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Why Flowers and Poetry are Important

Posted by Suzie Canale on Mon, Feb 19, 2018

In a day and age where sports have seemingly become the most important thing to watch, talk about and read about with the exception of politics, it’s no wonder why people are starting to forget about some of the finer pieces of literature a library or bookstore can offer patrons.  Too often, the latest ho-hum debut of a baseball biography will take the place of both children and adults reaching out to the finer novels that undoubtedly leave a lasting impression.  Take poetry for instance… Do you know that this means of writing can also enhance a person’s hand eye coordination, problem solving skills and overall intelligence?  What about the notion that prose directly affects a human being’s capability to react and cope with higher emotional control that of a person who denies this genre all together?  It makes you wonder why are we ignoring this ever so important source of learning?  Dylan Thomas once said,

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Poetry is what in a poem makes you laugh, cry, prickle, be silent, makes your toenails twinkle, makes you want to do this or that or nothing, makes you know that you are alone in the unknown world, that your bliss and suffering is forever shared and forever all your own.”


That’s a pretty great reason to brush up on a little Keats or Poe but some of you may be wondering, what does that has to do with flowers?  The answer is EVERYTHING when you make the connection.  Both poetry and flowers are a form of artistic expression which demand a person to search below the surface to understand its meaning.  Whether you have grown a patch of sunflowers in the garden or arranged your favorite spring blooms in a vase, you are penning your own form of communication that doesn’t necessarily require an overt explanation. Much like putting together word on word stanzas, blossoms also have to find a way to dance together in an appealing manner which gives off the appearance of an important statement.  Designers are well aware of that they are not only piecing together a bouquet of cut flowers but making a symphony of feelings and emotions much like poet seeks out to do with his/her writing.  

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If you feel like neither of these two areas have been explored lately, maybe it’s time to try your hand at both?  Still not convinced?  Read these wise quotes preached by the experts who claim flowers and poetry or for the true renaissance man.


“Poetry is plucking at the heartstrings, and making music with them.” ― Dennis Gabor


“Pure mathematics is, in a way, the poetry of logical ideas.”  – Albert Einstein


“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers.” ― Heinrich Heine

Tags: Poetry, The Arts, Poet, art

Famous Artists Who Adored Flowers

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Feb 16, 2018

They say an artist can see beauty in every stroke of color.  They are the creators, the inspirers, the men and women who can transform any thought or idea into a precious moment displayed on canvas.  Painters throughout time have given their onlookers hopes and aspirations as well as a sense of peace while they review their work in the hopes that their messages, whatever they may be will be poetically conveyed to viewers.  The talent to accomplish this runs deep and naturally as if there is a river running through their veins although experts say that some of our favorite geniuses had a second source of enlightenment to give them a bit of help.

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For many of these artists, flowers have remained of great importance, beyond only being captured as the subject.  In fact, some heavily relied on the magic of flowers to help encourage their creative juices to flow.  As you may already know, Monet was an enthusiast for gardens and cultivated several, not only to be featured in his work but also to be used as a sanctuary for relaxation and restoration of energy.  Renoir was another example of a real flower fanatic who was said to have a fresh bouquet of blossoms placed in every room of his home.  We can’t forget Van Gogh who spent much of his time memorizing to mind beautiful orchards of sunflowers so that he could record them in his paintings.  Many believe that this connection to flowers is what made them the artists they became which is why several art students attempt to channel their brilliance through placing small containers of blooms in their workspace.  Are you an up and coming artist who is looking for a bit of inspiration?  Read over these quotes and see if it’s time to stop by your local florist for a dose!

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“There are always flowers for those who want to see them.” – Henri Matisse


“I must have flowers, always, and always.” ― Claude Monet


“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.  I want to give that moment to someone else. Most people in the city rush around s, they have no time to look at a flower.  I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”  – Georgia O’Keeffe


“When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God-made object up to it- a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand- as a final test.  If the [painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic.  If there’s a clash between the two, it’s bad art.” – Marc Chagall

Tags: Artist, The Arts, art, Museums

Why I Visit the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Posted by Suzie Canale on Fri, Apr 21, 2017

  1. I have long been an adorer of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum here in Boston and always make it a point to visit at least twice a year or more if the time allows.  Since I was very little, I remember being drawn to the enchantment of the three-tiered mansion that once belonged to the Gardner Family showcasing an impressive collection of art, music and plantings.   Most notable proprietor, Isabella or otherwise known as “Mrs. Jack” born on April 14, 1840 (a fellow Aries), was a feverish collector of paintings, artifacts and other beautiful treasures, which she displayed in a revolutionary fashion.  Instead of exhibiting her cherished items on walls typical to museum fashion (such as the MFA), Isabella decided to present her artwork in a more intimately elaborate array.  If you’ve ever been to the Gardner, you’ll be familiar with this fact as you pass by Renoirs and Segal’s hung in tiny rooms alongside an assemblage of antique spoons and shoes.  The appeal to wander through Isabella’s house marveling at her priceless compilation is more than a cultural experience, it’s a personal one.
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For many Bostonians who have journeyed through the museum, one of the utmost attractions is the stunning garden that blooms year round in the center of the architecture.  Depending on when you go, there is a courtyard filled with seasonal plants and flowers that patrons can photograph (without flashes) or sketch in the interlude of enjoying the other pieces of fine art.  As a person who is crazy about the idea of strolling through a Victorian stone building growing blossoms through the center, I couldn’t recommend this day trip more to others with similar interests.  But perhaps gardening isn’t your thing and ask, “Why should I bother to go?”  That’s a very good question… The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is such an important example of Bostonian art history that I can name several reasons why you should tour the vicinity whether you’re into botany or not.



  1. “Blossoming” Artists:  Student artists will not only be able to take a lesson or two from the impressive renaissance portraits on display but can actual get a hands on experience drawing and sketching the garden itself.  The museum provides pencils and paper for anyone who would like to take the time to capture the beauty in their own expressive way.  
  2. Mystery Lovers:  If you like a good who-done-it then you’ll love trying to solve the mystery of the famous March 18, 1990 heist where 500 million dollars worth of artwork was stolen.  The crime has never been solved but the frames are still left empty on the walls.
  3. Philanthropists:  Isabella was more than just an art collector; she was one of the largest philanthropists in her time within Boston.  She relayed millions of dollars to special causes such as Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Industrial School for Crippled and Deformed Children, Animal Rescue League and Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
  4. If You’re Cheap:  The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum has great deals on tickets such as free entry on your birthday, $2 dollars off admission prices if you wear Red Sox gear, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders receive free entry on the first full weekend of each month and if you’re name is “Isabella” than you have free admission for LIFE

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Tags: Gardner Museum, Museums, Boston, Culture, The Arts

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!  

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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.  

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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.

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

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?

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Dance

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.  

 

Music

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.  

 

Painting

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

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: Health, Artist, The Arts, Music

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.   

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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: Ballet, Presentation Bouquets, Bouquets, The Arts

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

Posted by Rick Canale on Fri, Jan 22, 2016

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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.

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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.”

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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

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