My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

Old, new trends

My article and willow birdcage design for wedding rings featured in
DIY Weddings Magazine

An old, new trend for this coming design season is “Modern Vintage” or “New Nostalgia”. The sentiment in both cases is exactly the same: old trends are coming back in style. It is fairly easy to research just how to add that something old in your floral details but how do you breathe life into these old classics?

old new trends floral art design

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 innovate, reinvent and recreate in a world where it feels like everyone has seen this and done that, can be a challenge. Especially at weddings when couples say they want the latest in design trends and are searching for something fresh and unique, but at the same time they are still longing for a celebration rich in tradition. Tradition serves as a source of hope and comfort, and is a connection with the people we share our lives with. I have always been inspired by tradition even though I consider myself a thoroughly contemporary floral designer. Not just 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.

Let’s look at each of the elements and how we can add a touch of something new to our floral designs:

Willow and Oncidium orchids

Line: Line can give your design structure, rhythm and a sense of movement. It’s a curving line of swag, the twirling of vines, or a long dangling ribbon. It can be found in nature or it can be the way you design. Exaggerate lines, or shrink them. Add line to a somewhat structured design with a twirling wayward twig or, curve and weave a few vines around the design to add a natural “just found it growing like that” element that is so trendy right now.

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 the traditional twist with a few brightly coloured centerpieces on every table. Add patterns with a family heirloom ribbon in a contemporary bouquet. Lace and floral patterns are trendy right now.

Wedding ring birdcage design

Form: Form is the shape of a design or the design elements used in an arrangement. In my birdcage design I used the traditional form of round wreaths to give the cage structure. It also leads your eyes into the cage to notice the rings. You can create something unusual by reversing the expected shapes used in your design. Add a few flowers to the cage for a hint of luxury.

Space: Respect the area in, around and between the design elements. Creative use of space can enhance or obscure forms. Look at the vase or interior of the room you are decorating, and incorporate space. Space is always a luxury, avoid overcrowding the design. I used the space between the cage panels to hint at “connection,” by twirling some twigs and vines around the design.

Oncidium orchid

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. Smoothness of the shiny rings inside the cage and the roughness of the woven twig wreaths. The softness of a satin ribbon and the flakiness of the dusting of fake snow. Challenge tradition in your design elements by adding unexpected textured details in a contemporary way, like the riggidy birdcage and the crystal beads.

Colour: Colour is the visual response of the eye to reflected rays of light. The traditional colours of weddings used to be quite limited to white… and one other colour. Contemporary colour combinations are as limitless as your imagination. Be inspired by tradition and then expand on a favourite colour. You can either combine it with another colour, or add a tint or a tone to the colour you chose to design in, to greatly alter the intensity and perceived value of a colour. No other colour is perhaps more traditionally “wedding” than peach. You can update it and add your own style by combining this popular colour with a contemporary dusty blue, grey or burgundy.

Willow and orchid flower arrangement

Size: The physical dimensions of line, form or space. A tabletop crystal tree for an entrance hall or a tiny twig corsage. Again, be inspired with tradition and super-impose a design element and shrink another. Design an enormous version of your father’s corsage for the church door or place tiny versions of your mother-in-law’s bouquet on your cake. With puffy sleeves making a comeback on wedding dresses, size is going to play a big role in design decisions.

Fragrance: Pleasant or nostalgic aroma perceived by the sense of smell. Floral fragrances have always been popular for weddings. Few things are as powerful as the sense of smell. Add the fragrance of a family tradition to your wedding. You can add it in the form of flowers or elements, or even make up tiny fragranced sachets or envelopes, to give away as favours.

When you explore those family wedding traditions in photos, carefully look at the flowers, plant material and accessories you are considering designing with. Try to see them in terms of their nostalgic value and as elements of design. Follow the curve of a stem, the star shape of a blossom, the colour of the ribbon, and the texture of twigs. Now see how you can enhance those elements with other design elements to take the concept even further.

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


14 March 2018 Willow birdcage

Weave a willow birdcage to use as a wedding ring box

28 December 2016 Adding snow to twigs

Glue artificial snow to twigs

1 November 2011 Weaving a twig wreath

For my design I wanted the wreath to look wind blown so I added a few loosely woven twigs into the weave. I also wanted to emphasize the autumn colours so I added a twirling...

19 February 2013 Manipulating stems: Snapping at an angle, Bending, Spiraling, Curling and Straightening

Most stems, twigs and even sturdier branches can be bend into shapes. It takes practice and more than a bit of patience. The main idea is to slowly manipulate the branch without...

24 May 2017 Designing an odd one out wreath

Adding floral material to a wreath design

24 May 2017 Chain link wreath weaving

Weave a few small wreaths to connect

11 February 2015 Willow Heart Wand

28 January 2015 Well Rooted Sprouting Willow Weave

Weave a sprouting armature

25 January 2012 Weaving Willow spheres

I build up the spheres by weaving willow wreaths and then use those to shape the ball

4 January 2011 Drinking straw "test tubes"

When you need to keep a tiny stem hydrated this is just what you need.

12 July 2017 Twig sparkler

Glue twigs to radiate out from a central point

29 July 2015 Disk Twig Armature

Glue a few wigs to follow the shape of a glass bowl to create a disk armature

Favourite Flowers


Dancing lady

Ceropegia woodii

Rosary vine, Chain of Hearts, Collar of hearts and String of hearts

Salix matsudana "Tortuosa"

Curly Willow, Chinese Willow, Tortured Willow, Globe Willow, Dragon's Claw, Hankow Willow

Related Designs

21 March 2018 Bring some Spring

Just like the weather is only hinting at spring, so is this design only hinting at being a basket

18 April 2018 Swing Vine

Weave a delicate vine swing to nestle a small vase with spring flowers in

26 January 2022 Carry On

As sturdy as it is delicate basket made from off-cut stems and grass.

24 January 2024 I mean… really!?!

Using fresh twigs to bind a little twig platform to suspend the beautiful orchids from.

6 March 2024 A Stay Open

Grow a willow birdcage... with a bit of a Spring flower support to get it started.

24 May 2017 Link

weave a few wreaths to link

11 February 2015 Love Spell

Weave willow to create a heart shaped wand design

28 January 2015 In a State of Flow

weave some willow to use as an armature

30 July 2014 See you around

Weave a few spheres to create a simple design

17 August 2016 Strangeness

Weave a wreath to display air plants on

25 January 2012 Three Drops of Floral Chocolate

The design drips down in three tiers each celebrating life, love and connection.

11 April 2011 Veiled Sunshine:50th Anniversary of the South African Orchid Society at the Cape Town Convention Centre.

Bright and sunny cymbidium orchids and roses, lilies, lisianthus and pincushions

12 July 2017 Sparkler

A radiating twig design

29 July 2015 Beautiful Things

Glue a few twigs into a disk armature

6 April 2016 Take it for a Spin

Make a clear grid to suspend plant material on