When trying to figure out how to describe the build process, I wanted to correlate it to something that I could relate to and visually see in my mind. After giving it quite a bit of thought, the best analogy I could come up with was a stage play. I asked myself what was the best stage play I had ever seen and my mind instantly landed on The Lion King. I saw that play nearly 2 decades ago and the details still stand out in my mind as if I just saw it yesterday.
When attending a stage play, my eyes travel throughout the elements in front of me and I admire each element individually as well as collectively. When I walk in, I admire the fabric of the theater chairs and curtains (they’re usually VELVET! my absolute FAVE!), the curtains lead my eyes up to the ceiling which I tend to admire until the curtains open, no matter what is going on around me. When the curtain opens I am immediately drawn to the stage, set, costumes, characters and props. It’s visual overload (in a good way). Just as the eye travels during a stage play, this is the same visual experience you should provide the viewer when admiring your floral arrangements.
Your job as a floral designer is to give the viewers eye a little something to dance to. Because I’m a nerd, I had to create a chart to illustrate how this all plays out in my mind. As shown, you should make sure you build your layers from the bottom up and from the largest materials to the smallest or most delicate. As outlined in the 5th ebook of our series, Floral Design Basics, we will walk through each layer and review how we associate them with the elements of a stage play:
Stage: This is the container and mechanics of the design. Your container carries the weight of the entire arrangement and it plays an important role in the proportion and scale of the design. The mechanics are key to the structural integrity of the arrangement.
- Set: This is the foliage and structural layer, or the skeleton of the design. It is the framework that all other materials should be designed around and within. This layer will include flowering branches, foliage and various line materials.
- Main Curtain: This is the draping layer. It is the beautiful drippy, hanging and flowing portion of your design that helps to unite the arrangement with the container you select.
- Leading Lady: You know her, she is center stage and the star of the show. This is your focal or statement layer. These materials may be the lowest in quantity and in height but they definitely have the biggest impact. Your focal point should be so stunning and impactful that it forces the viewers eye to start there and then work it’s way around the rest of the arrangement.
- Leading Man: This is the base or mass flower layer. Although it is a shining star itself, it usually doesn’t outshine the leading lady. This layer adds depth within the framework of the design and helps to draw attention to the leading lady. This layer provides volume and fills up space within the arrangement.
- Supporting Actress: This is the supporting or secondary layer. Filler flowers and flowers with medium heads that are interesting, have a presence and add soft textures can be added to this layer.
- Props: This is the textural layer and one of my favorites. Here is where small dried materials, small berries and other textural elements can be added. This is the layer that adds the personality.
- Cast: This is the floating and whimsy layer of small soft petaled, delicate flowers. The flowers within this layer soften the arrangement and just like the cast within the play, they may not be the star but the play would be nothing without them.
Please keep in mind that this process is more of a guideline than it is a hard and fast rule. In your creative process, you may want to do something a little different to suit your clients’ style and that’s okay. Create that which makes your heart sing and use this process as a foundation to build upon.