Rittners School Of Floral Design
In Boston Presents....
Way Out Christmas Design
Usually we think traditionally when it comes to Christmas. You know, people love standard Christmas Centerpieces, Boxwood
Trees, and so forth. But once in a while it is fun to apply more cutting edge design technique to holiday designing.
In this design we explore contemporary themes applied to Christmas floral art. We are going to take the concept of
the boxwood tree and turn it completely upside down!!!
Note that we are doing this in a number of ways. First of all the design is not in the traditional conical shape.
We have deliberately made it rounded. Secondly we have elevated it. It is on top of a tower of glass balls. And finally, the approach
to the decorations is rather wild.
This is a rather large design. The glass base itself is at least several feet tall.
Is this design for everyone? I don't think so. It is ideal for the person who is adventurous and who
enjoys a different kind of look in his/her Christmas floral art. Study if for a while though. If you are
conservative in your floral art tastes, the look actually may grow on you after a while!!
What You Will Need
Large Glass Container
1 block of foam
12 Gauge Decorative Wire
28 Gauge Decorative Wire
Lots of Glass Ball Ornaments
We start this design
with some of our glassware. Usually we think of filling a container such as
this with stems of flowers in a water base. However many contemporary floral designers have also
been filling these bases with fruit such as cranberries, apples, lemons, etc, and designing
on top and/or in the glassware.
In this case, we are definitely staying within the holiday theme, filling
the base with glass ornamental balls.
Glass mm balls are commonly associated with the Christmas season. They are also bright and cheerful!
We are deliberately mixing the colors, using the standard red, green silver, and gold (and the occasional
Please note that we could fill the entire vase with just one color such as gold, or silver.
Alternatively we could use nontraditional colors, for small glass balls come in a variety of colors and finishes.
In this composition we stayed with 25 mm glass balls through the design. Keep in mind that you can also play
with a variety of different sized ornaments. The larger the glass balls, the quicker and easier you will fill your
vase. A mixture of large and small glass balls will create even more visual interest.
Other alternatives would be to fill the vase with candy canes or hard candy, small toys, etc.
In the design presented here with the glass balls,
we could fill the base with water as well, though we chose not to do so.
A container is secured on top
of the glassware. (Cute trick, eh?) The foam is completely covered with boxwood. The boxwood is carefully
shaped into a roundish/squarish shape as shown in the illustration.
Time to decorate this boxwood section. We have many different options available.
Essentially you could decorate this design, in the same manner as any Christmas tree. So, if you like
to string popcorn, you can. If you prefer tinsel, you can go in that direction. If you wanted to place bows
on this design, you could. Or you could cover the top with a large number of flowers. You could place ornaments
on this piece, or small photos. Or perhaps a collection of small wooden or straw animals that could be hung on a Christmas tree would
be useful here as well.
We are, however, going to decorate this design in a rather unconventional manner. We start off with glass ornamental balls. Notice
the placement. We are deliberately going for an asymmetrical look, hence the glass balls on the right side of the design.
The effect is that of a strong concentration of balls with streamers shooting out in various directions. It is a very
A more subtle counterpoint is made by the addition of some flower jewelry. There are a number of items on the market
today, individual beads, beads attached to each other with wire, and even small imitation
gemstones, that may be collectively called "flower jewelry."
We are weaving some of these materials through the boxwood for contrast and interest.
The advantage of designing
in a foam base is that we can not only place our boxwood in a water granting media, but we
can also use flowers as well. Place seven carnations as shown in the photograph. More could be added, depending
upon how elaborate you want the use of flowers to be.
Also, will this be a one sided design or one meant to be
viewed at all angles? Obviously a design meant to be viewed all the way around (no one, front or back) will require
more than seven carnations.
Carnations work well here. Alternatively, roses,
gerbera, poinsettia or even anthurium could also be used quite nicely.
Notice in this shot that our decorations
are becoming a bit more complex
One of the joys of being a floral designer in the 21st century is that we have choice of supporting materials
that floral artists of the past could only dream about. To create a more dynamic display we've weaved gold 12 gauge
aluminum wire through the top part of the design.
To create a counterpoint to the gold wire, light 28 gauge bullion wire is also woven through the matrix.
The 28 guage wire is red. If you look carefully you will see it!
The wire is deliberately spun and woven providing interesting curves, nooks and crannies. It also provides a
dynamic feeling of three dimensionality to the unit. Notice the section jutting out to the left. That helps provide
a counterbalance to the silver glass balls that have been concentrated in the right side of the design.
It also gives the feeling of implied motion, of movement, as if the wind is playing a part in this creation!
We could stop at this point......But wait! There's more!!!
We complete this composition
by carefully weaving more flower jewelry through the top part of the arrangement.
Notice that this makes the overall composition far more visually complex....
What makes this design especially interesting, is that it is the kind of design that one could
study and contemplate for hours. The complexity of the wire and jewelry intertwining
create a complicated, contemporary visual treat!! Yet at the same time, we've kept within traditional holiday colors.
Once again let's look at the entire design.
It could be made using permanent botanicals if one wanted.
A design such as this would work well as a mantle decoration. It would look good in an entry hall.
It would also be great on a side table, or even in a Bay Window.
We hope that you really enjoyed this brief floral design lesson. At
Rittners Floral School in Boston we provide
floral design instruction that includes a wide range of different
styles and techniques. Please come and take one of our hands-on
Rittners Floral Education Center
returns you to our Floral Education Center.
Your Webmaster is Dr. Steve Rittner, who may be reached at Stevrt@tiac.net.
All photographs and text on
this page are Copyright - Rittners School,
and may not be reproduced, or used for any commercial purposes.