Flower Symphony is an exhibition of handmade flower arrangements by George Fernandez

Forget the monsoon, it is spring time at Museum Auditorium with flowers of different kind in full bloom. But wait, take a close look and you realise that those tiny maroon verbenas with a touch of purple in them or that pretty pink shaded Dutch rose arrangement are not real.

If the former is made out of cloth, the latter is made out of bread. An arrangement of wild flowers is made from cooked rice! Floral Symphony, an exhibition that is on at the auditorium, is by George Fernandez. A renowned arts and crafts teacher in the city, George has created these floral wonders himself.

A lover of nature, George recollects spending his childhood in his garden. In his garden, George would pay keen attention to each flower that bloomed. Something he does to this very day. “I observe every tiny detail of a flower: the colours, the shape and texture of the petals and leaves, the stamen…”

Keeping these observations in mind, he then draws diagrams of how he imagines the flowers set. After careful consideration, he identifies the material that will best suit the flower. “Clay looks good for orchids and garden silk suits verbenas.” It takes two or three weeks to complete an arrangement he says.

The process of making these floral bouquets are no piece of cake. It is quite an arduous process, something George enjoys. “The more complex the flower, the more I enjoy the process. A favourite in the exhibition is a cherry blossom flower arrangement, as we had a tree when I was young.”

George learnt the art of making artificial flowers from an Anglo Indian woman in Bangalore. She made flowers with socks and satin.

“I then worked on it and developed my own technique such as making flowers with bread and cooked rice. At first, while working with bread and rice, the results were poor. After plenty of research, I managed to make them mouldable. In fact, I find working with bread much easier than clay.”

These handmade flowers are arranged in various settings. If a dry flower arrangement is set in a mini treasure chest, carnations and roses are artfully placed in a tiny blue shoe and lovely cherry blossoms set on an artificial wood. Artificial wood? “Yes, I have created artificial wood,” says George who refuses to divulge anything more. There are 51 pieces in George’s exhibition, which concludes on June 23. While they are on sale, George says he will only sell them to people who really like it. “I am not in it for the money. I will only give them to people who truly admire the beauty and craftsmanship behind them.”

Some books on arts and crafts that have been written by George are also on sale. The exhibition is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.