In the spring of 2007, the editors of the bridal issue of a magazine popular here in the Pacific Northwest asked us to design a floral arrangement and table service. Jennifer came up with an idea that stunned everybody who saw it, combining in one sophisticated table setting the most ephemeral and delicate of beauties with the closest thing on planet Earth to the eternal.
For flowers, Jennifer found about two dozen different varieties of white flowers, many of them wildflowers we collected ourselves from the forests, streams, and meadows near our house in Portland Oregon. She arranged them either singly or in small bunches in a variety of unique vintage and antique glass vases from the vintage vase collection in our shop. For the centerpiece she arranged pale pink dogwood blossoms with very tall, slender white tulips. The effect was one of extraordinary diversity brought into strange and unexpected harmony, as if nature herself had flung together the vases and flowers, and suddenly withdrawn, leaving the fragile petals trembling above the crisp white linens covering the table.
Jennifer then set 8 inch by 8 inch by 2 inch thick squares of light pink Himalayan rock salt plates on white china chargers. The Himalayan rock salts are 600 million years old. They just sat there, and glowed. Way back before there as any developed life on the planet, a great ocean became enclosed by land and slowly evaporated off to form a vast deposit of salt and natural trace minerals. The luminescent squares of Himalayan salt, effectively the distillate of one of the first oceans to form on the planet, both anchored the table with their solidity and uprooted it, bringing the primordial bed of all life on earth into contradistinction that was simultaneously aesthetic, conceptual, and playful.
The photographs in the magazine were great, but never quite did justice to the amazing delicacy of the white wildflowers and the immutable depth of the salt blocks. But this picture at least serves as a schematic for the idea.
For any of you–like me recently–still baffled: to get an image out of your cell phone you can email it to yourself.