Modern Still Life – Memories

Despite a question in my mind about why the organisers would stipulate a “modern” design style with a class title of “Memories”, I did have a specific memory that came to mind when I saw the Show schedule.

Design styles are actually defined types. The definitions can usually be found in manuals written by either the organising group or the peak floral art/design body of a particular country. It is the basis on which the competition will be judged.

In this case the design style is defined as “a design of plant material and related objects of everyday life with a similar purpose, presented in a unified grouping. The theme of the design is interpreted more by the objects than the plant material – either may predominate. The objects should be actual in size and true to their function, chosen for their contrasting harmony of colour, form, texture, size and their contribution to the interpretation of the theme.”

As you might expect, I have some special “memories” of my floral art journey. The one that came to mind on this occasion was when I won my first “Champion” ribbon at the most prestigious of our agricultural shows here in Australia – the Sydney Royal Easter Show, most often referred to as “The Royal”. This particular ribbon was for Australian native floral that had been grown on the farm – a “specimen” staging, meaning that it is just one stem of a particular plant.

For this design, I have used a slice of banksia to support a bottle of champagne and glass with some gumnuts and craspedia. Behind this are a couple of books about Australian native plants supporting a vase made from native timber with craspedia and kangaroo paw (Anigozanthus) flowers. The all important ribbon is draped between the two sections to connect them and provide the focus of my interpretation.

This design placed third.

Judges comments: The balance of colour is not right in this design and there needs to be more varied height to create contrast.

My review comments: Not surprisingly I don’t entirely agree with the judge’s comments. My own view is far more embarrassing! I have not used a base to help present the parts of the design as a whole. By placing the design directly on the bench, the bench itself becomes part of the design, the most common way to lose points when you first begin competing. The design most definitely needs a base board on which everything else sits – I could have used something as simple as a plain piece of cardboard covered in leaf litter as this would enhance the interpretation of the design.
Just goes to show that even after 20 years, I can make simple errors of judgement in a design!

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