By Bobbi Sands
FOR much of her life, Gail Taverner didn’t think she had an artistic bone in her body. But when her passion for flowers led her to take up flower arranging lessons, her creativity began to bloom!
Some 25 years later, the Walmer resident has won numerous national and international accolades for her floral art skills.
As a member of the Algoa Floral and Garden Club, which falls under the Eastern Cape Floral Art Association, Taverner creates stunning artistic floral arrangements by transforming simple materials into masterpieces in her garage, which doubles up as her workshop.
Last year she was one of three floral artists from the Eastern Cape who attended the World Flower Show in Boston, US.
She was the only representative from the friendly city and managed to clinch one of 12 special awards for most elegant design with her 2.4m interpretation of dance creation.
There were more than 600 competitors from around the world.
She said the world flower show takes place every three years. And some years ago when it was held in Durban she was one of the artists who demonstrated her abilities for visiting floral artists.
Taverner said she decided about 25 years ago that she wanted to learn about flowers. She started attending meetings in a home in Walmer and has never looked back.
“We learnt table arrangements and I have done some wedding flowers for friends.
“You need to definitely have a passion for flowers to do this.
“This is really an artistic outlet for us and incorporates many elements of design.
“It also makes you aware of the plant materials and what nature has to offer,” said Taverner.
Taverner’s designs incorporate many materials collected from her own garden and also from fields. She said many of the bulbs and flowers needed to be bought as many designs use more than could be provided for by her garden at the time.
“Over time I have also learnt to train myself in finding materials when I am out and about.”
She said the materials to build structures can be pricey but most of the materials she uses are from nature so it is not overly expensive.
Taverner said the Algoa Floral Club has about 150 members and got together every third Friday of the month at the St Johns Anglican Church in Walmer. The topic varies each month, with either demonstrations or talks on gardening subjects.
The club is part of the South African Floral Union whose president, Joan Jorritsma is from Port Elizabeth.
Anyone wanting to get involved with the Algoa Floral Club can contact Sandy Venter on (041)367-2333 or Gail on 082-651-1391.