Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman
Old, new trends
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
I build up the spheres by weaving willow wreaths and then use those to shape the ball
When you need to keep a tiny stem hydrated this is just what you need.
Just like the weather is only hinting at spring, so is this design only hinting at being a basket
The design drips down in three tiers each celebrating life, love and connection.
Bright and sunny cymbidium orchids and roses, lilies, lisianthus and pincushions