Seminars and workshops and classes oh my! (part 2) / by Alexander Evans

Following the amazing and inspirational weekend of Seminars and workshops it was time to knuckle down and get back to class and keep my learning on track. The first lesson was about arranging with fruiting material. Having been in Sydney for several days I had not been able to bring appropriate material for this class with me from Canberra. So I asked the always charming Kevin Wallpole if he happened to have anything fruitbearing in his garden that I might use for the purpose of the class and he very kindly obliged me with something truly amazing! GIANT FIG! Oh my goodness what a challenge! In a moment of clarity I realised exactly what I needed to do and once I got to class I set about my goal with determination. See the result below.

 I must apologise for the poor image quality, as it was taken on my phone I had to do quite a lot of doctoring to the photograph to best show the arrangement. 

I must apologise for the poor image quality, as it was taken on my phone I had to do quite a lot of doctoring to the photograph to best show the arrangement. 

As you can see the leaves are massive and a tremendous feature in themselves with the fruit sitting tightly into the space where the leaf meets the main stem of the plant. This posed some significant challenges. I didn't want to damage the fruit or knock it off so I had to trim the leaves leaving quite a bit of stem. Usually this is unsightly and not particularly desirable but I decided that I would cover the exposed cuts with gold leaf to indicate the very special and unusual nature of this material. This was very eye catching and interesting and worked to enhance the arrangement overall so was a good way of solving a tricky problem. I was pleased to still show a leaf in a way that supported and presented the fruit with the growing tips of the plant making for another strongly linear and dynamic element. Overall both my teacher and I were very happy with the result. 

The next exercise was in simplification... talk about changing gear in my brain! I chose to work with some kangaroo paw that I had found in a local florist. I felt this was a very interesting material because it really has a number of qualities that can be shown off to great effect. The idea of the exercise is to minimise the use of the material whilst not losing or hiding its essential nature. It's like the ultimate exercise in editing. See the result below.

 Again my apologies for the poor image quality. 

Again my apologies for the poor image quality. 

I had enough time in class for one final exercise which was about deconstructing and then reconstructing material... I set myself the challenge of again working with kangaroo paw and just a small bit of pincushion grevillea (instead of using a kenzan). I took the entire idea of Kangaroo Paw to pieces and re-invented it completely. Typically a dry climate plant I decided to do an arrangment submerged in water. Also, the flowers usually appear sparsely at the margins of the stems so I massed and concentrated them as certralised elements with stems forming a laticework around.. it's like I took the very idea of a kangaroo paw and turned it inside out. See the result below.

deconstruction and re-construction.jpg