How To Arrange Flowers, Freakebana-Style

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Freakebana (a name coined last year by an editor at The Cut and pronounced freak-eh-ba-na) is the mutant stepsister of ikebana, the Japanese art of arranging flowers. Ikebana dates back to the sixth century and utilizes natural objects that you can find in your vicinity, like rocks, branches, seedpods, and blooms. It’s more about letting the flowers do their thang as opposed to arranging them in a meticulous way like most mainstream Western bouquets.

While ikebana highlights minimalism and balance, freakebana’s primary focus is doing whatever the hell you want. Think weeds from your garden poking out of a sprouted sweet potato or several day-old grapefruits with a thorny rose emerging from the center of each. Freakebana is less about harmonizing beauty and more about being wildly expressive. The end result can look like a sculptural art piece rather than a floral arrangement—sensual, surreal, and even vulgar, helping us redefine our notions of contemporary beauty. Staying open and honoring our innate weirdness is so crucial in these trying times, it’s no wonder this new-wave floral movement is resonating. Here’s what you’ll need to make freakebana at home.

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Handpicked or market-bought. Definitely think about stem strength when selecting blooms—the stronger the stem, the easier it will be to stick the flower in a weird place. Anthuriums have a bold look and strong stems. Thistles, roses, dahlias, chrysanthemums, and baby’s breath have firm stems as well.

Fruits and/or vegetables: These will be the bases that hold your flowers. Buy at the grocery store or use what’s lying around your kitchen. Ripe fruits have super soft skin, which makes it easy to insert the flowers directly; I love grapefruits, lemons, and pears. Sweet potatoes and acorn squash are great as quirky, sculptural bases.

Tools: If you’re working with root veggies or something that has a tough rind, you’ll need a tool like a sharpened pencil, candy apple wooden stick, wooden skewer, or drill to create a hole in your base for the flower stem.  

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After you’ve sourced your supplies, think about where you want your flowers placed on your base. Keep it minimal with one stem or go wild with many blooms sticking out. Next, if your base is soft, stab the flower directly into it, or use a tool to create a passageway in the fruit or vegetable where the flower can be inserted. Make a single arrangement or cluster two together. Mostly, enjoy yourself and be expressive! It’s about creating unusual beauty with whatever is around you.

By Samantha Margherita
Stylist: Samantha Margherita
Photographed by Julia Stotz
This article originally appeared in the August/September 2018  print edition of BUST Magazine. Subscribe

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