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Creative Corner: Art becomes floral

Anyone can use flowers as art.


Art can be seen in all kinds of things and places. For Kandis Rulle, she sees art in flowers.

When Longmont local Rulle was five years old, she attended the spring flower show at McCormick Place in Chicago with her family. She was so in awe of the floral arrangements that she fell in love with the art form. 

At seven, she accompanied her mother to a women's club meeting that had a special guest, a florist from Wisconsin Dells who designed holiday arrangements. He gave Kandis some carnations and greens and at that moment she knew what she wanted to do. It was then that she announced to her mother, "I want to be a florist."

Exploring her professed career, Rulle found a part-time job at a local flower shop in high school. When she graduated, she headed to the Kansas City area to attend Floral Technology and Design in Shawnee Mission Kansas. 

Educating herself in floral design led to Rulle opening two flower shops in Florida where she learned how to organize and run personal events, even when disaster struck. 

"One time I went to service a wedding at the Ramada Inn in Fort Myers. The people who delivered the cake put it up in the attic because there was another wedding. Then, somebody turned on the attic fan and the dirt landed on the side of the cake. It was this beautiful wedding cake with all this intricate lily of the valleys in frosting. It was a hazard on one side," Rulle said. 

Having no experience with cake decorating, Rulle didn’t know how to fix the cake before the guests were ready to take their first bite. 

"I thought, 'I don't have any frosting. I don't know how to do this. So what am I going to do?' Rulle said. She found a knife and removed the tainted frosting, replacing it with baby's breath and ivy. 

Realizing she had a real knack for floral design, she grew her business by attending floral shows and teaching other designers. 

Although she often teaches formally, Rulle shares a few tips with others who see flowers as art. She suggests starting  as a hobby first to hone your skills and make sure it's a good match for your skillset. She shared that one of her neighbors casually redesigns bouquets she gets from the store.

As Valentine's Day approaches, she has a tip for keeping bouquets you might receive fresh and alive longer.

Rulle said, "For fresh flowers, you have to take them apart and cut them on an angle using a kitchen knife, not scissors. Otherwise, they're just gonna die. The pores close up." For carnations or roses, specifically, she said, "You never want to cut it on the little ball or on the joints where the leaves are."

Now, she uses those quick thinking and design skills as a professional organizer and for the most part maintains her floral design skills as a hobby, though she occasionally helps her family with their events. In both fields, she says "every piece should count."