A mobile in floral art competitions falls into the kinetic styles that evolved from the work of Alexander Calder, an American sculptor and abstract painter. In kinetic designs, actual movement or the appearance of movement is dominant. Movement may be created by air current or be motorised.
Definition: A design that is suspended, as invisibly as possible, appearing to float in the air with perfect balance, allowing for actual movement of all components within the design. It should appear interesting from any angle and may be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Plant material must predominate.
A mobile design must float freely in the air – usually suspended from a display frame provided by the competition organisers. The most difficult part of this design style is getting the physical balance correct so that all the elements move without restriction.
Class title: Mobile
Staging : Space allowed 180cm drop by 40cm width.
I was fortunate to find, some time ago, a piece of branch shaped in a straight edged “U” which I knew would be useful one day. It has a lovely aged look and some moss growing through it so was perfect for the top arm of my mobile design. The other two arms are from branches of the same tree, with smaller pieces coming off them to give a similar look.
Each of the three arms is suspended by jute from one another with the top arm being tied to the display frame. The design features skeleton leaves, wool, feathers, cork squares on wire trails and cut sections of banksia. All these are placed to create interest from various viewing angles as well as to allow movement of each of the arms.
Judging feedback: The judge would like the design to have been suspended less visibly using fishing line and swivels rather than the jute string. Marks were also deducted as one of the skeleton leaf placements stopped another section from free movement when they touched.
Class title: Mobile
Staging: space allowed 180cm length, 40cm width
We have a couple of tortured willow trees growing at the farm and I love to work with the stripped branches. Here I have used some circles made simply by wrapping the green branch around itself in a circle. As they dry they turn a light brown colour and keep their shape so are ideal for many different designs.
The only other floral material I have used is banksia – full flowers and cut slices. This is a useful floral material as it does not need to be in water for competition, so I didn’t have to incorporate water sources in this design.
To keep the design as mobile (moving) as possible I have suspended the circles from one horizontally placed underneath the largest top circle.
Judging feedback: There are some sections that touched one another, stopping the free movement of all the parts. It is an innovative use of one type of plant material in many ways.