Thursday, May 10, 2012

Flower Arranging 101

Hello! So, I decided it would be really fun to do a series on arranging flowers since spring/summer are coming up! There is no better time to know how to arrange a nice bouquet than right before flower season :) Let me just start out with the basics today, and then get on with the more exciting stuff in the weeks to come.

First of all, you might be wondering what my credentials are seeing as my degrees are in neuroscience and psychology and I currently work at a pet store (yeah, I know, looong story haha) Anyway, I don't have any crazy good credentials, but I did take a college course on flower arranging and learned A TON!! It was a lot of fun, so I will share the basics with you. Hopefully, this will brighten your home and cheer up your hearts!

Lets get started!

The first thing you have to do is have a vision. It is the same with any sort of project, you have to have a recipe or a pattern so that you can make what you need. So, here are the basic elements of flower design: form, line, space, texture, and color.  Forms for flower arranging are either open or closed, open arrangements have a lot of space between the flowers, where as the closed form does not. There are also geometric forms for flower arranging which include triangle, rectangle/cube, and circle. We will go over these in greater detail in the future as I show you more about flower arranging.

Line is the way the arrangement "moves." There is either static or dynamic lines in an arrangement: vertical, horizontal, diagonal, and curved. These are pretty self explanatory, and you can probably think of examples of these, even if it is an odd arrangement you once saw at an office of something :)

Space is the area of the arrangement and the area around it. It encompasses positive space which is occupied by material (flowers, foliage, ribbons, etc.) Negative space is the empty area between the flowers, and voids are clean,distinct lines that connect the material to the rest of the design (stems, etc.)

Texture is the surface of the objects you are using. It is pretty self explanatory, a fresh flower is soft and smooth where as a dried arrangement is rough and brittle. You get the idea

The last is color. Color is really important because it can mean a lot of different things. In the flower world, different colored flowers "mean" different things. Also, warm colors move toward you when you look at an arrangement, whereas cool colored flowers fade into the background. If you have questions about the meaning of certain colors, I can answer those for you :) I will not go through them all here. I will probably mention them as I continue in the series explaining different arrangements. The other part about color is choosing a scheme, you can have a monochromatic scheme, with all similar colors, or contrasting colors which range in many different ways, all using the color wheel. For example, a split complementary is one hue and the two colors on each side of its direct complement (aka blue with orange-yellow and orange-red) Make sense? If it doesn't that's okay, you will figure it out as we go!

I will show you this full arrangement later, but we needed a little life in this long post :) Ok, so once you understand the basic principles, the fun stuff comes next!! Next we begin to think about the balance of the arrangement, do we want it balanced or asymmetrical? Do we want one major focal point or just lots of fun flowers all over? This is when the picture really starts to come together, the concept really starts to take shape! Once you answer those questions you must remember that the proportion must be good. This means when you choose a container, the arrangement should be at least 1/12 to 2 times taller or wider than that container. Otherwise, it looks way too huge and could fall over, or it looks so small it is ridiculous. 

There are quite a few other tiny details that you should think about when making an arrangement, but that is really for the professionals. This is just for fun, and if you want more info just let me know and I can help, but for now let's keep it light and fun for the home! 

The last thing I want to talk about today is caring for your flower once they are made. If you know how to properly take care of flowers they last much longer! First of all, when you get flowers you should always cut the stems at an angle underneath running water. The way the stem of a flower is designed, it sucks things into it, and if you do it in the air it sucks in the dirt and pollutants, whereas under water it will get just what it needs! The best preservative for your flowers at home is super easy to make. Just mix 2 cups of lemon-lime carbonated beverage with 2 cups of water. It's that easy! Another is 2 Tbl white vinegar, 2 Tbl sugar, 1/4 tsp bleach, with 1 quart water mixed together. Also easy, but I prefer the one with the pop :) Along with one of these great mixes, changing the water is important as well. This should really extend the life of your flowers. 

One other tip for caring for your flowers is to keep them away from ethylene which is basically aging hormone for plants. You can do this by keeping fresh fruits and vegetables away from the arrangements and keeping them in a fairly cool place because the warmer the flowers are, the sooner they will die. 

That is the basics! Check back next week for our first arrangement we will be learning about which is a triangle arrangement. It's the sneak peek above :) Let me know if you have ANY questions, I will hopefully be able to answer them! Enjoy!

Check out the rest of the series:

Triangle Arrangement

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