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What can florists learn from Leonardo da Vinci?

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Feb 13, 2017

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the world’s greatest artists, inventors and mathematicians of all time whose contributions led to thousands of discoveries that enhanced the way we live today.  Through his philosophical and analytical thinking, da Vinci was able to create inventions that paved the way for contemporary machinery as well as provide a system for trouble shooting that would aid in unforeseen problem solving.  Due to his work, architecture, aviation and transportation have all been inspired by his scientific accomplishments and continue to grow from his documented advances.  Leonardo was the original Renaissance Man having a multitude of talents that extended far beyond his love for painting, having a passion for learning which led him to fascinating areas of exploration.  Scientists, technologists, engineers and many others continue to learn from his methodology of technique… and that even includes florists!  

vitruvian man.jpg

Interesting enough, flower designers can learn a lot from da Vinci through his style, balance and naturally brilliant arithmetic mind.  Within everything he made, there was a constant desire to manifest a sense of functionality, sensibility and efficiency no matter what genre he was working in.  For instance, the bicycle model he constructed was carefully erected to distribute a greater rear wheel suspension than the front, where a person would be lifted higher into the air.  The theory behind this was to be able to drive the bike forward faster by using higher hind resistance allowing the front to be easily steered.  Florists can use this lesson by deferring more support to the base of each arrangement while keeping the top lighter with product.  As seen in this beautiful bike display, the designer paid close attention to place a basket of blossoms on top of the rear wheel to showcase the need for a visual equilibrium.  


photo credit via tampabay.com

Taking a lesson from Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, we can forecast equipoise in bouquets produced, consistently paying close attention to the symmetrical ratio in everything we design.  While it is true that floral fads deem angled branches and protruding stems to be a fresh way to create pieces, take it from the infamous artist who stood by the notion of consistent counterweight and proportion.


photo credit via flower factor aboutflowers.com

The Museum of Science in Cambridge, Massachusetts is hosting Da Vinci - Genius through February 26, 2016 -- check it out we did. It's eye opening.

“You will never have a greater or lesser domino than that over yourself…”

Tags: The Arts, #EXFL, Museums, Culture, Da Vanci

Art used as a De-Stressor

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Jan 09, 2017

I’ve always loved the arts.  Painting, singing, dancing, music, crafting, you name it-I’ve tried it.  I used to think that it was because I’ve been deemed a “creative” type but truthfully, I think it’s my attraction to the emotional health benefits associated with these activities.  Have you ever had trouble with anxiety, stress or simply feel overwhelmed 90% of the day?  According to new research, activities such as these can actively reduce symptoms making someone a happier, healthier you!  Even if you mildly experience waves of anxiousness or depression, according to a majority of doctors, a half hour of art can help work towards fixing the problem.  Do you have to be Picasso or Liberace to participate?  Heck no!  All you have to be is willing and able to try something new and let these creative exercises mold and sculpt you into a better frame of mind.  Here are the most popular areas of interest for those seeking artistic healing… Does one of them appeal to you?



Many times, the body craves movement to readjust itself against strain and stress.  Turning, sliding and swaying your hips can alleviate tension and create endorphins that heighten a person’s mood.  Twenty minutes of sashaying across your kitchen floor while doing dishes or laundry will help produce more of the happy hormone and also provide a fun and easy workout.  



The noises that we hear affect our dispositions more than we realize.  Loud sounds impede on our ability to cope while softer sounds soothe the brain’s membrane to increase our willingness to relax.  By selecting a preferred genre of music such as classic, new age or alternative, we can provide ourselves with audio therapy just by sitting back and listening.  



Although many famous artists have a reputation for being a bit crazy, there is supporting science behind the fact that painting can be incredibly therapeutic to those with high blood pressure.  The reason lies behind the visual stimulation of combining color as well as the calming motion of making swirls and strokes with a paintbrush.  Don’t worry about your artistic talents, just let your imagination take over and allow yourself to escape tension from everyday life if only for twenty minutes a day.



Sculpting is another wonderful way to free yourself from suppressing emotional weight and works the most successfully for those who express themselves with their hands.  Do you crack your knuckles or bite your nails often?  If this sounds like you, than sculpting is your ticket!  The massaging pressure applied to the clay from your hands is actually acting as a release for stress and it won’t hurt tender tendons or joints in the process.  


