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WAFA Barbados 2017 – Archipelago

The World Flower Show in Barbados …… only my second time to a World Show, the first being Dublin in 2014.

Preparation for these shows in terms of competition starts about 18 months in advance with the schedule being released. There were 28 Classes from which to choose with competitors selecting 3 they were prepared to enter by a due date about 12 months prior to the Show. Two months after that we are advised of the class we are to enter giving us about 10 months to prepare. This is essential when you are going to take your own floral material as it requires certification for both export from your own country and import to the hosting country.

In the case of Barbados we were invited to stage a second design which I happily accepted as the opportunity only happens once every three years.

The two classes I entered in Barbados were Archipelago and High Spirits. In this post I will talk about Archipelago.

Staging for this design was supplied. A free standing black metal mesh frame

My first thoughts were to try and mirror the West Indies archipelago of which Barbados is a part. How to do this with plant material that also tells the story of the title?

Bleached seaweed of course!

You can follow the technique for bleaching seaweed by clicking here.

Using a scale drawing of the staging I worked out where to place the pieces of seaweed and other highlights of plant material moving on to a full scale mock up (on the floor at least) to consider placements and sizes of seaweed I needed.

My greatest concern was the lack of depth to the design. I tried many options but hadn’t settled on anything before the competition day arrived.

By essentially weaving the seaweed pieces in and out of the mesh I could place them in the shape of the archipelago I had planned. This sounds so easy (simple) but does actually take some time to get it right. The additional plant material was then glued to the seaweed. I have used Australian native flora – banksia cut into slices and crasspedia.

The World Shows are an opportunity to gauge your design skills against literally hundreds of other designers from 31 countries around the world.

I was speechless to find my design had received a commendation and this ribbon now holds pride of place in my collection.

The judges comments were exactly what I was concerned about – not enough depth to the design but an innovative and creative interpretation of the class title.

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