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Interpretive Design – Antarctica

In 2013 I made a decision to enter the next WAFA (World Association of Flower Arrangers) Competition due to be held in Dublin, Ireland in June 2014. This competition is held every three years and hosted by a different member country each time. There is more information on the site www.wafaireland.com


To prepare for this important competition I have been putting together an interpretive design every week, using different techniques to keep my skills up to date and learn some new ones. The title for each week has been supplied by one of my clients who then gets to keep the design for a week!


This is one titled “Antarctica”.



With an interpretive design, it is important to “tell the story” with your plant material so that anyone viewing the design will understand the picture being presented by the design.


I wanted to emphasise the cold, stark nature of the frozen landscape of Antarctica so have chosen a white ceramic boat shaped vase as the container for my design. The colours of the plant material are in keeping with this – white, pale green, yellow/green.


The container is filled with white pebbles and one piece of dry floral foam in which I can anchor some of the plant material. I do not need a water source for any of the plant material in this design.

A lichen covered branch is placed horizontally across the container and wired into the floral foam. Thinner branches with interesting twists and bends are placed in front of the large branch. One taller branch has the main section wrapped in fuzzy white wool with the side branches left natural.

A grouping of Australian native woolly bush is placed at the back of the design for some height. Without a water source this will naturally dry to a paler green, almost white, adding to the “cool” effect of the design.

Full and sliced banksia flowers are placed vertically in the design as well as glued at various angles to the container and the main (horizontal) branch. Finally an arum lilly is bent across the design. This is not in water so the flower will not open any further, although it will last for about 7 days. If it were to open fully, the flower would dominate the design – not the effect I wanted.


In late October 2013 I was allocated my Class title for the WAFA Ireland competition. After the competition I will have a separate section on this website that shows the development of the design and how it fared in the competition. Until then my lips are sealed….

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