Saying it with flowers

Published September 30, 2022
QURRAT ul Ain Aamir (right), along with a volunteer, makes use of a leafy creeper and coral vines to create a pretty arrangement.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
QURRAT ul Ain Aamir (right), along with a volunteer, makes use of a leafy creeper and coral vines to create a pretty arrangement.—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The Floral Art Society of Pakistan (FASP) welcomed its new president Nishat Kazmi and committee during its first general body meeting for the year 2022-2023 at a local hotel here on Thursday.

The highlights of the meeting were two segments, information about what to have in one’s tool box by senior FASP and its other chapters’ member, teacher and judge Salma Ansari; and an engaging demonstration titled ‘Creative Edge’ by Qurrat ul Ain Aamir.

Annie, as she is popularly known, also spoke about the conditioning and packing of plants as she went about her work.

Ms Ansari’s segment was like a warm up before the demonstration by Ms Aamir. She showed how floral artists can make life easier for themselves by carrying all the stuff they might need in a toolbox instead of just throwing everything into a bag. She also had an extensive list of tools needed by floral artists. “But you would have an idea of the things you’ll be needing for the arrangement that you may have in mind,” she said, while displaying a small toolbox as well as a bigger one according to one’s needs.

Some of the tools included in the list and which she had also taken the trouble to bring with her were secateurs, pruners, scissors, wires (saria and coloured), wires for binding, wire cutters, pliers, hacksaw, paper cutter, stapler, glass tubes, pin holders, floral foam, satay sticks, sticky tape, glue gun with glue sticks, small hammer, cable ties, spray bottle, band aid and also garbage bags to clean up after you finish.

Ms Ansari even informed her audience about where to get what from the local market and what to use as an alternative in case anything wasn’t available here. Looking at the tools she had laid out on a long table before her, someone commented that it looked like a shop to which she laughed and joked that perhaps all that was left in her collection would be a “Kalashnikov, bullets and drugs.”

It was also quite amusing to notice how floral artists, especially those involved in the Japanese art of Ikebana, Sogetsu, etc., make creative use of anything that one would normally discard. Ms Aamir returned from Manchester, where she was visiting her daughter recently, with suitcases full of tree bark and branches. Whatever old and dried branches she didn’t have room for in her baggage even after leaving her extra clothes behind, she requested her daughter to ship her way.

And what wonders she created with such stuff through her contemporary techniques and the ‘Creative Edge’ while also using inexpensive flowers. “Cut flowers are very expensive today. But you can use fresh flowers from your garden or your neighbour’s garden so stay good friends with them,” she laughed. “You can use those flowers that grow by the roadside, too,” she suggested.

For the two arrangements that she did at the moot, she made use of dried branches, a leafy creeper that she wasn’t of the name for, coral vine that she got for one member’s lawn, lignum, gulmohar, monstera leaf, etc. And apart from the flowers and foliage, she created magic by also making use of glass tubes, strings, chicken wire, coloured paper, Styrofoam, etc.

Other than doing flower arrangements, the FASP and its members have also collected handsome amounts to help during the recent devastating floods in Pakistan to dispatch to a reliable charity.

Published in Dawn, September 30th, 2022

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