Recently I had the opportunity to help my mum set up the Floral Art Society stand for the Flower and Garden Show (above), which won a silver medal. The flower and garden show is interesting - the part outside is dedicated to gardens, which as I see it is mostly suggested designs for your outdoor area, and tips for how to look after your roses, camellias etc. Inside the building is the flower section, but it's not just flowers, it is living sculpture.
It is so interesting to see florists at work. The demands of the medium - flowers and plant material - dictate the kinds of things that can be done. They must have access to water. Delicate petals and stems can't take too much pressure. They might only come in a limited range of colours. And yet so many amazing things can be created.
Working with living flowers and delicate plant material means that structure is really important. Florists will spend much time developing and sculpting the structure that goes underneath the arrangement - or living sculpture - before the flowers and plant material are inserted.
One stand by Michael Strownix took a deconstructed approach to the flowers, setting thousands of carnations in bands in a surreal display inspired by Hong Kong.
This ikebana arrangement (below) by Emily Karanikolopoulos had white branches cradling bowls of lilies, seemingly suspended in space.
RMIT fashion students also had an opportunity to create fashion pieces for the flower show. As a contrast, many of them treated the flowers and plant material as types of fabric, or beads, buttons and sequins. In one, the fine skins of garlic were glued to a fabric train extending behind the mannequin, while the bulbs of garlic were attached to the front. In another, seeds and other materials were glued in intricate patterns to make a fitted garment.
I find that the limitations of materials pushes us in new directions and makes us more creative. I only hope us textiles students will get a chance to do a project as fun and challenging as this in the future!