Enhancing the beauty of flowers with artistic arrangement is the art of flower arrangements. Flower arrangements are an important part of the ambience on any occasion, weddings, birthdays, parties or any other events in life.
Flower arrangement is an organization of design and color towards creating an ambience using flowers, foliage and other floral accessories. Flower arrangement is not an art to be reserved only for special occasions. A few flowers on the kitchen table can be as important in their own way as a full scale decoration for a big ocassion. Flower arrangements beautify homes and offices alike and are also used as centerpieces for a table. Flower arrangements are made out of fresh cut flowers, dried flowers and artificial flowers as well.
Roses are the most popular flowers used in floral arrangements, closely followed by carnations, gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums. The use of flowers in flower arrangements also depends on the occasion for which they are made and the recipient's likes and dislikes.
The Chinese were the first to put water in a container of cut flowers. So, while the Chinese were arranging flowers aesthetically in a container, the rest of the world was braiding garlands, making wreaths and flinging petals.
Japan grasped the vision of combining cut flowers, water and containers from China with such enthusiasm and inspiration that different schools of flower arrangement art emerged with masters who created philosophies and, design principles sprang into existence. The Japanese culture expanded flower arrangement into a meditative practice, which had its roots in beliefs and philosophies. Flower arrangement became an art form that inspired contemplation and transcended decorative and devotional functions.
Broadly, there are three styles of arrangements in the world of floral arrangements. They are:
1) Oriental Flower Arrangements: The emphasis is on the Lines in the floral arrangement.
2) Traditional/Western Flower Arrangements: The emphasis is on the Use of many flowers as a mass in the floral arrangement.
3) Modern Flower Arrangements: There are no rules at all. These floral arrangements are based on the taste of the floral designer. But, it is more close to Oriental than Traditional style of arranging flowers in its inclination towards importance to lines.
Although the art of floral arrangement encompasses many principles, there are at least six important principles. They are:
- Design: It decides the structural pattern of the floral arrangement. It is a visualized plan about the size and shape of the floral arrangement. The design is essentially determined by the location, occasion and the materials available.
- Balance: It emphasizes on the use of materials in a floral arrangement which gives stability to the arrangement. The two most important elements of Balance of an arrangement are the form and color of the floral arrangement. Again, balance is of two types viz.,
Symmetrical Balance: The two sides of the floral arrangement have equal amount of materils placed on either side of the floral arrangement.
Asymmetrical Balance: The two sides of the floral arrangement are not equal but still have equal visual weight. Color plays a vital role here. Dark colors give a visual effect of weight and so are used low in the arrangement. So also, lighter colors are more appropriate for the outer and upper portions of the floral arrangements.
- Scale: It deals with the proportions of different components of the floral arrangement. It thus emphasises on the use of material used to that of the size of the container holding the floral arrangement.
- Rhythm: It emphasizes on directing the viewer's eye along the main line of arrangement so that the whole shape of the composition is properly followed and understood
- Emphasis (Focal Point): The central portion of the floral arrangement from where the flowers and foliage of the arrangement appear to be emerging from is known as the focal point of the arrangement. Hence, larger and dark colored flowers are usually used in the focal point of the floral arrangement.
- Harmony and Unity: This principle takes care of the appropriate use of flowers for the occasion. It also takes care of the blending of colors of the flowers used in the floral arrangement and that of the container such that they contrast each other.
- Floral Bouquets: Floral bouquets are simple and easier to assemble than a formal flower arrangement. Bouquets made of roses are the most popular, followed by carnations, gerbera daisies and chrysanthemums.
- Table Centerpieces: Centerpieces are nothing but the normal floral arrangements, designed to be placed on tables when dinners are hosted on such occasions like Thanksgiving day, Christmas, etc. You can convey a theme for the occasion using a memorabilia or traditional decorations. The buffet table lends itself to an elaborate still life of flowers, fruits and vegetables.
- Floral Baskets: Floral baskets are flower arrangements done in baskets of varied depths. Flowers for the floral baskets should therefore be chosen on the basis of the depth of the basket. They are very popular as gifts on special occasions like Christmas, Mother's day, etc. Cornucopia is a horn-shaped wicker basket typically filled with various kinds of festive fruits and vegetables, which is very popular as a gift on Thanksgiving day.
- Floral Wreaths: A floral arrangement in the form of a circular garland, usually woven of flowers and foliage, that traditionally indicates honor or celebration. Wreaths are especially very popular on funerals as a symbol of honoring the deceased. Besides, they are also very much used on occasions like Thanksgiving day and Christmas to welcome the guests as welcome wreaths when dinners are hosted.
Ikebana, the Japanese word for the art of flower arrangement, comes from two Japanese words, IKE, meaning pond and HANA, meaning flower, the pond flower. Thus, Ikebana is the art of arranging flowers in water. Ikebana emphasizes most on measurement, the scale of floral arrangement. The main aim of Ikebana is to bring nature indoors and make it live in the floral arrangement that is being made.
Originally, the first school of ikebana was divided into three styles.
- The Shin - The formal style involved an erect linear arrangement in a bronze container, arranged on a carved teakwood stand.
- The Gyo, or semi-formal school - The school features flowing, sweeping lines and the use of a variety of containers.
- The So, or informal school - The school displayed flowers in bamboo vases, baskets, and natural wood containers as well as in pottery. The flowers are seated on bases of bamboo or natural wood.
There are three basic designs for flower arrangements viz., Line Arrangements, Mass Arrangements and Line-Mass Arrangements. All flower arrangements are based on one of these flower arrangement designs or derived from them.
Line Arrangement of Flowers
Designs composed primarily of line material have minimum flowers and foliage established in the focal area. The open form emphasizes the beauty of the plant material. A bare branch, a piece of decorative wood or a pine branch creates a well-defined line design. The addition of a few flowers and leaves is all that is needed to achieve a dramatic effect.
Mass Arrangement of Flowers
Full, flowing and symmetrical, a generous mixture of flowers arranged in a decorated China vase portrays the typical mass design so reminiscent of Victorian opulence and elegance. Mass designs are usually triangular, oval, and circular or fan shaped.
Line-Mass Arrangement of Flowers
Line-Mass creations employ the use of mass for a greater feeling of depth. Plant material is placed to form an orderly outline and massed to create a focal area with gradual changes from line at the periphery of the arrangement to mass within the central axis. Line-mass designs have an open form with symmetrical or asymmetrical balance.
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