Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman
A Twist on Tradition
How do you breathe new life in an old classic?
August is the month for retail florists and wholesalers to start designing, ordering and preparing their product range for the Christmas and Festive Season. This is my article that I wrote for the August 2012 Christmas design Issue of Canadian Florist Magazine
Creative people have an internal driving force moving them to continuously create something new. We are constantly searching for sources of inspiration and coming up with ideas that are sources of inspiration for others.
Finding inspiration to continue to reinvent and recreate and innovate in a world where it feels like everyone has seen this and done that, can be a challenge.
Especially at Christmas time when people say they want the latest in design trends, searching for something fresh and unique but at the same time they are still longing to fill their homes with items that are rich in tradition because it serves as a source of hope and comfort and is a connection with the people we share our lives with.
For me, the greatest source of inspiration can always be found in tradition. Not just Christmas traditions and traditional techniques but also the tried and trusted traditional design elements.
The eight elements of design are the ingredients used to describe and judge a design. Line, pattern, form, space, texture, colour, size, and fragrance of a design can stretch the boundaries of creative work and open the ultimate source of inspiration, allowing you to explore new ways to interpret tradition.
Line: Line can give your design structure, rhythm and a sense of movement. It’s a curving swag or the leg of a candy cane or a long dangling ribbon. It can be found in nature or it can be the way you design.
Pattern: The repeated combination of line, form, colour, texture and space creates patterns. It is also the silhouette of a design against a backdrop or a tree decorated with round baubles, or the patterns on a sheet of gift-wrap.
Form: Is the shape of a design or the design elements used in an arrangement. Triangular trees, round baubles, circular wreaths, star shapes and square gift boxes.
Space: Respect the area in, around and between the design elements. Creative use of space can enhance or obscure forms. Look at the interior of the room you are decorating or the vase and incorporate space. Space is always a luxury, avoid overcrowding the design.
Texture: Surface quality of design elements perceived by sight or touch. Just adding texture to the design can create a connection between different design elements or emphasize the contrast. Fluffy tinsel, spikey mistletoe, the smoothness of a bauble, the softness of a satin ribbon and the roughness of a glittered ornament.
Colour: Is the visual response of the eye to reflected rays of light. The traditional colours of Christmas are gold, red and green. We also associate the candy cane white and red combination with Christmas. By just adding a tint or a tone to the colour you chose to design in, can greatly alter the intensity and perceived value of a colour.
Size: The physical dimensions of line form or space. A table top tree or a Christmas tree for the entrance hall.
Fragrance: Pleasant or nostalgic aroma perceived by the sense of smell. Cinnamon, orange pomanders and evergreens such as pine, are some of the fragrances of Christmas. Few things are as powerful as the sense of smell.
When you look at the flowers, plant material and accessories available to design with, try to see them in terms of the elements of design. Follow the curve of a stem, the star shape of a poinsettia, the colour of the baubles, and the texture of pine needles. Now see how you can enhance those elements with other design elements to take the concept even further.
In my design I considered the shape of pinecones and wondered what it would look like stretched, so my pinecone became a wreath. The design still looked natural and I chose to dress it with all natural elements to emphasize the concept.
Thank you Canadian Florist Magazine for inviting me to be part of your August Designing for Christmas issue. It is an inspirational resource for all Florists. Have a look at the on-line magazine.
Make a wire wreath frame with wire and cover it with growth mesium or moss to design on
It is easier to peel a pine cone from the flat side than to try and break the scales from the top
Break pine scales from the cone and glue on a wreath frame to create a continuous pine scale wreath
The colour and the effect will vary due to application, temperature and humidity.
Use all three methods to dry hydrangeas to get three very different textures to use in design work.
Long blades of thin grass or ripped flax are ideal for stringing decorative beads