The night felt like spring. Darkness seeped into the sky and touched the remaining emblems of light cascading through the air like phosphorescent orbs making their descent towards the rim of the horizon. The darkness hurried over buildings, racing over crevices and impressing its signature mark on facades able to accept its looming caress. South End businesses opened their doors for the last time. Windows in residences brightened with illumination. Lampposts distinguished sidewalks from streets, displaying lines that guided pedestrians home. The air, though changed by the encompassing night, wafted seductive, springtime scents, carrying with them the hope of a season promising new beginnings.
Wareham Street, quiet except for the one, or two, cars that hummed through it, glistened with a liquid that a few days prior had been snow. The darkness made its presence known and were it not for the few slants of light that fell from windows where the road met Albany Street, attention would have drawn eyes elsewhere. The slants were engaging. Shadows flickered on top of them and as one approached, faint music could be heard. Peering upwards, one saw a gathering taking place inside. People stood amid lounge furniture and candlelight flickered throughout. The right side of the room was shrouded in shadows, but one could distinguish rectangular tables where flowers, vessels, and cutting tools, rested.
A man stood near the entrance greeting guests as they came. He wore a striped maroon shirt with dark blue pants. His hands danced as he spoke and his chest heaved just before giving utterance to his thoughts. It was evident his role was that of lecturer. The sign stamped on the window made his identity clear and Marc Hall continued to speak as he led students to a table laid out with cheeses, and wines. There, he spoke of cherry blossoms and fritillaria. Bulb flowers and pollarding. A wall-mounted television projected images of international gardens and he clarified each one’s significance, offering definition, and perceptual guidance.
The congregation shifted to the other side of room, now illuminated by overhead spotlights. Each of the students took their place behind work tables and before them lay bountiful spring blooms harvested from their native lands, metal vessels that partitioned glass tubes, and an assortment of cutting tools. Marc oriented them to the task at hand: to design a springtime arrangement by inserting the blooms into the tubes and then placing the vessel atop a mound of hydroponically grown grass. Before they began, they broke and sampled red wines, paired with other cheeses.
Upon their return, blooms scattered throughout the air in seemingly synchronized pirouettes as the students commenced. One stem was cut, regarded, and inserted into a tube. The process continued with each bloom. Purple allium reigned as the tallest amongst them. Snowdrops proudly declared their role as initiators of spring. Yellow hyacinth promised to unfurl.
Once satisfied with the placement of each bloom, the students gripped the vessel from its sides, raised it, and considered the exact place it should occupy on the grass. The metal frame descended. The contorted vessel nestled itself amid upright blades and here, and there, the students observed their design.
With that final act of descension, the students realized their vision for how their designs should appear. Everyone remarked on and complimented each other’s work, noting that each design projected the personality of its artist. It was then that the night gathered itself into one, final impression, and the sum of the whole evening was made manifest in the beauty of the students’ work. The darkness outside, no longer hurried by its own magnificence, lodged itself into the night and became amassed with the whole. The ancient longing to celebrate and do so with others was fulfilled.
Thank you to our students who attended the Spring Workshop. The special evening was remarkable because each of the students, with their own design sensibilities, allowed us to guide them as they became immersed in the experience, and present to all it had to offer. Every piece that was designed seemed to reflect the personality of its creator, and it was a treat to watch each one come to fruition.