Class Title: All is Safely Gathered
Staging: bench, 60cm width height unrestricted, judged from front
I don’t use a lot of baskets as my design containers, however this one is special. It was bequeathed to me by a wonderful friend and it has always brought good fortune to my designs when used.
This is a class title I encounter at least once a year as many of my competitions are held in conjunction with agricultural shows. It is the perfect opportunity to use not just flowers but the broader range of horticultural material in my designs.
I have a small piece of floral foam in the base of the basket – mainly for the proteas, sunflowers and asparagus fern as none of the other items require a water source. There is a large pumpkin in the basket that anchors the other vegetables, grain stalks and fruits either with wooden skewers or toothpicks. Partly dried sunflower heads fall over the front of the basket with full flowers at the back.
Judging feedback: Excellent use of a full range of plant materials for the class title – all are items that could be “gathered”. The design could have been improved with more material over the edge of the basket to lessen the dominance of it as a container.
Here is another example of the same class title, this time staged on a plinth and judged all around.
This time I had to incorporate dahlias so kept the floral material to one side of the basket with more fruit than vegetables. The basket is sitting on a slightly mirrored surface to lift it from the bench as well as reflect some light up into the design.
A word of warning: You may not recreate a design of your own or copy another design for any competition regardless of where it is in the world. Judges are aware of designs being used and will either disqualify a design or mark it down if they have seen it before anywhere.
Each time I do a design for this class, therefore, I have to make it sufficiently different to any I have done before so that I do not lose any marks.
And yet another on the plinth. This time I decided to not use the basket.
I should admit, here, that I am always on the look out for useful and unusual mechanics for my designs. Twice a year our local council collects any large unwanted household items and this is a treasure trove for me! The central support for this design is the agitator from a clothes washing machine – a great light plastic item with perfectly shaped spirals that can hold floral foam and still be a guide for the spiral shape. I drove past it for a few days before deciding it was mine….
Three pieces of floral foam have been encased in a long chicken wire tube which is then placed in the spiral created by the agitator. Some of the chicken wire shows through in the design but it does not look out of place given the actual chicken and eggs in the finished design.
Each side view has a section of fresh floral material in the foam working its way up the spiral to the top. Incorporated as dried material are some of the crops (wheat, corn, maize, hay) that would be “gathered” as well as vegetables. My chicken is scratching in the millet at the base of the design and its presence is complemented by the eggs in the straw nest at the top.