Christine de Beer - effortless floral craftsman
Upside down and on it’s side glass display that plays with natural balance
I adore designs that look easy enough to do if you don’t know enough about how it’s done. This is definitely one of those. It looks deceptively simple. It’s not. You need a gentle hand and definitely need to work with what is really, really there.
This design relies on characteristics you will find in the basic containers you probably already have in your design pantry. With the standard fishbowl vase being the star. And after that it is just finding the natural balance point of each design element and working with that.
Place an oblong glass container upside down. Notice the edge around the bottom? It's going to help with the next step...
Design tip: Book readers turn to page 19 where I show you what I keep in my tool bag to protect surfaces from damage. It's a lifesaver when things spill... and a time-saver even when things go perfectly!
Balance a fishbowl vase on its side on top of the container...
See the design Tutorial below for more details on how to balance the design.
Release the vase so that it settles in a naturally balanced position.
Tap it with your finger to test the stability. It's important that the vase, even though it is on it's side should settle in place. If you try to control the position it will not be stable. This is the moment to just let it be as it wants.
Next we place the flower. Because the orchid spike is top heavy and you will need to have something in the bottom for it to kick against and something in the top for it to hang on to. For my design I chose to make my "something" invisible... well... almost.
Start pouring water into the vase. The weight of the water makes the vase even more stable. Pour in just enough water to fill the bottom but not spill out.
Do you see the ring around the bottom of the vase? It is a slight dent. This will help keep the flower spike in place...
Place the spike deep into the vase so that the stem end is exactly in that little dented ring.
Be careful so that the vase don't topple and spill the water.
It is very slight so make sure you position it perfectly... your design relies on this for balance.
Are you subscribed to my weekly notification newsletter yet? This week I give you a bonus tip on how to be inspired by remaining curious... I also have a bonus tip for you for an easier alternative to balance the flower stem. The sign-up is below the post.
Have a look at the orchid stem... see there behind the throat is a curve in the stem?
Hook the stem over the top lip of the vase.
Design note: If you feel concerned that the flower is going to slip off (the firmer the flower the better the hold) apply the tiniest bit of glue to the flower so that is carries the weight of the spike.
Slowly release the vase so that it again settles in a natural position.
For my design the vase needed to twist just a bit so that the flower is not at the top but slightly to the side. Each spike will be different. Balance the container and slowly adjust… release… and just… release... until you find where it naturally balances on its own.
Making sure the bottom end of the stem is kicking against the small round dent at the bottom...
Design note: Go slow and make sure each step is stable before moving on. This design was so well balanced that I could turn it around on my design table to take the pictures without it toppling over or spilling all the water!
Give new life to an old vase by turning and balancing it on it's side. It's actually easier than it looks... and it looks super impressive!
If you know my work you have probably seen me do this: I float flowers using a tiny bubble wrap skirt... this time I am floating an entire design on it's own bubble wrap raft.
Suspend a flower for an unusual but minimalist design over a leaning container lid.
Cut the Phalaenopsis orchid with a bit of green stem attached. This will make them last longer.
Add a leaf to a large-ish vase to create a small puddle of water for your short flower stem to rest in.
Slip a leaf into the gap between two glass containers to keep it upright... and add a plastic lining to support the flowers nestled into it.
Cut a small wedge out of a stack of waxy leaves to keep the flower and twig in place.
Create a barely there armature with sturdy end of season vines.
Deceptively simple. A design that relies on you working with not against what is already there.
Add design elements that serves a purpose for a minimal summer inspired floral design.
Ooooh! Am I excited to show you this design. It is an ordinary fishbowl vase... balanced on it's side.
This is one of my best known and still my go-to core techniques for floating flowers.
Urgh… my glass cake stand broke leaving me with a still beautiful, but now mismatched and extremely inspirational lid...
Gently curve a shallow area with a leaf to showcase a gorgeous flower with a short stem in a water filled vase
Stack two vases to create a small gap at the side to keep a leaf upright
Create a minimal design with a few leaves to keep is all upright.
Dutch floral designer Pim van den Akker, from Flower Factor invited me to participate in a FloraHolland initiative promoting the versatility of Freesias entitled ...
The design for the cover of my book, the effortless floral craftsman, crafted from Fiddlehead Fern and Red Lipstick Hanging Heliconia.