Thursday, January 24, 2013

Custom Design, The Tattoo Gun Tribute

Every so often, floral designers get called upon to create unique, beautiful, customized arrangements to express the loss of someone.  Not every designer can rise to the challenge, some even run away.  I LOVE challenges.  I LOVE designing outside "the box".  I think that some of the more remarkable work I have designed over the past 15 years has been those one-of-a-kind sympathy expressions. 
A few years ago a local tattoo artist, world renowned, departed unexpectedly.  One of his friends called my shop and asked, " Can you make a tattoo gun out of flowers?" 
My first answer was, to be honest, I'm not sure let me google that image and call you back.   Sometimes its not for lack of trying, but some things don't lend to practical interpretation with flowers being the medium.  I googled, figured out some rough dimensions and called him back with a quote.  He said, "Nope, I want it bigger than that" Ok, I can do that.  The initial sketch:
I then scanned and emailed a copy to the sender.
He thought it was accurate and gave me the go ahead.  The next step was to figure out 1.) how large to make it, 2.) what to design it out of, 3.) what I can use to support it
To figure out scale and proportion I did this:
Simple graph paper is a saving grace when you need to calculate size, let alone, quantity of flowers needed to design this.  I used Oasis Sculpting Sheets as the base for the flowers and a piece of spray painted plywood for the base of the whole design.  (water +foam + flowers = REALLY heavy)
I had to trace a full size version of this with a projector onto full size paper to make my "pattern", then carve and sculpt it out of the oasis sheets. 
The sheets are only 22"x22" so I need 2 of them length wise to do it.

Pattern laid out

This is after the initial carving and attaching the bottom to the top.
Once I had it completed carved out I used a cordless screw driver and drove screws through the back of the plywood into the back of the "gun".  I had also used glue as a preliminary hold to adhere the gun to the board before using the screws. As you can guess it was extremely labor-intensive.
Then I started inserting flowers into the foam.  Also I used black painted blocks of wood to support the gun on the plywood.  This was very heavy and a great design loses everything if the mechanics aren't there to hold the arrangement in place.
The finished product.  :)  One I'm especially proud of.

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