Festive corsages add to holiday cheer

With decorated trees, wreaths, garlands, corsages and table centerpieces brightening interiors and exteriors this time of year, decorative plants—both for personal adornment and for room décor—are as much a part of the holiday season as special food and festive music.

A holiday mood filled the room as a group gathered Nov. 13 at the Scott Candler Library on Candler Road to learn putting decorative plants with other elements to lend sparkle to the season.

“I do this year-round,” said Marie Pylant, who conducted the mid-November session. “Decorative flowers and other plants always add a bright spot, but this time of year, people enjoy creating arrangements that reflect the season,”

Florist and instructor Marie Pylant, left, helps participant Karen Sherrard choose pieces for her corsage.

The library workshop focused on wrist corsages; however, Pylant said she also is scheduled to conduct classes on boutonnieres designed to worn on the shoulder and on arrangements for room decoration before the end of the year. She said she became interested in the centuries-old form of artistic expression in her youth. Arranging flowers for personal adornment or as elements in a room’s décor is an art that spans centuries and crosses international boundaries, according to several sources. A National Geographic article, for example, reports evidence of flower arrangements with Egyptian burials as early as 2,500 B.C.

“I’ve always considered myself an artistic person and I’ve always loved flowers,” Pylant said. “When I was 25, I took a flower arranging class. I loved it and I got an ‘A’ in it. I’ve been doing this ever since.” She said she now spends much of her time caring for an aging parent but enjoys devoting whatever time she has available to teaching flower arranging, a hobby she’s practiced throughout her adult life and still hopes to turn into a business one day.

Participants found a table piled high with assorted silk flowers and other corsage components, including decorative items to suggest the upcoming holidays. With Thanksgivin- days away, some participants chose autumn plants and colors, while others chose holly, gold, red and silver ribbon, minuscule ornaments and other details traditional for Christmas and other December holidays.

Although she used silk flowers in her classes, the same arrangement techniques can be applied to live flowers, Pylant pointed out.

Pylant provided sample corsages that she had made prior to the class for inspiration. “You can duplicate one of these or create your own design,” she said.

Caryn Ashapa looks over silk flowers and other items available for creating floral pieces.

“There are many approaches to arranging flowers, but I like to encourage people in my classes to do what appeals to them,” she continued, cautioning them to design the corsage before they glue it together. “Make sure it looks the way you want before you make it permanent. Change it around as much as you like, then when you like what you have, it’s time to get the glue gun.”
Participants were told to choose a large flowers and elements to complement it, including smaller flowers, leaves, tiny pine cones, evergreen sprigs, jewels and pearls. They then chose a ribbon to be both backdrop and fastener for the arrangement. After attaching an approximately one-inch square of carboard in the center of the ribbon, participants built their corsages in layers, allowing the hot glue to cool each time before adding the next layer.

One of the participants, Karen Sherrard, said she’s “not an artsy-craftsy person,” but a friend talked her into joining him for the workshop. “He didn’t show up, but I’m still glad I came.”

Another participant, April Barnes, said she was coming to the library for another reason and noticed the workshop. “It was a spur-of-the-moment decision. It just looked like fun and it has been,” she said.

Caryn Ashapa said she signed up thinking the workshop was on creating floral arrangements for the home. “That’s OK, I like playing with flowers. I like art, color—these all come together on a corsage, too.”

Vivian Daniel said she’s a regular at library craft sessions. “I often bring my children to these,” she said, “but today I thought I have some fun on my own.”

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