Convention Entry – Plinth Design

State Exhibit – AFAA Convention 2018 Canberra

This design was staged as a representative of my home State and organisation at a national convention of floral artists/designers. It is expected to showcase floral art for the State it is representing.

As the time of year did not allow for me to use our State floral emblem the waratah (Telopea speciosissima), I chose to use another Australian native plant that originates in New South Wales, the Gymea lily (Dorianthes excelsor). These are a fascinating plant with very useful foliage as well as a massive flower spike growing to over 5 metres on a very strong stem. The flower itself is a mass of smaller florets that can be used fresh or dried.

Here I have used a palm spathe as the base to highlight the Gymea flower in all its glory. The flower is secured on a large kenzan (lead based pinholder) but not in a water source as it does not need it for the duration of the exhibition (3 days). The spathe is secured to a piece of weathered wood and a flat rock (actually an ashtray) with large screws for stability. A small piece of palm influorescence is wedged between the under surface of the spathe and the rock to provide visual interest in that area as the design was viewed by passing attendees on three sides.

At each end of the spathe are some of the Gymea foliage, manipulated to a softer curve than is their natural shape. One end has Australian native Banksia placements, the other has a single (if somewhat sad example) Waratah. Palm inflourescence pieces have been strung on copper wire for added interest through the design.

For the clever observers, if you draw an imaginary line from each of the top points the shape roughly resembles the shape of New South Wales! Not intentional but interesting nonetheless.

The common thread of comments from attendees was how interesting it is to use just one plant/flower as the focus of a large design. I like to keep them thinking 🙂

As I mentioned, this is a very long lasting flower. Here is a design I did almost two weeks later for the office with the flower now fully in bloom. It had not been in water for any of the intervening time!

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