The art of flower arrangements
A look back at the past
The Chinese were the first who put water in a container of beautifully-cut flowers. They made sure that these were aesthetically arranged in a container.
From there, the Japanese, who are also known for their art, applied various design principles into flowers, water and containers. This eventually became part of their culture, expanding the use of flower arrangements into meditative practice. In Japanese language, the appropriate Japanese word is Ikebana, where Ike means pond while bana means flower. Ikebana’s emphasis is to bring nature indoors. This inspired the beginning of decorative and devotional functions of flower arrangements.
Behind the art of flower arrangements
Six important principles considered in the art of flower arrangement include design, balance, scale, rhythm, emphasis and harmony.
Design pertains to the structural pattern of the arrangement. It is very visual and places much emphasis on the size and shape of the arrangement. It is mostly determined by the location and occasion of the event. Balance focuses on the use of materials in an arrangement, which emphasises stability. It is important to take note of the form and colour of the flower arrangement. Balance may be symmetrical, meaning that the two sides of the flower arrangement have an equal amount of materials placed on both sides. Asymmetrical balance refers to two sides of the flower arrangement not being equal but still possessing equal visual weight. Colour plays an important role when it comes to balance. Darker colours give a “heavier” feeling and are used in the lower part of the arrangement. As for lighter colours, they are more appropriately placed on the upper and outer portions of the arrangement. Scale deals with the material used in proportion to the size of the container. Rhythm directs the viewer’s eye along the main line of arrangement. Rhythm is correlated with emphasis, the focal point or central portion of the flower arrangement. The flowers and foliage are the main point of the arrangement and thus, larger and darker coloured flowers are usually placed in this area. Lastly, harmony or unity is a principle that highlights proper blending of colours of flowers, to include the container, in a way that their colours contrast each other.
When dealing with flower arrangements, three basic designs are: line arrangements, mass arrangements and line-mass arrangements.
Line arrangements are composed of line material. Minimal flowers and foliage are placed in the focal areas, thereby emphasising the beauty of the plant. A piece of decorative wood creates a vision of a defined line design. Additional flowers and leaves are added for a dramatic effect. Mass arrangements focus more on full, flowing and symmetrical combinations of flowers, typically embodying a triangular, oval, circular or fan-shaped appearance. Lastly, line-mass arrangements aim to create an effect of depth. Here, plant material is used as an outline and amassed to create a focal area. They may possess a symmetrical or asymmetrical balance.
There are also three styles of flower arrangements. These are the oriental style, traditional or western style and modern style.
The oriental style of flower arrangement emphasises the use of lines. The traditional or western style of flower arrangement emphasises the massive use of flowers. Lastly, modern flower arrangements do not follow any rules at all. These simply follow the taste and style of the floral designer, thereby allowing creativity and innovation to come into play.
Transitioning to modern art
Today, there is a rising trend of modern flower arrangements that break the old rules traditional flower designers once had. In the same way that continuous change and improvement are apparent in other industries, the same goes for flower arrangements. These range from geometric motives to oriental style. Designers are more bold and even go “bare.”
For flower bouquets, top five picks are:
- Fanning palms: fan-leafed, dried palms make a modern twist, especially for boho. These may also be infused with the rustic anemones, dreamy roses and dried grasses.
- Soft and dreamy: a combination of fluffy pampas crass, cotton stems, giant protea, long grasses, dried berries and other soft textures that magically flow amidst the breeze, best for outdoor events.
- Killer contrast: strong red with dried grasses, ripe berries, striped feathers and cascading blooms against classic white, resulting in romantic colour contrasts, thereby making the arrangement stand out.
- Falling Florals: oversized arrangements that give a “wow” effect, incorporating a modern selection of native flowers, bright orchids and dried foliage. This emphasises the move toward sustainability and non-traditional flowers.
- Bleachy Keen: ferns and grasses that are sun-bleached into white ethereal aesthetics, perfect for indoor events.
As for homes, top tricks when it comes flower arrangements are:
- Dried flowers and pampas grass: using dry flowers and plants allow you not to worry about lifespan.
- Guided by wall art: match your flower arrangements to an artwork located nearby.
- Fitting in: use complementary shades with the help of the colour wheel.
- Flowering branches: fill an empty space with a towering arrangement, such as a group of cherry blossoms. If clear glass is used, the stems become a visible part of the design.
- Proportion play: for a unique look, play with scale and proportion. This uses tall branches to introduce grandiosity, nicely placed on a low console table or cabinet.
These are only some of the many designs and tips in terms of modern flower arrangements. In spite of these developments, the rationale behind flower arrangements remain the same. That is, enhancing the beauty of flowers with an artistic touch. Indeed, flower arrangements play an important role in creating aesthetics for any occasion, be it weddings, birthdays, parties and other events that individuals and even companies, celebrate.