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Interpretive – Twisting and Turning

Interpretive design is something you either love or loathe – I love it. It is a challenge to find and work with natural plant materials that tell a story – items that show the judges what you think of the Class title.


In all design work the container and base form a part of the overall design and consequently a percentage of your marks. I have been penalised on occasions for having an inappropriate container so I always mention this for interpretive work.

Here is my Twisting and Turning design:

Twisting and Turning

The base is a circular piece of wood, painted dark brown, and the container for the material requiring a water source is an unglazed terracotta bowl. The bowl has a rough circular pattern to it which helps to emphasise the “turning” part of my interpretation. A square or rectangular base would detract from the design for the same reason.

The central feature of this design is a piece of twisted vine – these are weeds in our natural vegetation that wrap themselves around a tree and eventually strangle it. I am more than happy to cut them down when I find them ……and use the really twisted ones in all sorts of designs! The vine is screwed to the base for stability.

Two twisted and turning pieces of bark are placed outside the container at the base and threaded through one another at the top of the design – these form a frame for the remaining plant material.

In the container are low placed bluebells (where the flowers face all different directions), a single iris and some fishbone fern that is also threaded through the bark pieces. The remaining plant material is a lilly that never seem to have a straight stem – perfect for this design, so they are placed at random and allowed to show the twisting and turning feature of their stems.

An improvement to this design would be to replace the bluebells with some thin twisted vine in a bird’s nest shape to sit in and over the rim of the container.

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