Tags: The Arts, Artist, Music, Health

The History of Ballerinas Gifted with Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Jan 06, 2017

We live in a city where the Performing Arts are celebrated by millions of Bostonians.  Home to several stunning theaters, we have the opportunity to explore talented artists on stage and consume the beauty of the dramatics, especially within the realm of dance.  The Boston Ballet encompasses a long history of ballerinas who have pirouetted their way to stardom by undertaking renditions of “The Nutcracker”, “Swan Lake” and “A Midsummer’s Night Dream”.  How many of us have witnessed the magnificence of some of the world’s greatest dancers and may have perhaps hoped to follow in their footsteps one day?  The hum of music, the intricate costumes and the precise movements of bodies gracefully flowing across the stage are all part of the fantasy that so many are drawn to.   


photo credit via The New York Times

One of the reasons why the ballet remains popular is the perceived “glamour” that has always blanketed over performers.  Interestingly enough, things weren’t always so wonderful for the dancers as you might have expected.  A ballerina’s wages were paid very low and were often impossible to make a living from.  Dating back to the 1930’s, silks, furs and even diamonds had once been acceptable gifts but they were not given without retribution.  Depending on the bauble’s value, if a dancer accepted, she was expected to return the gesture in exchange for intimacy.  If she chose to seek less provocative ways to meet her means, ballerinas might receive food and simple clothing from audience members.  If she received flowers, she would turn around and sell them for cash.  


Over time, bouquets became the customary gift to congratulate the artists and were given as either a wrapped bundle or by single stem. Years ago, etiquette preached that no dancer was given her bouquet until the principal performer had received hers first.  In the case where the lead was forgotten, companies would have a cash reserve saved in case the occasion arose.  


Today, flowers are still given as a sign of praise of a job well done and continue to cover stages after curtain call.  Florists located in close proximity to theaters are constantly expected to supply sometimes five to six bouquets per week when the ballet arrives in town.  If you’re curious as to what are the most requested varieties, here’s a list of popular blossoms associated with ballerina bouquets.


Five Flowers Associated with Ballerina Bouquets


  1. Roses
  2. Lilies
  3. Peonies
  4. Cymbidium Orchids
  5. Peonies
  6. Iris
  7. Gerbera Daisies
  8. Carnations
  9. Cornflower
  10. Freesia

Tags: The Arts, Presentation Bouquets, Bouquets, Ballet

Win Flowers & Free Tickets to Love Letters @CitiCenter #LoveLettersBos

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Jan 22, 2016


With the romantic Love Letters show coming to the Shubert Theatre, we’ve partnered with the @CitiCenter to show you the love.  Share with us today what kind of flowers you like to get from your Valentine.  Tag #LoveLettersBos to enter to win two tickets to Love Letters and a gift certificate to Exotic Flowers.

Tags: The Arts, Valentines Day, Love Letters, Theatre

The History of the Cornucopia

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 16, 2015


The cornucopia has long been a significant symbol of the Thanksgiving Day holiday tradition.   Many of us recognize the decorative marker as a large basket that holds several different seasonal foods and flowers.  The most popular produce that New Englanders use to stuff the cornucopia are oranges, grapes, apples, bananas, gourds, small pumpkins, pears and artichokes while flowers usually consist of sunflowers, mums, hay, gerberas, calla lilies and mimosa.  Over hundreds of thousands of years, families select this centerpiece to be displayed during their celebratory feasts, enticing guests to pull out their preferred treats to enjoy during their visit.  Not only is this presentation both visually and tastily appealing, the cornucopia holds great historical importance when tracing back its origins.  Take a look where this customary relic came from and enjoy this tale, which will hopefully stimulate an interesting conversation between your guests.  

photo credit: Flower Factor

The cornucopia (or otherwise known as the “Horn of Plenty” ) has several different story variations explaining its beginning but because I love mythology, this is my favorite one I’ve found so far…

Allegorical depiction of the Roman goddess Abundantia with a cornucopia, by Rubens (ca. 1630)

Before Zeus was a mighty and powerful God, he was held in the woods to be protected from his father, Cronus.  His caregiver was a goat named Amalthea, who swore to keep the boy safe from any harm and raise him herself.  The goat nurtured him with milk, food and shelter until the day he was full grown and had received the strength to return to Crete.


One day, as the child was playing and laughing with his protector, Zeus accidentally handled Amalthea’s horn to roughly and broke it off leaving her with only one left.  Zeus felt so terrible about what he had done, he blessed the goat’s broken limb to always be filled with an abundance of whatever she might need for the rest of her life.  


Today, we celebrate the cornucopia as the plentiful horn shaped basket that is consistently filled with nurturing and bountiful gifts.  For some Bostonians, the basket has been passed down as a family heirloom and for others, the centerpiece is ordered annually from local florists.  If you are looking for some ideas on how to fill your cornucopia this Thanksgiving, here are some of the top requested styles for November 2015.  

