My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

A sprinkling of magic fairy dust

My article and design featured in the Inspired Florist, Christmas Edition

It is inconceivable to celebrate life’s occasions without at least a few natural elements. As floral designers, we are responsible for taking those natural elements and transforming them into something extraordinary. A few skillfully woven twigs become a rustic Christmas wreath. A few skillfully arranged sprigs of mistletoe become a kissing ball. We add the magic fairy dust to all occasions.

A sprinkling of magic fairy dust floral art design

That fairy dust, that allusive something we add, is what sets us apart and makes us professionals. It is found in the skills we learn and develop. It is what we call floral craftsmanship. It’s the effort you put into your work. That extra something. That attention to details.

A guiding principle in floral craftsmanship, as in fairy magic, is: If you can see how it was done, you are probably doing it wrong. Achieve the look you want without exposing the techniques used. Wires, glue and staples should be hidden to the onlooker.

Here are a few hints to help you add that touch of magic:

Grass bauble

Your own brand of magic:

You have unique talents and abilities. That is how you add your own brand of magic to your work. Your creativity, your original way of interpreting a brief and your preference in design materials will make the design sparkle more than anything else. You can only refine and grow your style if you know what it is. Look at your past designs and look for a trend. That is what your customers are looking for.

Jingle bells in a grass lantern

Magic happens if you have all the right ingredients:

Easier is not always better. Yes, a staple gun can solve your design problem in seconds, but the ugly staples are definitely going to spoil the end result. Experiment with a few options, even combinations of options before settling on a single solution. Try different kinds of glue, wires and tape. Who knows? You might just come up with a whole new design solution that will become your trade secret.

Lisianthus and grass Christmas design

Sprinkle of magic dust:

You are a busy designer. Know what you can accomplish within existing limitations. Sure, you would like to create a flower wall, but you may only have time and resources for a floral column. Accept those limitations and then make them count in your favour.

All natural Christmas design

The ordinary rarely cause recipients to gasp with delight:

Creating a signature style that is both creative and unusual is the ideal. Constantly studying, reevaluating, expanding and updating your basic design skills are the ways to reach, and maintain this ideal. Know your principles and elements of design, and know how far you can push the design boundaries to fulfill your brief in your own unique way.

Wire spirals and silver bells add sparkle to the natural Christmas design

Spend extra time getting your mechanics right:

Stable and strong foundations will make your job much easier. Fit the mechanics to the design specification. Use only solutions that will guarantee your design to be in perfect condition for the duration of the event. Always incorporate a water source. It is disappointing to string up the most beautiful blossoms in a garland only to see them hanging limp hours before your event starts.

Bauble or lantern design

Be ruthless and use only the best:

Apply this thinking to your tools, techniques, and the plant material you choose. Don't compromise on the quality of flowers, foliage and accessories. Your work should always be technically perfect, and that means perfectly conditioned and blemish free plant material at their peak. Also take care that your design itself is impeccable, no spilled glue, peeping wires, frayed ribbons or blemished containers.

Floral baubles hanging to jingle with the slightest breeze

A little bit of magic goes a long way:

Enough is enough. One great idea, perfectly executed is enough. A touch of sparkle, ribbon or accessory is enough. Take the advice of Coco Chanel about dressing with accessories: “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” The same goes with a floral design. Let the flowers speak, never the accessories.

Add a hidden water source to keep the flowers fresh for days

Keep the magic going:

Spend a final moment to consider how you will present your design. A beautiful box for a delivery or a lovely card adds so much to the lasting impression you leave.

Really magical work, work that is memorable, stirs emotions, and leaves you breathless, always has that allusive something. That something that makes the onlooker wonder just how exactly you managed to do that.

Inspired Florist Image

Thank you Inspired Florist for inviting me to contribute.

Every week I add a new design with related tutorials. Be sure to subscribe to receive an email notification with design inspiration.


6 August 2014 Palm Bauble Lanterns

All natural decoration with a secret water source to keep the fresh flowers hydrated

30 August 2011 Removing Oasis Floral Adhesive glue spills

The finish of every design should be flawless. Make sure there are no bits of glue visible in your design by carefully removing all traces of spills.

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