Soldiers, courtiers, gardeners, lend me your shears…

As a side hustle I freelance at a London event florist. I was initially taken on as a driver and studio assistant, but the company have figured out I’m fairly adept in the props-fabrication department. I’ve subsequently found myself doing an increasing amount of crafting, a welcome stimulant for my creativity. Here are some cards I’ve created, part of a shop-front installation for Chelsea in Bloom – the alternative floral art show that transforms the streets of Chelsea during the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

(Jeffrey Mundell at the Alice in Wonderland display by Lucy Vail Floristry outside Cole & Sons in Chelsea, London. Chelsea in Bloom, 2023. Photo: Joanne Gale)

The cards are part of an Alice in Wonderland-themed installation. In Lewis Carroll’s story, the cards labour under the oppressive Queen of Hearts. I’ve read that clubs represent soldiers, the diamonds courtiers, spades are gardeners and the hearts represent children or royals.

I used plywood for the heart and diamond cards, and hardboard (more flexible) for the spades and clubs, which are curved. The suit designs are adapted from older playing cards to lend a vintage feel to the design and the acrylic paint finish is weather-sealed with clear lacquer. Each card is attached to a light wooden frame that maintains their shape and provides a structure to attach them to the display.

(Chelsea in Bloom is currently on display in London. The RHS Chelsea Flower Show runs from 23-27 May 2023 at the Royal Hospital Chelsea)