Arranging Fresh, Dried & Silk Flowers
Photo above from Celebration of Flowers by Ron MorganVertical designs are easily assembled in tall, narrow containers. The dominant thrust of the plant material is vertical with few lines leading in other directions. Cattails, delphinium, anthurium, gladiolus, iris or ting-ting are naturally tall and straight. Focal material is placed at the lip and slightly above within the container. Vertical designs create feelings that are uplifting and aspiring.
A crescent is a segment of a circle that resembles a new moon. Insert the focal flowers fairly low on the curve to achieve balance and depth. The asymmetrically balanced crescent is more appealing than the symmetrically balanced one and is also easier to assemble. It feels restful.
Horizontal arrangements are often used for centerpieces, long tables, windowsills… anywhere an extended arrangement is suitable. Use a shallow container and position the sprays of line flowers to establish the length of the design. Insert the focal flowers in the middle so they droop over the lip of the container on both sides and reach towards the line material. Fill in with filler flowers around the focal area.
Taller horizontal arrangements make interesting viewing when the flowers and foliage are stacked by height from back to front. Use a rectangular basket or vase. Insert the line flowers along the back of the container, the filler floral in the middle and the focal flowers at the bottom. Horizontal arrangements can be very playful and inviting.
Photo above from Celebration of Flowers by Ron Morgan
Triangular arrangements may be equally balanced on each side or asymmetrical with one point of the triangle extending further than the other. The stems radiate from a central area with paler and smaller flowers and leaves extending to the outer edges. Deep colored or brighter blooms used near the center or slightly below give a feeling of stability and provide a focal point of interest. Make the height higher than the width, and position the flowers so they droop on the periphery in an elegant and relaxed fashion. Fill in with small flowers and foliage keeping within the triangular shape.
The asymmetrical triangle is a very popular line or line-mass design. The design may be either right or left handed, meaning the tallest line will either be right or left of the axis. Some bare branches, a few flowers and some leaves will suffice to make a beautiful design.
Oval arrangements are designed to look good from all sides. They can be constructed with larger blooms centrally placed and smaller ones echoing around the edges. Tape your vase with floral tape to a lazy Susan. It will be easier to construct if you can turn it as you add plant material.
An oblique design depends upon dynamic balance. The main line is on an incline, slanting somewhere between the perpendicular and the horizontal. Stabilize the design by placing the visually heavier material near the axis. Short footed or flat containers provide a good base for the strong thrust of an oblique design.
The zigzag design is restless and quick as lightning. A small amount of plant material is used to emphasize the focal area, where the line originates, and may extend along the line trailing off as it leads the eye toward the sharp angles.
Minimal arrangements make use of space as a design element. Oriental art is rich and evolved in the use of space and precise placement of plant material.
The “S” Curve, or what William Hogarth called “the line of beauty” in his paintings, is a very popular style. The design may be constructed upright or horizontally. The graceful sweep of the “S” is usually elongated. Select line flowers or foliage that has graceful curves. Insert in place so they balance. Add the focal flowers following the lines of the upper and lower curves. Cluster filler flowers around the central flowers.
Free standing arrangements are similar to ovals, but ovals have a gently rounded arc at the top, and free standing arrangements come to a point like a Christmas tree. They include an abundance of flowers.