Floral artists inspire at Chilliwack Library

Demonstrations show the fine art behind floral displays, courtesy of Chilliwack's Floral Art Club

Mary Schwanke puts the final touches on a floral art display at the Chilliwack Library. The Chilliwack Floral Art Club was demonstrated throughout the day.

Mary Schwanke puts the final touches on a floral art display at the Chilliwack Library. The Chilliwack Floral Art Club was demonstrated throughout the day.

Every flower arrangement starts with one focal piece, one little bit of inspiration.

It may be a particularly beautiful vase, or a stunning bloom, but there is always something that anchors the completed look.

On Wednesday afternoon, as the Chilliwack Floral Art Club took over the lobby of the downtown library, Mary Schwanke explained this basic tenet of arranging.

“For this arrangement, this piece of wood was my inspiration,” she said. Over the course of twenty minutes, she carefully placed flowers, greenery and even herbs together to create a fresh masterpiece.

With the driftwood as the focal point, her chosen yellow, purple and white blooms had the perfect background. Schwanke then carefully placed grasses, sunflowers, black-eyed Susans, white flowering chives, flowering kale, rosemary stems, broad leaves and trails of ivy.

There are many ways to use colour in a flower arrangement, she said, and in this case, using the complementary colours yellow and purple make both of them stand out even more.

Schwanke made the process look effortless, with quick, practiced hands tucking bits of green here and there, slowly revealing the flowing shape that she’d envisioned.

Schwanke reveals that she has quite a bit of experience at the art of flower arranging, working 30 years as a florist. Now retired, she joined the group to keep her passion for the art alive.

“I miss it so much,” she says of her former career.

The Chilliwack Floral Art Club will celebrate 10 years next spring. They currently have about 40 members, 10 of who took some time to demonstrate different techniques at the library on Wednesday. They hold demonstrations throughout the year in different locations, and offer demos, lessons and workshops to their members at their monthly meetings.

Jane Keding, one of the founders of the club, said they are always open to new members, and enjoy learning from each other and sharing their artistic endeavors with one another.

They describe floral art as creative, rewarding and usable in every day life.

“You have so much outside your house, why not bring some of it inside to enjoy?” said Keding.

The Chilliwack Floral Art Club meets on the fourth Wednesday of every month at 1:30 p.m. in the Slesse Room at Evergreen Hall.

For more information, contact Jane at 604-846-5855, or visit them online at chilliwackfloralartclub.blogspot.com.



Celebrating Art

The Chilliwack Library hosts artists in its lobby regularly. Earlier this month, the Spinners and Weavers held demonstrations. The next demos will be from woodturner Michael Hamilton-Clark on Sept. 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and then glass beadwork artists and jeweler Alicia Champ, Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.