Gill Shanks November 2013

A Blooming Good Read was the theme of the evening as we welcomed Gill Shanks on November 5th.

The first design was based on My Life with Flowers and was a tribute to Julia Clements who promoted flower arranging worldwide. The focal point was arum itallicum pictum together with privet, pink lilies, roses and gerbera.

A quote from Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews provided a very different type of design; a seed collage.

A NAFAS publication Leaf Techniques Part One was the inspiration for the next green and white arrangement which included knotted iris leaves, curled bergenia leaves and aspidistra leaves. The main flowers were alstromeria, freesia and white ranunculus.

The fourth arrangement was influenced by the TV programme Changing Rooms and Laurence LLewelyn-Bowen’s book Design Rules. Two circles using felt, string and decorative wire in orange and burgundy gave a focus for a design incorporating vertical lines of orange lilies and burgundy roses with fern, viburnum tinus, rubus tricolour and pyracantha. The design was completed using an orchid and  orange peppers.                          .

The design based on the popular novel The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas used viburnum tinus, agapanthus, carnations, roses and gypsophilia depicting the mountains, lakes and sky of India described in the book.  

Back to NAFAS and The Flower Arranger for the next arrangement which included variegated hedera, cotoneaster, choisya and ruscus together with yellow chrysanthemums, gerbera and spray roses.

The final green design was a tribute to Dublin  and Maeve Binchy’s novels particularly Tara Road.  A structure of felt and wool was incorporated in the arrangement which used fatsia, aspidistra, eucalyptus, cabbages, carnations, hydrangea and chrysanthemums.

These very varied arrangments produced a very attractive and much appreciated stage display at the end of the evening.

Gill’s resume of each book gave an interesting and additional dimension to the evening. She also reminded us of several flower arranging techniques and principles including the mnemonic Big Pink Stones Roll Constantly Down Hill for the need to incorporate Balance, Proportion, Scale, Contrast Dominance and Harmony into our designs.

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