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Australian Honorary Exhibit – WAFA World Flower Show Barbados 2017

Every three years the World Association of Flower Arrangers (WAFA) has a World Flower Show hosted by one of the member countries of which there are 31. In 2017 it was Barbados, with member countries invited to stage an Honorary Exhibit to showcase their own membership and floral design in their country.

Here in Australia, the peak body is the Australian Floral Art Association (AFAA). AFAA asks for a volunteer to stage the design and it contributes to the cost of the materials for staging. In 2017 I nominated to stage this design with help from another member who was also attending and competing.

The staging area is 1 metre square by 2 metres in height – the organisers advised us the colour of the staging about 4 month before the Show.

Rather than have something too obviously Australian (kangaroos etc), I wanted to showcase our very unique flora as well as the variety of landscapes we have. The plant material needed to be treated and then survive up to 30 hours of transportation, so I opted for some dried and some that would withstand the transport time and be able to recover with hydration once I arrived in Barbados.

Although there is a lot of work (and worry) in organising to take plant material, in the end it was a saving as there was a tropical storm after we arrived so much of the pre-ordered plant material for others was not delivered when these designs were to be staged.

Using an iconic Australian poem (I Love A Sunburnt Country by Dorothea Mackellar) as the backdrop for the design, I interpreted the three major climate (and colour) areas as desert, mountains and sea.

Three columns of varying heights with either traditional or contemporary placements showcased the range of floral design activity in our country as well as the plant material available to us. Banksia, leucodendrum, craspedia, seaweed (bleached), silver dollar gum foliage and tetragona nuts are the main components.

I actually find it difficult to work with someone else – hard to fnd the way to communicvate my vision when we are knee deep in preparation and staging. My great friend (and fellow competition tragic) was perfect, just geting on with tasks and fixing things when they didn’t go to plan or improvising when needed. There are many stories to tell about getting the plant material out of Australia, in to Barbados as well as the preparation of the mechanics leading up to staging. Suffice to say we got it done with enough energy left fo staging our competition designs the next day.

I’ve included lots of images for this one so you can see a bit more of the actual staging activity.

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