It's midsummer and that means an explosion of flowers blooming in our U-Pick Flower Garden!
If you're like me, you find the process of choosing, cutting and arranging the flowers even more rewarding than the end product (and that's saying a lot! Those bouquets fill me with endless delight).
So many of us have that deep innate drive to create, to use our hands to craft something of beauty and goodness. And is it any wonder? Look who created us! We are created in God's image, the God who is the source of all beauty, loveliness and goodness, so it's only natural that we would long for these things too.
However, I know that some of you would love a few pointers or guidelines for creating bouquets. Maybe you've never put together a bouquet before... Or maybe you have, but it didn't turn out the way you imagined it in your head... Or maybe you are looking for some new ideas!
Let me be perfectly clear - I'm a flower farmer, not a florist. There is a huge difference. Florists have trained for years to perfect their art and they make floral arrangement look easy. If you need floral arrangements for a formal event or wedding, you really should seek out their professional help.
However, if your goal is to create simple bouquets for yourself or as a heartfelt gift for a loved one, I can give you a few guidelines to help you out. Creating your own bouquets is such a rewarding experience!
Years ago, I was an Art teacher and I'm always amazed to discover how my Art knowledge and skills transfer over to flowers.
I'm going to reach back to my days of teaching Art and give you a crash course in design to help you remove doubt and fear about designing a bouquet. Ready? Here we go!
Elements and Principles of Art & Design
Ok, ALL works of art (sculpture, drawings, photography, floral design, jewelry making, interior design, etc.) are made up of ELEMENTS that are organized using PRINCIPLES.
It's really that simple.
You can take ANY work of art and break it down to it's basic Elements and Principles.
You don't have to use every element and principle all the time, but when you know how to take a few ELEMENTS and organize them using PRINCIPLES, voila! You have good design.
Most of you do this unconsciously, but being aware of the E's and P's can help you improve your work.
Think of the Elements as the raw parts and pieces, and the Principles are the instructions that tell you how to put the pieces together (kind of like working with LEGOs! A pile of LEGO laying around isn't much to look at, but when you start arranging them, you can make some really awesome creations.)
As you read through these lists, keep thinking about how these terms can relate to flowers...
Line - Curved, Straight, Horizontal, Vertical, and Diagonal
Shape - Naturalistic, Geometric
Space - Positive and Negative
Value - Lightness and Darkness
Color - Hue and Value, Color schemes
Texture - Rough, Smooth, Soft, Hard
Unity/Harmony - All elements work together as a whole.
Balance - Symmetrical or Asymmetrical. The visual "weight".
Rhythm/Movement - Using repeating elements to "move the eye" around the work of art.
Contrast -Juxtaposition of different elements to create visual interest or a focal point.
Emphasis - Special attention given to one part of the work.
Variety - Using different elements to create visual interest.
Pattern - an arrangement of repeated or alternated elements.
Putting the E's and P's Into Practice
Let me show you how I used the E's and P's while creating this simple Mason jar bouquet.
These just happened to be the flowers I had to work with, but when you are out picking, you might want to choose a COLOR scheme, such as:
- warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows)
- cool colors (greens, blues, violets)
- contrasting colors (like yellow and violet, or orange and blue, or red and green)
- color triad (red, yellow and blue or green, violet and orange)
These are just a few color schemes that make for pleasing pallets.
Or you can do whatever you want. Ha!
As I was prepping and organizing my flowers, I realized I had every color of the rainbow, so I went for the "explosion of color cottage bouquet" look. If you want to learn more about the flowers, click over to this page to see photos and names of the flowers we grow at Three Acre Farm.
After choosing my vase/vessel, I started with my foundation - 3 stems of Lemon Basil that would drape over the side of the vase, creating a sense of MOVEMENT with the curved LINES of the leaves.
I like to work in odd numbers (1, 3, 5, 7, etc.) when creating a bouquet that will be viewed in the round (from all angles). It helps to create a nice sense of BALANCE.
When you are cutting stems in the garden, err on the side of too long. You can always trim them later. It's nice to have some different stems lengths to add VARIETY.
Here I added 5 stems of Zinnias. Their LINES point up, creating VARIETY from the downward pointing Basil. They have a nice round SHAPE.
Now I added 3 Black-eyed Susans. The center one is my Focal Point, where I want the EMPHASIS to be in the bouquet. I added the other Black-eyed Susans to create a sense of UNITY, so the Focal Flower doesn't look out of place.
I also added 5 Ageratums, since the violet COLOR creates some nice CONTRAST to the yellow. It also has a lovely fuzzy TEXTURE that adds VARIETY to the bouquet.
Now I wanted to create a VARIETY of LINES, so I plugged in 3 Snapdragons. I love adding "Spike" shaped flowers to bouquets to add some interest.
And here... I just went crazy and filled the empty SPACE with light, airy filler type flowers (always in groups of odd numbers) that come in all different SHAPES - buttons (Bachelor Buttons), lacy/airy flowers (Dill and Cilantro flowers), disks (Cosmos) and clustered flowers (Forget-Me-Not and Feverfew).
Ta da! A bright, cheery bouquet that is the epitome of summer - bold, colorful and energetic.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately!!!), there is no magic formula for a "perfect bouquet". What matters most is that YOU enjoy your creation!
It's so fun to see people create their own bouquets - just like any other work of art, the creator's personality really shines through.
I hope this quick lesson about the Elements and Principles of Art & Design has helped remove some fear and doubt, and filled you with confidence that you CAN create a beautiful bouquet for your home that brings you pleasure all week long!
It doesn't have to be perfect. Just relax, follow your instincts and have fun!