Practising A Design

In this post I will not be showing you a step by step technique but rather sharing with you the process you should consider when preparing a large design away from the competition area.

The title for this class was “Wild About Flowers” so I wanted to use Australian native “wildflowers” in both the structure and the placements.

I start by thinking about the base – here I am using sections of a Banksia tree trunk that have been conveniently cut into useful sections by my Dad after it fell over in a storm at the farm.

He kept all the branches for me as well, so we spent a couple of hours sorting through them and stripping the leaves so that I had some interesting “uprights” to add to the base and provide a framework for the rest of the design.

These branches are extremely heavy so I first tried to wedge them with 5 supports and gradually took away branches and supports until I was happy that it did not look too overpowering, remembering that I was to add flowers and other plant material when I got to the venue.

At this point I need to ensure that the structure will be self supporting as well as being able to transport it to the venue some 2 hours drive away.

The “wedging” technique did not prove stable enough so out came the drill and the upright branches were secure. At this point I also placed and made holes for some additional vertical material – Xanthorrhoea flower spikes.

As each branch was in a specific location (2 screws for each, remember, just like tying off vials with wire) I then needed to mark both the hole in the stump as well as the branch. I used different coloured wool pushed in to the drill holes so it was easy to match these up when at the venue.

The value of practising the construction of a design before the competition day is not to be overstated. Without this practise and preparation I would have spent too much time getting the structure right before I added the remaining plant material.

My advice is to know exactly what you are going to use as a structure and have this ready to use for staging so you can focus your time on getting the placement of your plant material right.

Here is the finished design which was placed first and won the Championship on competition day.

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