Tags: Flowers as Symbols, The Arts, Traditions, Flower Arrangements, Thanksgiving, November

Flowers Adored by Famous Artists

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Nov 02, 2015


For flower lovers like me, there’s no denying that my interest moves me further than simply putting a vase on the table.  I adore them everywhere from the bedding sheets, to the wallpaper, from the patterns on teacups to the roses stitched on my dishtowels.  


I love them everywhere!  

One of my favorite areas to study and appreciate horticulture is from an artist’s point of view, particularly within oil paintings.  Lucky for me, I live within a city that provides a multitude of opportunities to appreciate art!  The MFA, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the Decordova  Sculpture Museum (who also cultivates their own live gardens on the property as an extra bonus) are only a few of the magnificent locations hosting beautiful floral artwork upon their walls.  And the best part is, no matter where your tastes lie, there’s something for everyone so the question remains, which type of creative style appeals to you?


When looking at my own preferences in selecting painting that are thematic after the world of flowers and gardens, it’s an easy choice.  Vincent Van Gogh captured my heart on his canvas several times over and the reasons are quite simple; his use of bold and bright color, the implementation of oils that made images almost lifelike and his coincidental subjects all being some of my favorite varieties.  The quirky yet brilliant artist had affection for wild flowers and scenery embodying fields of poppies, iris and most popularly, sunflowers.  Van Gogh chose to use flowers in his paintings so often that there very few void of a simple stem or full arrangement.  With the exception of “The Bedroom”, it’s hard to find an example of created by him that didn’t reflect his love for vibrant blooms.

But that’s me.  

So let’s discuss next…. who are you?  


Does Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Blue Morning Glories” sweep you off your feet or maybe Monet’s “Water Lilies” shake you up a bit?


Here a few of the highest regarded paintings, which reflect these infamous artists adoration for pretty petals.  Does one of these speak to you?

Renoir - Roses In A Pot

Matisse   - Pot of Geraniums       

Evening Flowers - Picasso

Tags: The Arts, Artist, #EXFL, Flowers

Silently Spoken Project - Boston's Inner City Poet

Posted by Suzie Canale on Thu, Jan 29, 2015

I love reading but I love writing more.  My taste in genres range from children’s books to mysteries, romance to historical fiction but what I really love the most is poetry.  It’s the tempo, the flow, the gentle way that the words bring you softly through a story or thought, which makes prose one of the highest respected forms of writing in the literary industry.  Boston is full of talented poets that use their talents to express feelings, opinions and outlooks on what they experience.  You might find them on their laptops in coffee shops or maybe scribing on a notepad on a bench in the Commons but wherever they find their inspiration, there is no doubt the remarkable perceptions that they give readers.


One Boston poet that has particularly caught my attention is the Silently Spoken Project (J.J. aka JustKnoxx) who uses social media platforms such as Instagram (@silentlyspokenproject) to promote his work.  His primary quote featured on his page, “Even in silence, you have a voice” speaks volumes of his style, which I find to be direct, phrased in strength and refreshingly honest.  While he seems to prefer writing about topics reflecting on themes of love, he has successfully built an archetype that is original and marketable.  One of my favorite’s read, “If you genuinely love someone, don’t ever decorate their eyes with tears, their ears with lies, and their heart with a wound.”


This artist has cleverly been accruing more and more interest on his media sites and continues to grow his following with both men and women (I like how he speaks to both sexes).  In doing a quick search, I’ve already found several web pages showcasing his poetry including Facebook, Iconosquare and Tumblr.  If your looking for a great account to follow, this is the guy to find and from one writer to the next, I’ll be following the silentlyspokenproject to be sure not to miss this Bostonian’s genuine poetic talent.  Best of luck to your future writing endeavors, J.J!

Suzie Canale

Westwood, MA





Tags: The Arts, Artist, Poetry, Poet, #EXFL

Spend a Week Without Music. Any of You. I Dare.

Posted by Quenby Iandiorio on Sat, Jan 17, 2015

Parental Advisory Warning: the following is not fit for all readers so if you don't care for soap boxes and thinly veiled adult language, move on. I only do this about once a year.


I am naive. Today for the first time in my life I actually had to rebuff the explicit and pointed persecution by an attorney for my choice to be a career musician. He laughed at my colleague's claim that he worked full-time as a performing musician and told him "don't you think you could at least get a part-time job" to cover the debts in question. In his brilliant edict against our position he cited his own stint, in college, as a "bar band musician" and scoffed at my claim that it was a full-time job reminiscing that his time as a guitar player in college was hardly, (wink, wink) even part-time.

I invite him to eat my a$$. If it had been my fight to begin with, I would have been more brazen, though i never thought the conflict was with the attorney to begin with. Rather he seemed, accidentally, to expose what the plaintiff, and apparently secretly he, both harbor against working musicians.

