The Kalla Chronicles: Water Lilies and Machine Guns

I’d heard lots of hype about Bouquets to Art at the de Young Museum, so I had to check it out. I was feeling especially ambitious, so I decided to attend one of the daily floral arranging demonstrations. I went into the event expecting to maybe learn some tips to arrange the perfect centerpiece for a dinner party — so did the housewives in front of me. One even brought her notebook.

I was in for a surprise. The demonstration, by Natasha Lisitsa and her colleagues of Waterlily Pond, was awe inspiring. And nothing that I expect to reproduce at home. The bouquets were bigger than me. (Natasha designed the 800 pound bouquet that stole the show at the event last year.)


Natasha was bummed she wasn’t allowed to suspend anything from the ceiling. Instead she hoisted this bouquet up about 15 feet with a extendable pole.

The pieces were stunning. Some required nail guns and electric drills for assembly. This made it a little less surprising when Natasha whipped out an anecdote about her youth in Soviet Russia. While demonstrating on a piece involving giant metal pipes, she quipped “When I was in high school, in order to graduate you had to be able to assemble a machine gun in 8 seconds. This piece sort of reminds me of that.”

The audience erupted in nervous laughter.

Natasha claims it took her hundreds of tries before she was able to assemble the gun quickly enough get her diploma, but watching her quick, deft work with the flowers makes it difficult to believe that anything takes her more than a few tries.

Follow the jump for more pictures.


Just a few of the phenomenal “bouquets” Natasha created.


Natasha and colleague work on the arrangement that reminds her of the machine gun.

Written by: Kalla Vieaux

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