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TYPES OF FLOWER DESIGNS

There are many type of designs that are classified for the sake of competition. When competing in a judged show, you should pay close attention to the Schedule, or book of rules for that specific show.  The Schedule will spell out the requirements for the design and how it will be judged.  Points are generally assigned for

  • Conformance to these scheduled requirements

  • Design Elements

  • Artistic Concept

  • Expression (your interpretation of the assigned theme)

  • Distinction (marked superiority in all aspects)

Even though these rules sound intimidating, it is lots of fun to compete. You can build your confidence by attending nearby flower shows and looking at the designs carefully. Pay particular attention to the mechanics, or how the design is held together.

The following are very cursory descriptions intended to show you the range of possibilities. They are summaries of the categories defined in the Handbook for Flower Shows, distributed by National Garden Clubs, Inc. NGC introduced new suggested design types in their 2007 Handbook.  Other groups have other categories.  When competing in a flower show, go to the group's authorized source for a complete description to be sure your design conforms to that group's rules.

Angular  It's all about geometry and angles, spaces and planes.  One triangle will  cross the plane of another, for instance. Assemblage   Abstract objects are tied to plant materials through color or form in a three-dimensional design.
Botanical   This is the design type you think of first.  All freshly grown and beautiful plant material. Collage  This two-dimensional design overlaps  material on a flat surface. Found objects can be included.
Construction   Architectural forms are either made from plant material, or plants are used to enhance a manmade form. Creative Line   A simple design, with limited materials, all of which emphasize a single line.
Creative Line-Mass   This design emphasizes a main line and then fills out the form for depth, although the overall design remains open. Creative Mass   Just what it sounds like! Lots of foliage and flowers arranged in accordance with the Principals of Design. Placement of color can create spaces within the overall design, but the silhouette is closed.
Duo  This fun design can be seen from two sides and displays different designs altogether. The two designs are clearly separated so that they cannot be seen from the opposite side. Framed Spatial   A static design is suspended within a frame and should promise motion but not actually move. Specific schedule will dictate whether or not design may break the plane of the frame.
Hanging   May be hung on a surface or suspended in space and moving freely. A fishing swivel may be helpful in suspending the design but the line should be attached to a single, not double point, to enhance movement. Illuminary     Lights are subtly incorporated into the design and have some reason for being there.  Go to the Lights category in the shopping area and click on the images there to see great uses of small, battery operated lights.
Kinetic   These designs have actual or implied motion and may incorporate some of the other categories like Framed Spatial, Mobile, Op Art. Miniature   No more than 5 inches in any direction, but conforming to all the rules of larger designs. Take a peek at the designs one class of hobbyists came up with in Georgia.
Mobile  Think Calder for this one.  Hanging elements of Creative Design moving freely in the air. Op Art   Visual motion is the aim of this design that causes the viewer's eye to move about. More than one point of focus caused by use of color and patterns.
Panel  This design has three sides and the structure is self-supporting.  If panels are used, they must be integral to the design. Parallel  Three or more groups that are parallel with space between them, staged in one container or several that are grouped as one.
Plaque   Dried plant materials are arranged on a plaque to be hung on a wall and include seeds, cones, nuts, etc. Pot-et-Fleurs  A combination of two or more rooted plants with other fresh or dried materials in the same container.
Reflective   The reflection of light to the viewer is of primary importance, but the trick is you may not place a design in front of a mirror.  You must include the reflective portions in the design! Sculptural Form   This design features a three-dimensional sculptural form that must be of one piece or appearing to be one piece.
Small   The whole design may not extend beyond 8" x 8" x 8" and other than that follows all the principals of any larger design. Spatial Thrust  Two parallel lines emphasize the space between them and are equidistant from top to bottom, although they may be of different lengths.
Stabile   A sculptural Creative Design that implies imminent motion although it may not actually move. Must direct the eye out to space. Should have depth and be able to be viewed from different angles.  Fixed base is generally the same color as the background if there is one. Still Life   Tell a story through a grouping of objects and plant material.  Everything should be used in a realistic context.
Stretch   Two creative units, one smaller than the other, appear to be pulled apart. Strong connectivity is key. Synergistic Build an overall design of three disparate parts that do not have to be complete designs in themselves.
Table   There are lots of variations on this type which will be dealt with on a separate page. Transparency   You can see through parts of this design to see other components.  Emphasize depth and planes.  May use lighting.
Trees, Decorated  Holiday decorations adorn trees, both traditional and non-traditional for special occasions. Tubular  Cylinders are the theme of this design, using tubes and cylindrical forms with the plant material.  A creative design.
Underwater   Water magnifies and distorts the appearance of some material placed underwater. Not all material need be under the surface. Vibratile  Vibration and sound are the goals here. You may invite viewers to touch, or depend on hanging pieces to move and make noise.

 

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