I would have shouted in his face: Throw out all of your CDs, records, cassettes and 8-tracks, all your sheet music. Forget every song you ever heard on those albums. Have your musical memory erased, you're so cavalier about it, so you cannot whistle a tune, or hum a note in private comfort or celebration with yourself. Have erased from your memory every concert you attended, every symphony, every opera, every child's music lesson and recital, every jam session and summer concert series. Then I would invite him to re-live every memorial service, wedding or graduation he's ever attended, without music. Then, sit down to your myriad of movies and TV shows you cherish, and try to watch them again, without music. Then I would tell him, 'Turn off your radio and unsubscribe from all the free streaming music suppliers, like Pandora, whom you depend on for your musical relief. Spend a week without music. Any of you. I dare.'

If however, he felt a pang of conscience in leaving this session with me, I would suggest to him this path for redemption: Pay double the asking price for every cd you buy from now on; pay twice as much at the door or two times the price of a concert ticket; tip the band as much as you spend at the bar; buy merch at every show; empty your pockets in the buskers guitar case; pledge a donation to every crowd-funding musical project; and finally, fast from music for one week. Then come back to me and beg me for a tune, a lick, a chorus - I'll charge you $300 an hour - solo.

Until this day, in my 41 years of living, I still NOT ONCE have had to pay a lawyer for getting me through my day with his lawyerly services. Yet every day of my life, i have hummed a tune…

And finally I say to the starry-eyed potential suitors, the like of which who started this particular trouble: we were musicians when you met us. If you don't like the way we live, don't live with us.

Quenby Iandiorio


all photos in this post came from quenbywowband.com 


Tags: The Arts, Artist, Music, #EXFL

Exotic Flowers Favorite Author Launches Book at Union Oyster House

Posted by Rick Canale on Sat, Jun 23, 2012

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Music, the arts, writing - at Exotic Flowers we appreciate what a great effect these talents have on a civilized society. At Exotic Flowers, we relish books, have a poet in residence and even our own favorite author, Suzie Canale of the Beantown Tales. Suzie is also my wife. She has just released her newest children's book, 'The Candy Roses of Cape Care,'.
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Her launch party took place at the Union Oyster House on Friday, June 22nd. The Union Oyster House dates back to 1636 and it was officially established in 1826. What a great place to hold an event, the Milano family has owned this historic restaurant since 1970. The staff here is great, the food plentiful and the atmosphere is amazing. We are every fortunate to be friends with such a wonderful family. 
The Candy Roses of Care event was hosted in Webster's Den at the Union Oyster House. While bags of popcorn, chocolates and giant lollipops decorated the tables, more than fifty friends and relatives celebrated Suzie for her landmark achievement.
The Union Oyster House served up oysters Rockefeller, shrimp cocktail, crab cakes and clam chowder. The staff was so upbeat and I cannot think of a better place to have a book party.
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Next time you have an event, make sure to ask for Pattie and tell her Rick at Exotic Flowers sent you.

Tags: The Arts, Suzie Hearl Canale, Childrens Book

Boston Florist Welcomes Its Own Artist in Residence

Posted by Rick Canale on Thu, Mar 29, 2012

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Since 2008, artist Allison Buttiglieri has been an employee of Exotic Flowers in Boston. Allison has been a seasonal employee, a full time employee and senior sales associate. Her infectious personality has created a loyal floral following. Today, Allison helps out at Exotic Flowers headquarters for major flower holidays like Valentine's Day and Mother's Day.
boston florist artist in residence Allison is also the Exotic Flowers artist in residence. In her own words, "My artwork is yielded from the appreciation for the natural beauty I admire in this world. A few things that inspire me are, quirky contrasting colors, organic patterns found in nature, flowers, landscape, bohemian and vintage textile designs, decay, graffiti, travel, fellow artists, photography. 

Most of my paintings on here are made from inspiration while traveling. Most paintings are available as original or prints. The prints are produced on high quality watercolor paper and look almost identical to the originals. "
Every month Exotic Flowers in Boston will be featuring some of the one of a kind pieces that she creates to inspire and appreciate. 
art plate flowers in boston
" Right now I'm really focused on these ceramic plates i've been painting. I have two upcoming Craft fairs I will be participating in, one is this coming Saturday, March 31, 2012 at the Wakefield Vocational School (Northeast Metro Tech High School, 100 Hemlock Road, Wakefield, MA 01880), and another in Winthrop at Saint John's Parish on April 14th, 2012." Hope to see you there.
At Exotic Flowers in Boston, we are always on the look out to share our vision of beauty with you. Please continue to stay in touch with our blog as we will soon have our own in house poet as well.

Tags: The Arts, Artist, Allison Buttiglieri, Boston Florist Staff

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