Ups and Downs

The schedule for this class asked for a contemporary design with the title “Ups and Downs”. A contemporary design can be both confusing and challenging as this category really relates to the techniques used as much as the plant material placement.

Contemporary techniques (and plant placement) are defined as those “of the moment”, trending ideas in floral design. This means that a “contemporary” design of two years ago will not necessarily be considered “contemporary” today! Confusing and challenging as I said earlier.

For this design I decided to make to structure set the tone for the contemporary feel of the design by using corrugated cardboard in a stacking pattern. Just as an aside, in the guidelines for the judging of this competition, “stacking” is considered a “European influence” in design so can be used for designs with “Stacking” in the title or those that require European influence techniques. The focus for me was not so much on the stacking as the way this allowed me to interpret the “Ups and Downs” of the title as my first reaction was of a bar graph showing the ups and downs of statistics on any given topic.

You can see the technique for creating the stacks of cardboard by clicking here.

The top of the staging plinth is 40cm square and the allocated space for the design is 1m square, so plenty of room to use the space around the plinth for the design.

Using a small round floral foam wreath (in the days when using floral foam was still allowed), placed inside the cardboard structure, I have used banksia flowers to reinforce the vertical and horizontal lines of the cardboard structure. Small amounts of banksia foliage give height to the design, once again highlighting the lines of the design. Aspidistra foliage provides a contrast with its smooth and shiny surface whilst still providing sympathetic lines to the design.

I felt there needed to be a higher point in the design when looking at it just prior to judging so added a single gymea lily leaf and some woolly bush for strong plant material vertical lines.

This design placed first.

Judges Comments: A strong interpretation of the title that uses the space well. Design is interesting from all sides. The placement of the gymea leaf, whilst adding necessary height to the design, detracts from the overall clean lines. Spear grass might have been a better option.

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