My Creative Workbook

Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman

The effortless floral craftsman, a floral crafter's guide to crafting with nature Book Launch Demonstration

My book launch demonstration was hosted by my flower-buddies from the Capilano Flower Arranging Club. We looked at what influences our own effortless style... that "thing" that makes good floral art great.

Over the last 7 years I have shared so many unbelievable floral moments with my flower-buddies from the Capilano Flower Arranging Club. I joined the club exactly 4 days after we relocated to Vancouver... a month before I took part in the WAFA Boston world show. We laughed about the complicated explaining I needed to do at customs when I traveled all the way to London for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2015 Limelight Floral Art Design with my enormous oversize "hatbox-luggage" holding nothing but two large acrylic disks... and enough "sharp objects" in my checked luggage to be really "interesting." And we were all excited to see if my bubbling design for Toronto Flower Show at Canada Blooms 2016 will actually... well... bubble and not just be a leaky puddle!

Flower clubs are not just for the flower friendships and creative support... although you will find that by the bucket load! Flower clubs are a great way to learn and hone your floral design skills.

I learned so, so much from my design friends at the Floral Trends Design Group when I started my floral journey in Cape Town, South Africa.
And am beyond grateful for all the creative opportunities made possible by all the hardworking designers who keep the network of world flower clubs connected.

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell mentions that "the key to achieving world-class expertise in any skill, is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing the correct way, for a total of around 10,000 hours" and joining a flower club will most certainly point you in the right way.

Dedicated practice will make you real good at whatever you set out to achieve. To get from that "real good" to "great""- well, that is the unique, you specific, touches you add to your work.

let me explain: Have you ever seen someone play a musical instrument so well that it looked unbelievably easy? Or watched a top athlete perform at his peak and find yourself foolishly thinking, How hard can that be?
Have you had the opportunity to attend a demonstration of a really masterful designer who made creating truly brilliant designs look effortless? There's just something extra... something that makes them not merely good, but great. Something that makes their hard work appear... effortless.

Making hard work look effortless requires quite a bit of effort.

In my book, the effortless floral craftsman, a floral crafter's guide to crafting with nature I write about the 3 ingredients you need to make work look effortless:
Know how
Know who
... and a worthy what

The know how is your 10 000 hours. Your deliberate practice to master your skills and techniques. The know who is adding bits of yourself to your work. And the worthy what ... is investing your time and energy into something so worthy that you put in the extra effort to make it special Every Single Time.

The how and what can be learned. The who? You'll have hints of that even as you attempt your very first design. It's your effortless style.
Effortless style is not a skill or a technique. It is the way you use your skills and techniques.

Effortless style is not so much easy as it is unforced, natural and graceful.

It is up to you to discover your style, to develop it and then to exaggerate it to create your art.

In my demonstration I explored 4 aspects that greatly influence my effortless style. Won't you join in? Make this personal- see if you can explore the aspects that influences your effortless style. Are they similar to mine?
I will add detailed Design pictures and Tutorials for each aspect in the next few weeks, so that we look at one design at a time.

Here is a link to the first Design with Tutorials: Rules!

I am a firm believer in rules. Rules set the standard of conduct and you know what to expect and what is expected of you.

I have always been playing with flowers. As a little girl I used to build fairy tales from twigs and petals. But I am a formally trained florist. And I have dedicated much of my creative journey to the art of competition design where misunderstanding or disregarding the rules in your competition schedule means all your hard work and preparations are wasted. Somewhere along my creative journey these rules stuck. In my demonstration I explained how I go through great lengths to, for instance, add a water source to keep my flowers hydrated even if it is just a quick design for somewhere at home or a flower on a gift box. The rules have become part of my effortless style.

Here is a link to the second Design with Tutorials: Crafting

My professional career started in fine art. I was Artist in Residence for Winsor and Newton, responsible for organizing product promotions and art material demonstrations. I had 3 solo art exhibitions during this time and curated a Fine Art Magazine. I was asked to design a cover for a craft paper pad- which lead me into working in the fun world of crafting.

Career 2 was designing craft courses, in the form of all-you-need kits. Training students through correspondence with the aim at job creation in rural South Africa. I was training students to follow their passion... and that kind of thing rubs off.

I decided to return to college to study Floral Design- my passion.

It is often at these places where your interests overlap that innovation happens. Crafting is part of my creative journey and became part of my floral art style.

Here is a link to next Design with Tutorials: Personal preference

I prefer more naturally crafted designs using nature as an inspiration. With that being said: my best known design tutorial? Using Bubble-wrap to make flowers float! A few years ago I wanted to create a design for just after Christmas. Something minimal.

I called the design Going Cold Twinkle Turkey ... and it just took off! It is probably the furthest away from "natural" you can imagine. But it does appeal to my love for minimal designs. I like each flower to shine in it's own right rather than collected to create a massive display. But that's just my personal preference.

