This design was for an international online competition. It was a title I had not encountered in any previous competitions so I was drawn to the idea of challenging myself to see what I could design in a minimalistic way that still made the title clear to the judges.
The support for the partially burned piece of timber is actually a weight from a telescope. It is very heavy with a solid rod onto which I can place all sorts of different timbers and be confident that it will stay upright – you do still need to think about balance though. On this occasion it is painted brown with some rounds of cork, also painted brown underneath to give the design just a bit more height.
Two dried agapanthus heads and two dried strelitzia leaves ( click here for the easy drying method) are fixed to holes/crevices in the timber with some dried smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria) for contrast in texture. Fresh craspedia and steel grass add some colour to the design without needing a water source.
For once, this design came out exactly as I had envisioned it! In retrospect, however, I would have chosen a different background for the image. Obviously I couldn’t use black as the design would have been too hard to see but the stark white does not display the design to its best either. When you are entering an online competition, read the schedule carefully to see if you are permitted to use any colour background – this will help with your plant material choices as well as photographing the finished design.
Judges comments: A definite feeling of a ‘parched earth’ is conveyed by use of appropriate materials. The use of the fine grass introduces good rhythm into the design.
Textural contrast could be stronger. One point of emergence is limiting. The black cloth is problematic as it visually pulls the eye down from the design.