Expensive flowers are not necessary for interesting room and table decorations. The blossoms of wild plants are beautiful and offer a great variety of color and form.

An ink pad

Figure 27. An ink pad.

Seed pods, branches of trees, hedge balls, thorns, leaves, fungus, rocks, and weeds, when arranged in a simple container, are most interesting. See Plate LIII.

A teacher and her pupils may make a collection of handmade pottery bowls and vases and small figures to be used in flower arrangements to decorate the classroom. Hand-woven mats of straw, grass, cornhusks, and cattail leaves make attractive backgrounds for such arrangements. Vases and pottery figures in simple designs may be purchased in dime stores for this purpose. A commercial nondrying clay is valuable when making a display. The stems are held upright by placing them in the clay. A pottery or glass frog and a square of chicken wire are also used for holding the stems in place.

Arkansas dolls and basket

PLATE LIII. An arrangement in keeping with the Arkansas dolls and basket.

There are a few simple rules to follow in arranging flowers. First, use only a few flowers. Do not jam a great number of blossoms in a vase and call it an arrangement.

Select the flowers or plant forms for interesting and varying textures, size, shape, and color.

Second, choose a bowl or vase that suits the plants. If the blossoms are gay and brilliant, use a neutral-colored piece with an extremely simple form. If there is only a small amount of color, try to pick up that color in the bowl or in a small ceramic figure placed beside the vase. The size of the container should be large enough to create the impression that the flowers are secure, but not so heavy looking that it overbalances the flowers. The shape should be simple and fit the needs of the plant stems.

Third, balance should be taken into consideration. The flowers may be placed in the container so that the left and right half balance as to color and size or they may be arranged so that the color is greater on one side and the form is greater on the other. There is still balance, but two different qualities are used.

Fourth, there should be a center of interest as in a painting. The center of interest should be near the center of the composition and still not in the exact middle. It may be indicated by the form's largeness, brilliance in color, unusualness in form, or difference from the other items used.