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Artist of the Month - May 2005

The Art of Flower Arranging
By Ann Stewart

 

Kathy Knight is an artist in flowers. Her “Designs by Kathy” creates floral arrangements to meet a lifetime of requests. From the baby’s first flowers in a music box, to the prom girl’s very special corsage, to the wedding, Kathy can make unique creations. As one’s life continues with congratulations, holidays, and get wells, she can provide beauty. And for a funeral, her flowers with memorabilia tucked in among the sprays, make a loving tribute.

Because most of her creations are custom designed to meet a special need, Kathy works with her clients personally. She has a huge scrapbook with photos of her work to give customers ideas. If they have none, she is full of them.

Kathy Knight, a graduate of Grand County High School, is a self-taught artist who has learned by doing. She has always been interested in art forms. She paints rock animals, weaves pine baskets, works with batiks and paints with watercolors when she has time. But for the past thirteen years her first love has been for plants and cut flowers.

Kathy got her start working part-time in the City Market floral department. Eventually she moved her work into the front of her home at 75 North 300 East Street. Today when you walk into “Designs by Kathy,” you see a wonderland of bouquets, hear the hum of flower coolers, see a variety of vases, and rainbows of colored ribbons and balloons. She also has a shop full of props for weddings and other events. Her daughters, Lisa and Megan, often help at the counter, her mother Judy Tangreen does the books, and husband Robert delivers the creations. Kathy’s creativity involves the whole family.

As with all true artists, Kathy is very particular about her supplies. She buys only the freshest flowers and foliage from wholesalers in Salt Lake City. They have received their flowers from as far away as Thailand and South America. As soon as the orders arrive in Moab, often early in the morning, Kathy must process them. She cuts the stems under water so that no air bubble will develop in the stem and cause premature wilting. She uses only sanitized vases and puts a flower food of bleach and sugar into the liquid. Her arrangements last up to three weeks because of the care she uses. Her coolers are for flowers only because the fruits and vegetables in a home refrigerator produce ethylene gas which may kill cut flowers. Her potted plants come from Orchard Mesa in Grand Junction.

Kathy also creates artistic designs with silk flowers. Again, she uses quality supplies, so it is hard to tell the silks flowers from the living ones. “Sometimes we want our arrangements to last a long time. Silks will do that,” she says, “All you need to do is occasionally turn your blow dryer on them to get rid of the dust.” Her artistic wall hangings, wreaths, and large bouquets of silk flowers are popular with businesses and at Christmas time.

While silks will last, living flowers will not. It is tricky business to know how many fresh flowers to order. She’s never sure when an FTD request will arrive. Of course, Kathy can anticipate big Moab events such as the Prom, but some flowers will never get selected for an arrangement. Once they are past their prime they will not be used. They have to go into Kathy’s compost pile (probably one of the loveliest in town.)

Hers is a pleasing art form which brings smiles of pleasure to the recipient and delight to Kathy as she expands her new creations and her business.

Kathy Knight may be reached at 435-259-7080 or stop by “Designs by Kathy” to see her work.

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