My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Direct Contrasts

Floral Trends Design Group Assignment

I have always been fascinated, as a designer, by the idea that there is a point when extremes or direct contrasts flip into its opposite.

Direct Contrasts between the wire and the plant material

If you polish a dull surface long enough it gets a high sheen or in nature a willow twig, pliable and green in spring dries to a redish brown branch that snaps when you try to bend it in winter.

Direct Contrasts between dried twigs and green grass

Of course there are many options between dull and sheen and pliable and rigid and that is the study of contrasts.

Direct Contrasts between curves and straight lines

When designing with contrasts it is valuable to establish just where the story you want to portray in your design lies on this line of contrasts that connects the two extremes.

Direct colour Contrasts

For me, my design tells the story of late autumn. The berries are plump and red, being harvested in copper basket cages. The twigs have lost their foliage but there are still hints of the past summer in the over grown cascading grass and arum lilies. There is a chill in the air that hints at the cold blue winter to come.

Direct Contrasts between matt and shiny

I tried to explore as many direct contrasts as possible without causing my design to lose all harmony- which is also in direct contrast to. contrasts

Dried twigs and green grass      Open spiral and closed spiral      Green and red      Orange and blue      Plant material and wire      Straight and curve      Warm and cold      Sharp and blunt      Active and passive      Dynamic and static      Natural and stylized      Floating and tied      Shiny and matt      Full and sparse      High and low      Heavy and light      Smooth and rough      Big and small      Vertical and horizontal      Long and short      Pointing up and cascading down

Floral Art Design Direct Contrasts

Lastly, in direct contrast to what you would expect of flowers that naturally grow in South African wetlands: Arum lilies are one of the few flowers included as a specific example of an exception in the Fresh plant material must be in water or water-retaining material unless such material remains turgid throughout the event rule in WAFA floral art competitions. Arum lilies will remain turgid, meaning they will last out of water for the duration of an average show.

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13 October 2011 Spiral Wire Cages

The cage spirals to form a basket that wrap around the plump ripe berries (or you can slip in a flower) to hang as connections between the twigs.

13 October 2011 Prevent teeth marks on soft wire when you bend it with pliers

Even long nose pliers without grooves still damage soft aluminum wire. Pad the pliers with a plaster.

30 August 2011 Curving Calla Lilies

Follow the flower's natural curve but you can also curve only sections to create an elegant crescent or a curve at the tip of the stem

26 April 2011 Weave a willow twig blind

Weave twigs in parallel to create a twig blind with strong but natural horizontal lines.

Favourite Flowers


Calla Lily, Arum Lily

Related Designs

28 October 2015 On Pumpkin Coloured Days

Create a besom broom to sweep up those Autumn leaves

9 December 2015 On a Grand Scale

My article and a floral panel design featured in DIY Weddings Magazine

23 March 2016 Celebrate!

A closer look at my design at the 20th anniversary of Canada Blooms and The Toronto Flower Show

18 May 2016 Because I think I am making Progress

Create a floral ceiling

4 January 2017 New Year's Wreath

Decorate an artificial wreath with fresh flowers and frosted twigs

18 January 2017 Look at you!

Tie twigs to shape a hanging armature

30 August 2017 If

Place a water tube at an angle in lumber so that the Zantedeschia float just above the base to show off the delicate grass snippets scattered up the stem

29 November 2017 Marcescent

Glue a delicate autumn room devider

25 April 2018 Get in line!

Line up a few pussy willow twigs for a hanging armature

16 May 2018 It goes like this...

Gently curve plant material.

17 October 2018 But wait… there's more!

Tucked into the box with every advance copy of the book, the effortless floral craftsman is a packet of clips. This design and Tutorial is a bit of inspiration... what will you...

25 March 2020 How to lay a little bit low

A flat-lay to celebrate finally finding the perfect way to dry passion fruit flowers... and my book's first birthday but mostly the drying of passion fruit flowers thing.

29 September 2021 Creative Direction

Hang the arum lilies from the edge of a container to support all the other floral details.

21 September 2022 Balanced Attitude

Getting the balance just so... so that you lean into the first sights of Autumn.

27 September 2023 this NEEDS to be at the top of my (our?) to-do list

Autumn bud vase collar made from gladiolus foliage.

17 January 2024 Wave Wrap

Roll birch bark into a double spiral to cradle some perfect flowers to admire all winter.