Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

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Princeton, MAINE USA

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

‘Flower’ Signing without a Syllable

How to say flower” in silence (Wordless Wednesday, we’re on the way ...).


Sniffing as “flower” in baby sign language

Photo: Be Happy, via Youtube

Iwanu ga hana 言わぬが花

Literally—“Not speaking is the flower.” In English we might say “Silence is golden.”

Sputter…we are still straw, and have a long way to go before arriving at goldenness. But in that direction here are some unspoken human expressions of “flower.”

In the photo above, actually a still from a lovely video, a 10-month-old girl communicates “flower” in baby sign language. Videographer-mom says this tiny person learned the signs for “bird” “eat” and “flower” (making a sniffing sound) at nine months. Babies do know what’s important, and red hollyhocks are motivational! For more on baby sign language, here’s an article about two of its proponents.

American Sign Language, of course, has its “flower,” too. “A flattened O handshape moves from one side of the nose to the other to represent smelling flowers.”

It’s easier to imitate than to explain. Looky here; then watch the marvelous youtube which we hereby recommend to the Oscar committee.

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Posted by Julie on 02/04 at 07:27 PM
Art & MediaCulture & SocietySecular CustomsPermalink

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Olympic Flowers ‘10: Just Choose June

To make its victory bouquets, Vancouver’s Olympics committee has chosen a florist with prison credentials.


June Strandberg, florist for the Vancouver Winter Olympics

Photo: Sharon Doucette, for Surry Now

Conscientious consumption—the demonstration of ethics via your nearest and dearest commodities—will take the international stage next year, in the grip of swooshing ski jumpers and jaw-rattled luge riders.

The organizing committee for Vancouver’s Winter Olympics 2010 has chosen Just Beginnings Flowers to make the 1500 bouquets for next winter’s Olympic champions.

Just Beginnings, HFP readers may recall, is a fascinating flower shop that combines social uplift with retailing.  Owner June Strandberg trains recovering addicts and ex-prisoners in floral design, offering instruction in the basement of her shop in Surry’s Phoenix Centre. Strandberg has also taught floristry behind bars.

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Posted by Julie on 02/03 at 02:53 PM
Culture & SocietyCut-Flower TradeFloristsSecular CustomsPermalink

Sunday, February 01, 2009

With Flowers for the Columbia

A national tragedy revealed the human flower instinct.


The space shuttle Columbia, February 1, 2003

Photo: by Dr. Scott Lieberman, via AP

Six years ago today, we were driving to Houston on the Lunar New Year, fired up about interviewing some of the city’s Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese residents about floral traditions of the “spring festival.” Breezing down Highway 71, we clicked on the radio and heard the news – something had gone very wrong with the space shuttle. Still-early reports suggested that the Columbia had been damaged re-entering the Earth’s atmosphere and broken apart over East Texas.

As we approached the Harris County line the worst was confirmed. The Columbia had exploded. All seven crew members were dead.

The news was haunting, especially for those of us who’d grown up during the “space race.” We could still remember sitting excitedly in a tiny chair in the school gym to watch Alan Shepherd lift-off in Freedom 7, May 5, 1961. The whole school watched this unbelievable event on a black and white television and cheered when the rocket sparked and heaved into flight.

But this was February 1, 2003. We’d hadn’t even been aware that the Columbia was orbiting Earth, on its 28th mission.

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Posted by Julie on 02/01 at 01:16 PM
Culture & SocietyCut-Flower TradeSecular CustomsPermalink
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