How do you begin ? - What flowers are placed where ? What are period arrangements ? - What does the setting do to the arrangement?
Putting Design Principals to Practice –
Let us start with a simple exercise. Our guide to proportion is an imaginary vertical line as tall as our tallest stem, leading down to the axis or center of the container. This line should be one and one half times the height of a tall container, and one and one half times the diameter of a low container.
Figure 11 is an excellent example of this type of proportion. You will note that in this arrangement the imaginary vertical line is emphasized by a graceful gladiolus stalk. Always work from the front of the design to give yourself a proper view of the arrangement.
Before starting your first flower arrangement, make a mental note of these basic necessities.
- Assemble all needed tools. A home made tool kit would be a handy thing to have.
- Clean working space. No clutter.
- Choose frogs and container.
- Wash foliage. Trim flowers. If the stem breaks; leaving a perfect blossom, don't throw the flower away. You may be able to use it in the focal point of the arrangement. The foliage of the flowers can
be used as the green foundation of the arrangement in many cases.
- Flowers and foliage are to be kept constantly in water.
- If possible, create your arrangement in its final setting. This will enable you to view the entire unit.
- All flowers should seem to grow from the focal point.
Now back to Figure 11. In step A we are starting the L, one of the basic lines in flower arrangement. This line may be used in equal or unequal parts stemming from a ninety degree angle. In most instances, this L is formed by spikes of delphinium, stock, hollyhocks, larkspur and other plants of this type. Form flowers (roses, zinnias, carnations) create this line if they are graduated in size from the fullest at the bottom to the smallest buds at the top. It is best to keep in mind that these lines should sweep gracefully to the center or focal point.
A. B. C
Figure 11. Gladiolus
In step B a new line has been added to create interest in the arrangement. A partial focal point has now been created by the larger blossom of the newly added stalk joining those already in place.
Step C shows that two additional gladiolus have been added to complete the design. The foliage offers foliage and texture which serves as a backdrop for the gladiolus blossoms.
Try this arrangement, using marigolds, zinnias or any similar form flowers, with gladiolus as your basic design.
Line Composition Figure 12 –
A - This line is restful. Perhaps this is due to its similarity to the curve of the horizon. Here is a good way to use plant material which has been so shaped by the wind or other elements. The vase used is an antique reproduction.
Zig - zag line
B - The series of sharp angles formed by the flowering plum tree offer accent to the natural setting. The shorter branches offer balance and texture. The focal point may be created by a cluster of wide leaves or a single large blossom. Here is an example of a naturalized piece of wood serving as a base and container. A small hidden container and frog hold the plant material.
C - The eye travels in this design from the outer tips to the focal point. We find that this is one of the principle movements used in modern flower arrangement. Here we see how the use of the curved vase with the crescent arrangement adds unity and sweep to the design.
Design from three Different Angles Figure 13
The triangle design suggests firmness and permanence. It is one of the simpler forms of flower arrangement
Figure 12. Line Composition
Figure 13. Design from Three Different Angles
A - Recognize the L line? Notice that the leaves fill the space, forming an almost perfect angle.
B - This drawing of a symmetrical design shows the effectiveness of tiny buds toward the outer edges. They draw the eye in and downward to the fuller roses in the focal point.
C - Extremely symmetrical, this little arrangement shows the staunch qualities in a design of three equal sides. You will notice that however firm the appearance, the flowers are not crowded together. This design is ideal to be used in pairs to flank a favorite mantle clock or antique piece.
The Round Design Figure 14
One of the elementary steps, easy to develop in flower arrangement is the round design. This method is used primarily in making full, showy arrangements. Each flower is seen and will give the feeling of circular motion.
Another good thing to make a mental note of in round designs, is, though the eye travels in a circular motion, it is arrested here and there by bits of accent to avoid monotony.
A - Here the extreme circle is broken by some small protruding blossoms, and accented by the dark points of foliage.
B - The oval arrangement has an old fashioned quality reminiscent of the oval frame on the tintypes of the nineteenth century. Note that the daisies which jut out break the tendency toward an egg shaped design.
C - Of all round designs, the spiral is the closest to natural growth. Many groups of material may be used in this type of arrangement; which may sweep toward any direction provided that you keep in mind proportion and unity.
