Have fun with flower fashion trends
Face it. Everyone needs an artistic outlet. Today, many are finding that "messing around with flowers" is a fun and readily accessible art form. The necessary art supplies can be as simple as seasonal cut flowers, some sort of vase or container, a sharp knife and water from the tap. The necessary skills boil down to one - the simple ability to choose what you like and what you don't.
When you're done messing around, chances are you'll have something worthy of being called "a flower arrangement."
The secret to success is attitude: have fun. Don't worry about the results. No matter what you do, the flowers will be beautiful. Besides, it's only temporary art! While playing, you may be surprised to find how relaxing it is to tinker with flowers. It's all about balance, color, form, texture and whatever.
Following the Fashion Trends
Creating a floral masterpiece is easy, so long as you define the term loosely and keep things personal. The beauty is that each arrangement lasts only a week or two. You have plenty of opportunities to start again and try something new.
What's more, given today's floral fashion trends, it may be easier than you think to come up with a crowd pleaser. The hottest floral trends from Europe offer enticing ideas for would-be floral fashioners.
What's Hot Now
"Two major floral trends dominate right now - and they're direct opposites. You could call them Sublime Simplicity and Extreme Combinations," says Mieke Stap, a floral design expert and trend guru for the International Flower Bulb Center in Holland. Stap oversees international floral design photo shoots in 15 countries around the world each year.
The two trends, says Stap, lend themselves to an amateur's unbridled creativity and experimentation.
"Sublime Simplicity is soothing, featuring single-color combinations. This look emerged in the late '90s and continues to get stronger," explains Stap. "This look is subtle, calm and pretty. Think of pink-on-pink mixes of color-related tulips and Persian buttercups," she says.
To employ the simplicity theme, only one color choice is necessary. The rest of the choices for the arrangement revolve around flower shapes, textures and how they are arranged in the vase of one's choice.
Extreme Combinations are energizing looks - bright, shiny, chaotic and high contrast," recounts Stap. "This look is creeping into fashion now, it's cutting edge, part of the new design world evolving in the new Millennium."
There are two ways to achieve Extreme Combinations, she says. You can mix wildly different flowers together in one "blow-out bouquet" or you can place vivid single color arrangements into jarring, high contrast settings.
"You might mix orange, hot pink and yellow flowers in one arrangement. Or, you could place a single-color bouquet of searing orange tulips into a room with hot pink walls and yellow curtains. Either way, the overall effect is totally discordant - energizing."
While there are no longer any hard and fast rules that dictate what makes a good flower arrangement, there are some timeless classic design tips. A familiarity with the rules can not only help you understand today's trends in floral design, they can provide a foundation upon which to build your own artistic vision.
Professional flower arrangers have long been taught that the vase should occupy one-third of the arrangement and the flowers two-thirds to create the most pleasing balance.
Still, flaunting that lesson, today's arrangements often invert that proportion (with more bottom and less top), or throw it out the window entirely in creations where the flowers are as short or shorter than the vase. Some arrangements are even created inside a clear glass vase, with nothing peaking over the rim.
If clear vases make a perfect vessel for "flowers under glass," dark dense pots or vases are just the thing for secreting flowers within. Try this for its surprise effect. The idea is to view flowers from above, whether the container is placed on a low coffee table, a dinner table or even the floor.
Choose a broad stone bowl, silver pitcher or trophy, or even large imported food cans (painted Chinese and Italian cans are particularly pretty). Pour a few inches of water into the vessel itself or into a small glass vase placed within. Now add the flowers, standing upright, peeking up to be viewed from above. The effect is fun - and charming. Here, simplicity rules - use only one kind of flower, all one color.
Sticks and stones, bamboo, seashells, twigs, vines, odd leaves, wire, string, berries, nuts and fruit. These are just a few of the things, natural and not, that can help bring a floral creation to life while adding a bit of life of their own. Found objects added to an arrangement can provide structural support and visual interest.
In the end, whatever you do - and it can be as simple as unwrapping a bunch of flowers and plunking them right into a vase! - the true aim is to have fun with cut flowers. What's creative and pleasing is what works for you. It's not your living, after all. It's just your living art. Have fun with it!
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