Here is a link to the last Design with Tutorials: Availability of plant material

You can clearly see examples of this just by looking at the design elements I use.

I would often use a spectacular flower find and combine it with staples I already have in my design room such as gorgeous dried tendril filled vine wreaths (easy to find in Vancouver, where a fresh vine wreath is an almost never find) and then add a few stems of my much treasured rosary vine (we rarely find cut flower vines for sale in Vancouver). The rosary plant Ceropegia woodii I design with has been my friend for more than7 years! Every design you see me using rosary vine is from the exact same plant. I usually root a few vines in preparation for demonstrations so that I can hand out the succulents to members in the audience who wants to grow their own.

How about you? I would love to hear what influences your effortless style. You can read more about finding, developing and protecting your effortless style in my book: the effortless floral craftsman, a floral crafter's guide to crafting with nature

This was one of the many happy... happier... happiest book launch demonstration moments: I have been mailing out copies of my book over the last few weeks... but I have not really had the opportunity to step back and watch my flower-buddies page through it. To work so hard on something... for so long and then get such a genuinely positive response from people who are reading it... I can't even begin to explain how happy (and grateful!) this makes me.

*** this is why I do what I do. this is why I created my book. this is why I have added a design to this website every single week, not one week missed for more than 7 years. this is also my one goal at every workshop or demonstration: to hear someone with a huge smile and shiny eyes say: I am going to go and make something beautiful. I am just so inspired. that is why I do what I do***

Huge thank you to everyone at the Capilano Flower Arranging Club for hosting the book launch demonstration. And Chrysal for the customized flower food sachets- our design demonstration favours.

When you visit the Amazon.com website you can now read the first 38 or so pages…FREE!
The ebook is exclusively available from Amazon. The content is exactly the same as the printed book. Only less expensive and you do not have to wait for it to be delivered or pay any shipping fees. For your convenience you can download a free reader for any device and start reading today!

The Craftsmanship edition of the book is available from my online shop where I can sign each of these gorgeous books, gift wrap it and then tuck a new gift into the box- from my design room to yours as a special thank you.

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

Tutorials

21 November 2018 Crescent willow moon

Craft a crescent shaped willow armature

4 January 2011 Drinking straw "test tubes"

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

3 January 2011 Syringe with tube

Easy way to fill test tubes and easiest way to remove water from a vase

30 May 2012 Drying Hydrangeas: Fast, Flat or Natural

Use all three methods to dry hydrangeas to get three very different textures to use in design work.

12 September 2018 Off-center hole-wreath armature

Craft a slightly off center wreath from dried vines and grasses for Phalaenopsis orchids.

26 August 2015 Sun baked Sweetpea vine wreath

A perfect way to use a Lathyrus vine after all it flowered

1 July 2015 Washi paper (Rakusui) split tube

Rip up the Washi paper for a lace fine armature for floral art

16 December 2015 Ivy vine Christmas tree mobile

Twist ivy vines around a cardboard shape to create a lace fine Christmas tree mobile.

28 November 2018 Crafting a stripped bark and sisal armature

Make a free standing armature with three water tubes for fresh flowers.

8 June 2016 Stripping bark from willow sticks

Strip the green bark from the stems to expose the smooth wood

5 January 2011 Palm leaf Hopper-flies (grasshoppers and butterflies)

Weave grasshoppers or butterflies (or fireflies) from palm leaves

7 September 2012 The Three legged trick for Upright Constructions

When in doubt, always give your armature three legs. Two legs are simply not enough and four legs will wobble if it is even slightly off balance.

27 November 2012 Winter Woodland Chandelier

Wrap vines and twigs around a wire frame to create a decorative woodland chandelier

Favourite Flowers

Salix matsudana "Tortuosa"

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

Hydrangea

Hydrangea, when cultivated as a cut flower rather as a plant it is often revered to as Hortensia

Related Designs

21 November 2018 Rules!

The first design I did for my book launch demonstration looking at aspects that influences my effortless style of designing.

12 December 2018 Availability of plant material shows in your design style

The last design I did for my book launch demonstration looking at aspects that influences my effortless style of designing... this week: often when we see a design element...

19 September 2018 Before I show you my book- let me show you my book

… and why we call this the special craftsmanship edition

12 September 2018 Hole-ding it’s breath

Craft an almost Autumn armature from dried sweet pea vines

26 August 2015 Bent

Weave a wreath from sweetpea stems and tendrils

1 July 2015 At a Stretch

Glue a paper tube floral art structure

16 December 2015 Christmas Waves

Twist a Kalanchoe and Ivy vine Christmas tree mobile

28 November 2018 Crafting

The second design I did for my book launch demonstration looking at aspects that influences my effortless style of designing.