One of my favourite place to shop for material to create special design containers or structures is IKEA. I love that their products are well-priced for experimentation. When I create with IKEA product, but use it for purpose other than the expected… it becomes an IKEA hack. This will be my special series blog.
‘Blanda Matt’ is a wooden serving bowl so it can be drilled to build-in an armature as an integral part of the design. My current favourite choice of material for armature building is bamboo skewer. The skewers, even though it is delicate appearing for its size, it is very resilient and durable. They do not break easily, they hold a lot of weight and they do not break down nor turn brittle over time. Whenever I build tedious structures, I want to make sure that the material I use provide longevity – that it gives opportunity for multiple repeat use.
The upper half of the wooden bowl is randomly drilled in various directions so that when the skewers are inserted through the holes, they criss-cross naturally (deliberately NOT in regular pattern). By allowing them to cross each other as well as crossing additional skewers, an intricate structure develops. Binding with bindwire where the skewers cross is the general building process. Sliding at binding points can be a problem with slick bamboo surfaces. It is best remedied by using 1/4 Uglu dash at each juncture. I simply build first with Uglu, and when I can see the shape developing that is to my liking, I then bind over the juncture with bindwire. This insures absolutely tight and secure construction. In this example, I cut the pointed ends of the skewers off. However, there is an opportunity for piercing, if the pointed end are left on. (e.g. on the points, you can pierce hypericum berries, or small succulents and tillandsias).
There are multiple ways to use this structure/container:
(1) Fill the bowl with water and simply design flower stems in through the skewer armature to hold in place.
(2) Attach clear water tubes into the intricate structure to hold in place, and design the flowers in them.
(3) Plant bulbs suspended into the structure and allow roots to grown down into the water.
(4) Plant orchid root ball into the structure and the water in the bowl can provide the optimum humidity it enjoys.
(5) It is perfect for Tillandsia culture – design the plants into the strucuture.
(6) It is also simply a beautiful structure with or without flower. It can also hold other nature’s treasures, like stones, gems, shells, roots, driftwood, etc.