“I have seven grandchildren,” she said. “One year, two of them went into my yard and I had scads of Nandinas and they pulled every berry off of all my Nandinas and my granddaughter said, ‘I’ve never seen you so mad in my life,’ and I said, ‘You probably haven’t.’”
Pittman uses much of the greenery in her back yard in her flower designs, which she showed off recently at Biggs Park Mall. Pittman marries common objects, like pottery, lights or mirrors, with flowers to create a unique design.
“My thing is to do something that nobody’s seen before and that I’ve never done before,” she said.
About 30 people came through to look at the designs, which were not for sale, but were meant to inspire others to create their own decorations for the holidays.
“It’s nice for people to get ideas for Christmas decorations — something a little different,” said Jan Tedder-Rogers, the mall manager.
Pittman learned Ikebana — “flower design” in Japanese — from a Japanese teacher. The influence shows up in many of her designs.
“I hardly ever use over one or two flowers in anything I do and that’s why I like the Japanese,” she said. “It’s elegant and simplistic and I love to do it because it’s just pretty.”
She said she makes sure her pieces are not too over-the-top.
“I don’t ever use something that’s like when you go to a church and everything up on the table is just one big thing,” she said. “I would never in 100 years do that. It’s just flowers and flowers.”
Pittman teaches classes, and also shows her designs at garden clubs and other venues across the state. She said the most time-consuming part of the designs is planning each piece.
“I have a little card with six things on it,” she said. “... I have down exactly what I will put on each arrangement, what kind of flowers I’m going to use, I have all that down.”
She is always is looking for new additions, like lights or vases, for her creations.
“My addiction, I hate to say it, is flower containers,” she said. “... If you go to my house you can’t even see the floor hardly, but I use them a lot.”
Pittman is a member of the Flower Study Club in Lumberton and the Ikebana International Chapter 140 in Fayetteville. Doris Bryan, who is in the Flower Study Club with Pittman, said a blue vase with lights and flowers inspired her most.
“I’ve got a blue bottle that I could do something like that in, and I might just do that,” she said.
Ann Ray, who is from Fairmont, came with her husband Mitchell to the show at Biggs Park Mall. While Ann is in a garden club in Fairmont, Mitchell said she doesn’t have a green thumb.
“Anytime my wife brings a plant home, I tell her she’s putting it on death’s row,” he said.
Ann said she appreciates the beauty of Pittman’s designs but said she probably wouldn’t be able to do it herself.
Milla Leggette, from Rowland, was inspired by Pittman’s pieces.
“Maybe it’s some inspiration to try something,” she said. “All of it is just so simple yet so beautiful, and the stuff that she’s taken is not that expensive.”
Pittman’s tips for making your own decorations:
— Use as much as you can from your own back yard.
— Put in the amount of flowers you think should be included, then remove half of them.
— Look for unusual items at stores to use in designs.
— Use mirrors as bases to add to the design with the reflection.