Oriental Poppies Figure 15
The Japanese quality of closeness of the movement of the design to the natural growth of the poppies, creates a fresh and airy feeling. In this type of arrangement, one should use a large, firm container to anchor the design.
One Dozen Roses Figure 16
Here is an example of what can be done with just one dozen roses. Chicken wire serves as the holder. The roses are placed one by one in position; remembering, larger blossoms in the center, small one to the top and outer edges.
A Formal Arrangement Figure 17
Antique vases are ideal for period arrangements. Here is a formal arrangement in a French vase.
Figure 14. Round Design
Figure 15. Oriental Poppies
MANUAL FOR FLORAL DECORATIONS IN THE HOME
A - Antique vase
B - Lilac and stock forming the outer edges of the design, are placed in chicken-wire holder in the mouth of the vase.
C - Completed arrangement showing roses in the focal point with a background of beautifully textured caladium leaves. The English ivy adds a graceful note and softens the formality of the entire arrangement.
What is a Period Arrangement?
Before we go briefly into this subject let us record a few helpful thoughts. If floral arrangement is your hobby, you will probably want to try every type of arrangement there is and even invent a few of your own. This is all very well, but we must remember to keep our experiments in the workshop if they are not suitable to the surroundings. A Victorian arrangement would cause much confusion to the eye if placed in a clean cut, streamlined modern setting. You would experience equal enjoyment looking at a traditional Japanese arrangement in an American interior. This does not necessarily mean that we can not have period arrangements in our modern homes or vice-versa. It is merely a precaution against extreme clashes of style. One may modify any type of period arrangement to suit it's intended setting.
American flower arrangement is influenced by two distinct styles. They are Eastern and Western or Oriental and Occidental. It combines the color and mass of Western influence and the line and restraint of Eastern influence, namely Japanese.
The following is a bit of information on each period.
Simple, symmetrical line which can be very successfully adapted to modern interiors.
Ethereal, religious, requires much theological study to attain authentic results.
Figure 17. A Formal Arrangement
Warmth of color with cool accents of greens, blues and lavenders; combined with fruit placed in bronze or marble vases. Heavy Venetian glass is also significant of this period. A Renaissance arrangement should give the impression of abundance in fruits, flowers and fabrics.
This period introduced luxurious velvets, brocades, and fruits embellished with jewels in beautiful gardens and draped interiors.
Realistic. Variety of containers, mostly metal or bronze which are often almost concealed by the mass arrangements of many types of flowers, birds nests with eggs, etc. Rich in color and unusual plant material.
Delicate, formal, subtle color with an atmosphere of gentle elegance.
Less sophisticated and formal than French Period. However, very delicate in pastel colors and glass containers.
Formal containers of silver, porcelain and crystal are used with candelabra of the same materials. Combination of dignity with the classic symmetry.
Rich, dark blues, greens and wines. Elaborately decorated containers of porcelain, alabaster and bronze.
Bold in color, line and form. Clean cut lines. No detail. Containers may be made of ceramic pottery, earthern ware, modern crystal glass, steel (stainless), plastics, wood or any other adaptable material.
Your local library offers a great deal of research in all phases of the above mentioned periods, which you will find very interesting, since flower arrangement very definitely, like any other art, reflects the conditions of the period.
Tied Bouquet Figure 18
A - Select a tall spike flower, which in this illustration is a delphinium.
This will determine the height of your bouquet. B - Cross two spike flowers with lacey fern and/or baby's breath for airy effect.
C - Form a triangle by adding one more spike and fern. D - Add another spike, tying the meeting point with florist's thread.
Figure 18. Tied Bouquet
E - You have now completed the framework of your arrangement with five spike flowers and fern. Be careful not to pull the thread too tightly or you may bruise or break the stems.
F - Place your form flowers (roses in this illustration) for color and accent.
G - Add the lacey flowers for texture, (here Queen Anne's lace) and more fern where necessary for balance. H - Cut stems with sharp flower shears,
I - Here is a completed tied bouquet in a vase; an ideal gift for any occasion. Your garden offers an abundance of material for this type of arrangement.
Should you wish to try a full round bouquet, repeat the design, being careful to place the blossoms between those in the previously tied bouquet.
Spring . . . Cherry Blossom