feeling than knowing that there is a movement towards a conscious effort to invest for returns that are greater than just economic.

Within the arrangements we used black pebbles as they are symbolic of the stepping stones ethical businesses take to become investment ready. The colour black here is used to represent the infinite possibilities that await the investors who are prepared to risk the new and unknown. Black Vase - Spray paint We wanted to echo this air of excitement by using magenta orchids.Small Vase - Orchid In this case, the orchid flower represents the symbiotic relationships that ethical organizations have had to develop with investors and each other in order to survive.Coffee Table

The line and form used in the installation placed on the stage was created to reinforce the simplicity and animated use of stick men in the Matter and Co graphics for the event. So for us, the light-heartedness of the graphics and the unconventional use of line is about freedom and the opportunities that can be created when this is mixed with calculated risk.Stick Men

Fair Trade Floristry at the Victoria and Albert Museum

We are delighted to be offering a workshop at the beautiful Victorian and Albert Museum. Long have you found us enjoying Postmodernist, Brazilian or Afropolitan inspired Friday night lates at the museum and making a B line for Hussein Chalayan talks or Yojhi Yamamoto exhibitions. Now it is our turn to share our art of Thinking Flowers? with you. Our aim is to inform and inspire you with ethical flower thoughts surrounding the global cut flower industry coupled with simple design-focused tips on colours, containers and compositions you can use at home.
We are looking forward to a fun day (10:30 to 16:30) of sharing flower thoughts on Saturday 1 December. We have worked hard to have a concession rate of £64 so as to make it more affordable for everyone (£80 full price). All the materials are included and you get to take your bouquet home. For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/8tanxql

Thinking Flowers Thursday: The Lotus

It’s Thinking Flowers Thursday! Today, we’re thinking about the many meanings of the lotus flower. Most of you will connect this flower with Buddhism, but did you know that it was an important flower for the Ancient Egyptians too?

The Egyptians linked the lotus flower to the sun, which disappears at night and reappears during the day, and so it came to symbolise ‘rebirth’ in their culture. The famous Egyptian Book of the Dead, is known to include spells which transform a person into a lotus, thus allowing for resurrection.

Have you ever seen a lotus flower emerging from a murky pond? Chinese poets use lotus flowers to inspire people to continue striving through difficulties and to show their best part to the outside world, no matter how bad the circumstances may be. This is understood as being just like the lotus flower, bringing beauty and light from the murky darkness at the bottom of the pond.

We hope we’ve inspired some flower thoughts in you today! Do you have any memories associated with lotus flowers?

Lauren has this story from her travels:

I remember losing my way through the winding back streets of the Balineese city Kutu. Distressed by the pollution and litter, I was saddened to my stomach by the destruction we have caused to the beautiful places we are gifted to live in.

After a few more uncharted turns I was on a dusty and busy main road. I had reached the furniture district situated a little out of town, so the artisans could have work space and show rooms. There was a really bad smell like open sewage. I covered my nose and mouth and ran. I couldn’t help stopping to spit out the water that had sprung into my mouth, as I looked for best place to do that, I saw a flash of colour, bright and vibrant, illuminating pinks and purples, with verdant greens for as far as I could see.

In the swampy open sewer there were field Lotus flowers spread out, stretching right up the derelict building. The water was gone from my mouth and now streaming from my eyes. How could something so exquisite grow in such squalor? I wanted to walk amongst them, to feel their water roots on my feet, but there was no way as I could feel the teeming of the bacteria.

I left Kuta the next day after a harried escape plan to the mountains. I had cried every day there as I was so distraught buy the tragic sea of destruction the tourists left. They were also building a massive sewage pipe into the sea, awaiting the arrival of a new hotel. I had had enough of seeing comdoms, coke cans and Burger King cups floating in the whisking white waves. It is almost like it had become bearable, or I was desensitized to it, in London, but the harsh juxtaposition of raw, creative nature and mindless destroying was cutting deep. I realized the Lotus was like us, and that even in the mess we cause we can be enlightened, we can change, we can blossom, there is hope and we have the resources.

When my mind is muddied with sorrow and my thoughts of hope swamped with doubt, I remember the Lotus flower and how naturally triumphant it was.

Thinking Flowers? Shortlisted for SMK Campaigner Awards

Thinking Flowers? are very pleased to announce that we have been shortlisted for the SMK Campaigners awards, in the category of Environment.

This award is for campaigners working to provide sustainable solutions to the environmental problems we face locally, nationally and globally, and we are beyond thrilled to have been considered.

The SMK Foundation was established in 2005 in order to help develop a new generation of campaigners who will tackle the root causes of injustice. Set up in memory of Dame Sheila McKechnie, SMK is entirely dedicated to helping campaigners create positive and lasting social change.

There are still two stages to go, so all of your good wishes and #flowerthoughts are much appreciated at this time, and thanks to all of you for your on-going support of Thinking Flowers?

Please do Like us on Facebook (over to your right) or Follow us on Twitter @ThinkingFlowers for all the news as it unfolds.

Thinking Flowers? Thursday

Are you Thinking Flowers? today?

Red Clover

Red Clover

Lauren saw these Red Clover in a field in Alnmouth Northumberland and was stunned by their magenta colour; so loud amoungst the subtle country colours!

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) is native to Europe, and we’d be surprised if you hadn’t seen this around over the summer. Pratense is actually the Latin for “found in meadows”, so, no surprises there.

Usually accompanied by a drowsy bumble bee or two, red clover springs up everywhere. Amelia remembers being told by a friend at school that she too could drink the honey out of clover if she sucked at the pink petals! It seemed quite sensible at the time…

Red Clover is commonly used as a nitrogen fixer, to increase soil fertility. It is traditionally used in treating skin problems, as well as hot flushes and night sweats during the menopause as it helps the body to balance oestrogen.

These uses date back to the middle ages, when it was seen as a symbol of protection and good luck. The Romans, Ancient Greeks and Celts even revered it!

Do you have any sunny, summer memories of red clover? Have you ever used red clover to alleviate itchy skin, or rashes? Share your #flowerthoughts with us in the comments and on Twitter!