Wild and Wonderful

A very special venue for this competition – an historic home and grounds on the shores of Sydney Harbour. The staging for the competition was in a large marquee in the grounds, very humid and challenging as it meant a two hour drive to bring my structure and plant material to the site.

I had prepared the structure beforehand at the farm and made modifications based on the stability and ability to be dismantled for transport.

One of the biggest changes was to the amount of plant material I was thinking about using. I had in mind to make it full of banksia branches (that had come down in a recent storm) and have them attached to the trunk pieces at the base on the inside. No matter how we tried to do this (my 87 year old Dad was my assistant…he loves a good day of drilling holes!), the structure would not stand steady and I absolutely did not want this to be worried about on staging day! So the branches came to the outside, I used less of them and brought some dried Xanthorrhoea flower spikes into the mix. These enhanced the vertical line as well as providing some textural contrast.

I covered vials with gymea leaf and tied them in place where my fresh material would be placed. In keeping with using only Australian native plant material, kangaroo paw long flower spikes, gymea lily foliage and grevillea flowers and foliage are the only fresh plant materials. The banksia flowers and cones are those left on the branches screwed to the base. The foliage on these branches, although dried to an unusual silver grey colour, was too bountiful so this was all stripped away to allow some negative space in the design.

Keeping the bulk of the fresh plant material to the top of the design balances out the heaviness of the base truck pieces. Having these face inwards not only lessens their visual impact but also allows the cut surface colour to reflect the colours of the placements above.

This design placed first.

Judges comments: A stunning design with movement and impact. All the mechanics are finished well, some almost hidden leaving me to wonder how it was done! Good textural contrasts and colour palette. Excellent use of the space allocated for an all round design.

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