For my "I found it this way" Floral Art demonstration at The Capilano Flower Arranging club, I began all four of my designs with basic armatures made of Twig Tangles and we discussed the importance of a stable structure as a foundation to a structural design.
The twig tangles create a basic armature for the designs to be suspended from. Each design is crafted that it almost looks like a foraged or ‘found” natural object
Petroleum jelly is both waterproof and not water soluble it creates a waterproof barrier to keep the water from leaking out of the vials when you hang it upside down. In fact, this trick work so well that you can use drinking straws or plastic tubes and seal it around the stem with the petroleum jelly
This design can easily scale up or down by using larger or smaller pieces of wood to create a larger wall panel or make a few of these panels to stack as tiles to create a more easily manageable composite
Hana-Kubari is an Ikebana flower mechanic. Only natural materials such as pebbles, sticks and branches can be seen to support the flowers. Traditionally no twine or wire, nails, or screws or any other man made materials are used
Our goal as designers is to create the best environment for our flowers to stay as beautiful and fresh for as long as possible.
When we condition flowers we always remove any leaves that will fall below the waterline of the design to prevent the leaves from deteriorating and rotting.
Decaying leaves encourages bacterial growth which plugs the vascular system of the flower stems preventing water uptake.
This trick works really well, but it is a temporary fix to extend the life of drooping roses and is not a substitute for good quality fresh flowers. It is great to know this trick so that you can inspect the roses you want to buy, for the tell tale sign that they have already been "perked up" and might look fresh but would really not last well.
If you want completely unblemished petals, purchase the Bird of Paradise flowers when the petals are still hidden in the spathe, and carefully coax it open. The flowers will not open by themselves once cut.
The goal is to cast the cement in such a way that the surface of the cement dries faster than the sub-surface cement. As the water from the wet cement at the bottom rises it pushes through the dried surface, causing beautiful cracks.
If drops of water gets sprayed onto cut flower heads (like here on these Pasque Flower seed heads) it can get trapped deep between the petals and create the ideal environment for Botrytis spores to germinate causing premature spoiling of the flowers
Rooting succulents in Rainbow Oasis pebbles creates not only a long lasting design but also an ever changing design as you remove rooted plants to grow in pots and add those leaves or long shoots that you want to propagate back into the design.
"Plaid" and "braid" are synonyms, and where you are from will most likely dictate whether you use plait (British) or braid (American or Celtic). Some people also refer to cornrows as braids or refer to pinned up plaits as braids. A French braid is a braiding technique.
Conditioning new growth and sprouts are difficult because the little sprouts have not had time to fully develop its cellular structure to survive being cut and taking up water on its own. The cells will collapse within hours from severing and the beautiful new growth will wilt looking limp in your design. But new growth looks so fantastic and it is always tempting to try to include it.
When I hang these delicate glass bubbles I want to make sure they are really secure. By slipping them into Macramé inspired knots they are not only hanging securely but the fishing line knots at the sides also protect them against bumps
Here are the two secrets to assembling a well balanced hanging sculpture: First: Let gravity do the work. Do not fight it. And Secondly: Start from the bottom of your design and work your way up. Each piece has a balance point. Find that and connect it to the piece above
I do not believe in arranging flowers without a water source of some kind. I want my flowers to remain as beautiful for as long as possible and I often get quite creative to ensure a water source for even finer stems and blossoms.
I wanted a delicate, yet rough "fabric" to back my edgy Zipper. Something that will stand up to the thorns and rose twigs but not over power them. It definitely had to predominantly plant material: I chose roots and bullion wire.
For this tutorial I focus on a simple weave pattern that does not require you to soften or prepare the leaves to be more durable or flexible. This is the starting point in weaving techniques. You can build on this technique to make floral handbags, gift boxes, and baskets, sew it into a curve or wrap it around a vase or cover a test tube.
I save all the thin tissue paper or un-printed newsprint papers that are wrapped around the flowers that are delivered to me to make batches of Papier Mache with. These sheets make fantastic Papier Mache because it is designed to be super absorbent and colour fast.
If you use Papier Mache, terracotta or clay or any precious container that might scratch, rust, or discolour or disintegrate when it's in prolonged contact with water it is best to line the container with plastic before you add wet foam.
Adding whole apples to a hand-tied or wired design is easier if each apple is wired to craft stems that can bend and twist into place. For an arrangement I would recommend using picks or sticks instead of wires
This wired rope is inspired by Monkey vine that you see hanging from trees. It is strong, rough and very tough. Covering the rope with mud will add texture and it also insulate the wire from rust by creating a protective layer
Dipping red grapes in pale wax creates a cloudy layer that is not only anti-bacterial (prevents fruit from spoiling and releasing the ethylene gas) but also gives depth and instantly attracts attention.
You can use any type of paper to make flowers. I use tissue paper, Crêpe paper, cardboard, newsprint and coffee filters (new and used) to make sweet peas, carnations, paper roses, blossoms, lilies, poppies and orchids.
This is my ongoing creative workbook to research and capture design projects and techniques. You will mostly find ideas for floral art but I will also include some other projects such as gift packaging, cards and even cake decorating with a few lifestyle projects arranged in between.
Everything you see in this workbook was designed, made and photographed by me, unless specific credit is given to another designer.
Biomimicry Demonstration and Workshop video
Where to Wear
Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms 2016
RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 Limelight Floral Art Design
Crafting Corsages in three ways with BoutStix Magnet Stix
Getting Creative with Boutstix Magnet Stix: Succulent and Air Plant Boutonniere