Church flower arrangements: how to make them
The realization of floral compositions for the church requires the respect of some fundamental norms in consideration of the specific place which they are destined. First of all, it should be emphasized that flowers can be a fundamental part of the liturgical celebration, as an artistic form that reveals itself as a parable of divine love. In particular, flowers represent an example of the gratuitousness of God's love, given that they are useless, at least in appearance, in a world that is constantly striving for efficiency and productivity; but they are also an example of the hope that comes from the love of God, by virtue of their continuous and faithful reappearance, once a year, within an insecure reality. Still, the flowers constitute an extraordinary and surprising parable of the purity of God's love, given their beauty without artifice, which stands out against a very sophisticated world, but above all the discretion of such love, because discreet and silent they reveal themselves themselves. Furthermore, the floral compositions intended for the church stand out for their delicacy and their fragility in a real context that is often proposed as violent.
The liturgical floral art
From a historical point of view, the liturgical floral art can be traced back, originally, to the contemplation of the “Portinari” triptych by Genevieve Vacherot: his intuition, which in a short time turned into a real conviction, was to leave space to the divine word through the contemplation of a bouquet, able to console, transform and intuit. In fact, through the natural elements, and in particular the flowers, it is possible to speak of God in connection with the Holy Scriptures, addressing a specific community; and, always through flowers, one can pray, turning to God, to adore him and ask for his intercession. It is therefore evident that each liturgical space that is decorated for a specific occasion with the material available according to a weighted disposition becomes part of a circle that serves to exalt the altar of creation from an artistic point of view. Specifically, there are several parts that can be decorated with floral decorations: the cross, the ambo, the Easter candle, the baptistery and the altar. However, it is not said that there is only one liturgical occasion that can be given flower: whether it is a simple Sunday or a rich marriage, a pure baptism or a funeral, tree barks, lies, moss, logs, cups and vases can be used with flowers (different colors, numbers and species) in order to create different compositions and bouquets, straight, round, triangular, elle, and so on. Being an art, the one dedicated to the floral liturgy does not have an immediately practical purpose, but it is learned and given for the benefit of the entire community. To recall the words of Genevieve Vacherot, the flowers do not serve to decorate, but mean, since the church is the place where everything, besides being beautiful, must be significant.
How to operate concretely
Specifically, how should we act concretely? First of all it is necessary to select those elements that will be useful to indicate the main line that will constitute the overall structure of the bouquet. When it comes to choosing, reference is made, first of all, to the ability to eliminate. In other words, we need a precise attention that allows us to identify only the beautiful and delicate branches, such as a calligrapher's trait, able to provide meaning and a sign. The art of stripping is therefore particularly difficult and demanding. If it is true, in fact, that an excess of flowers ends up killing the flowers, the bouquet may not be able to breathe due to the overabundance, which suffocates and obstructs. Therefore, there must be enough space left between the various plant elements to allow light to penetrate. Lighting, in fact, depending on the time of day or night, will be able to highlight particular colors and shapes. The emptiness at the focal point of the bouquet is important, meaning reception and availability: towards a common brother or towards the Lord. In short, since the liturgy translates into the desire to serve while respecting the truth, attention must be paid to the easy temptation to fall into pure aestheticism.
Church flower arrangements: Get in touch with God
A flower arrangement in the church must not only be beautiful, but serve the assembly, help it to pray and to come into direct contact with God. In essence, it must allow the community to live as much as possible the alliance with the divinity. The bouquet, therefore, must never fail in its most important characteristic, namely that of being at the service of the Liturgy. Never ends in themselves, the flowers must make the gaze of the observers not stop at the aesthetic aspect, but go beyond, in the direction of the Other: for this reason, we need a balance between plant elements and free space: when it speaks of emptiness does not indicate the desert nothingness, but the place of transition that allows us to glimpse the most distant horizons, the space of freedom. All the characteristics of the bouquet, from the number of flowers to the colors, from the shapes to the dimensions, should take this basic principle into account.