Practising and Experimenting – Design 1

Practice Design 1 June 2020 Lockdown

As we are all aware, 2020 provided a very different environment for floral art than any of us had previously experienced.

During the first lockdown (for me), I decided to give myself time to experiment with plant materials, design styles and ideas without the pressure of competition. This was very much a first for me – I usually race from one competition to another with no time for “experimenting”.

For this design I was looking at intersecting lines. I also wanted to play with repetition of unusual shapes in plant materials. Sometimes we get so caught up in having perfect plant material we miss an chance to highlight a “deformity” to our advantage.

The central vertical placement is a vine that was removed from the tree it inhabited. This shape is reflected in a flower spike from a Xanthorrhoea that also has a big twist in it, probably something that pushed against it in the bush when it was growing. In the normal course of competition it would be difficult to use this as the feature of this particular plant material is its long straight flower spikes.

I have played with placements of banksia flowers and foliage, placing them both front and back facing. The foliage has a delightful silver colour to the back and a deep green to the front, giving a good contrast for a design.

The intersecting line is formed with a palm spathe. I love the size and variety of shapes and colours that spathes provide but I struggle with scale when using them. This particular one has been cut down a few times from previous use so I wanted to see if it was still going to be useful in my design work or if it should be passed on to another designer for a new life.

It is being passed on. My designs tend to be minimal plant material and I feel this particular spathe is too solid for my use. That’s another benefit of experimenting – you can make decisions about plant material that you will never use again and give it a new life with another designer!

If this design were for a competition it could be “Tall and Twisted” or “Reaching Up”.

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