Sometimes in floral art competition the schedule will stipulate a particular style of design but often you will be given just a title or theme. Recently I thought it might be helpful if I charted the process I tend to follow when I am faced with creating an interpretive floral design. How do you go from a theme and create a design that can ‘speak for itself’? How do you make your design stand out from it’s competing entries and evoke the theme for the judge?
The Definition of an Interpretative Design is – A design in which components are chosen and placed to evoke a theme, occasion, or atmosphere; not a design style.
Competition schedules usually have a theme which means “an implied or suggested idea”. If no style of design is stipulated then you are free to interpret it however you like simply designing from the theme. If you need a little help there are lots ways to find ideas:
Where do you start ?
For example: You might be given the Theme Title “Two to Tango”.
Look up the meaning of the phrase and each word in your title in a dictionary.
e.g. It takes two to tango is a common idiomatic expression which suggests something in which more than one person or other entity are paired in an inextricably-related and active manner, occasionally with negative connotations.
The tango is a dance which requires two partners moving in relation to each other, sometimes in tandem, sometimes in opposition. The meaning of this expression has been extended to include any situation in which the two partners are by definition understood to be essential—as in, a marriage with only one partner ceases to be a marriage.
Highlight and focus on any key words that you could translate into your design to convey your interpretation.
Is there an artwork, song, book or movie that uses the theme word or words in its title?
You can sail in a ship by yourself,
Take a nap or a nip by yourself.
You can get into debt on your own.
There are lots of things that you can do alone.
Takes two to tango … etc.
The date a song, book or movie was written might help you choose a style or the accessories for your arrangement.
- a design in the contemporary style,
- one which appeared to be free-standing,
- showed two complimentary/essential parts,
- showed a high degree of movement,
- created a sense of unity and of space
- and was not formed by a vase or container (I’ d have to get my DIY guys to make me a bespoke stand).
Once you have some BASIC ideas for your interpretive floral design –
You might begin to associate a particular colour(s) or flower(s) or plant material with the theme from something you remember or see in your research.
It could remind you of a place, a time in history, an animal, a piece of art, patterns, a season, a holiday or almost anything else.
e.g. Thinking further I found this picture of Tangoing Flamingoes which echoed the “dancing legs” and led me to thinking about the possibility of using plant material to show this in my design.
‘Surf the net’ for ideas and inspiration or look through some magazines until you have an idea of what you want to create.
Sketch your ideas.
Check whether the flowers and plant materials that you have thought of are in season and available to you.
Don’t forget to review the competition rules and regulations before you finalize your idea.
Here is how my design ended up. In the competition I was awarded 1st Prize in the Advanced Class and also Most Artistic Prize. On the night I was complimented by the Judge on my interpretation, my complimentary choice of materials for the spheres and ‘the dancing legs’ which she said were “very strong” in conveying my interpretation of the theme.
Some comments from those who viewed my design….
“That’s gorgeous Melanie – looks just like two people dancing!”
“You captured the stance of those inspiring flamingos perfectly, they really looked as if they might perform a tango! Very elegant Mel”
“The stand is almost invisible. Beautiful work!”