Design Solutions - Extended Information

Course Overview

Design Solutions is an online learning opportunity led with expert guidance by Mark Pampling. It is an intereactive program for those designers, florists and floral artists who are eager to continue advancing their skills through the application of floral design knowledge to a selection of practical tasks.

The course concentrates on thinking about design - understanding and applying design knowledge. Design Solutions involves four practical tasks with a focus on creating more impact with fewer varieties of plant materials. Tasks will be followed by online discussions which can be joined live or watched afterwards via a recording. Tasks and discussions are spaced over approximately a 3 month period and encourage individual expression, creativity and resourcefulness.

Purpose and Aims

A significant purpose of the course is to provide opportunities for everyone involved to grow through a focus on understanding and applying design knowledge – floral design theory. Learning about the elements and principles of design, and how they are applied, is a never ending and valuable journey.

The aim of the course is to provide a shared, communal, supportive platform to take each person's current practice to the next level. Where each person starts and finishes will be different – different, but in each case improved. A secondary, and important, purpose of the course is to give participants a chance to immerse themselves in high level design processes, and to enjoy the experience.

Design Solutions involves discussing, exploring and applying design principles in a series of four set tasks. Material choices for each task are restricted to encourage a focused and resourceful approach.

The practical assignments encourage you to work with limited varieties of material. This overall approach is designed to expand (not narrow) your thinking so that your learning is applicable to many, many other design contexts or tasks. Concentrating on design principles and their application improves and evolves your overall creative process and solidifies your design foundations.

The program has a focus on decision making in the design process, and on being disciplined about material choices (keeping the variety limited). This 'less is more' approach encourages growth and confidence – working with less in order to build your ability to answer your own design issues and create floral designs wth more impact.

Please note:

  • The course will not be concerned with the boundaries of 'Floristry' or 'Floral Art'.It WILL be concerned with the much broader, widely encompassing area of 'Floral Design'. This means that designs will be created with a specific context or purpose but will not be confined to a budget (Floristry) or an artistic interpretation/expression (Floral Art).
  • The course does not pay particular attention to commercial designing. Commerciality/monetary economy is not a primary focus of the group. (It may be incorporated into individual practice and discussed, if desired/requested.)

We take this broad approach to learning believing that it is expansive and very beneficial, and that the learning can be readily transferred back to commercial or artistic contexts, as required.

Overall, the course aims to be a positive experience. The goal is for all participants to finish with a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of increased design confidence.

The course does not focus on learning manual techniques and skills. Participants are encouraged to use their existing skills, on a level at which they are confident (from simple to sophisticated – free choice). Technical solutions can be discussed and shared as the need arises throughout the course.

Design Solutions evolved from a previous Flower Thinking program (Design Discipline) based on valued feedback from previous participants. We have kept the core of the previous course while expanding the material choices.

Aims

Design Directions involves discussing, exploring and applying design principles in a series of five set tasks.

Each task requires working within given specifications – parameters which still allow for ample creativity and individuality. The overall approach is designed to expand (not narrow) your thinking so that it is applicable to a wide variety of other design contexts and tasks. Concentrating on design principles and their application evolves each participant's overall creative process, analytical skills and design foundations.

The program is focused on decision making in the design process. Participants are provided with core parameters to guide their approach to each task. Other decisions are at the discretion of each designer, including material choices and mechanics.

Please note:

  • The course is not concerned with the boundaries of Floristry or Floral Art. It IS concerned with the much broader, widely encompassing area of Floral Design.This means that designs are and will be created with a specific context or purpose that is not confined to a budget (Floristry) or an artistic interpretation/expression (Floral Art).
  • The course does not pay particular attention to commercial designing. Commerciality/monetary economy are not a primary focus of the group. (It may be incorporated into individual practice and discussed, if desired/requested.)

We take this broad approach to learning because we believe that it is expansive and very beneficial, and that the lessons learnt can be readily transferred back to commercial or artistic contexts, as required.

Overall, the course aims to be a positive experience. The goal is for all participants to finish with a sense of satisfaction and a feeling of increased design confidence.

The course does not focus on learning manual techniques and skills. Participants are encouraged to use their existing skills, on a level at which they are confident (from simple to sophisticated – free choice). Technical solutions can be discussed and shared as the need arises throughout the course.

Format

The course is a limited series of online meetings and prescribed tasks.

Online Meetings

Each online meeting is run once at a specified time, and is recorded at that time. You can join the live session or watch the recording at a later time. The recording is released as soon as possible after the live session (usually within 24-48 hours) and available for approximately one month after its release.

And of course, you can join both the live session and also watch the recorded version.

The first online meeting is an introductory session to outline the course details and explains the first task (Task 1). Subsequent online meetings involve discussing and evaluating the task designs.

After the first, introductory meeting, each online meeting takes 75 to 90 minutes (approximately).

  • Meeting #1 – Introduction. Explanation of Task 1.
  • Meeting #2 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 1. Explanation of Task 2.
  • Meeting #3 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 2. Explanations of Task 3 and 4.
  • Meeting #4 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 3. Review of concepts for Task 4.
  • Meeting #5 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 4. Conclusion.

Prescribed Tasks

Prescribed tasks are done in your own time between meetings. Each task is discussed during the online meetings – both before the tasks are undertaken (explanation) and after completion (evaluation).

For each task, participants are required to make a design to prescribed specifications. Once created, participants are to photograph their design and submit 1 to 5 photographs of it 48 hours BEFORE the following live online meeting. Where possible, all designs will be shared online during the session by the facilitator (and/or shared beforehand for contemplation/evaluation).

Reference Points

Discussions are mostly be based on commonly accepted floral design theory, but may have a wider range (time dependent).

The following elements of design is important, especially with reference to material choices:

  • Form, line, colour, space and texture.

Evaluation of designs is primarily based around how the materials (elements of the design) are used/coordinated (how the principles of design are applied). Primarily these will include:

  • Balance, Rhythm, Contrast, Dominance, Proportions, Scale, Harmony
  • Discussions on the application of design principles may also extend to:
  • Distribution of materials – even/uneven, traditional/contemporary.
  • Material prioritisation – decorative, vegetative, formal-linear.
  • Line systems of organising materials – radial, parallel, overlapping, winding, free.
  • The direction of proportions and line directions – upwards, downwards, horizontally, symmetrically/equally.
  • Alignment with the context/purpose of the design.
  • The expression of feelings/emotions through design choices.
  • Botanical choices and their relevance.

Learning Level

Design Directions is not a course for beginners.

It is assumed that participants are generally familiar with foundational floral design theory and its application.

The course is suitable for those participants with experience in general floristry, floral art, flower arranging and/or basic floral design techniques.It will be delivered at a high level whilst also accommodating those with intermediate level experience.

The course is not suitable to participants with very limited or no hands on experience working with flowers.

Recommended References & Books

  • Principles of Floral Design, Gregor Lersch, FLORALDESIGNEDITION, 1999, revised 2009
  • Sources of Creativity: Ways to Inspirations, Gregor Lersch, Floral Design Edition, 2004. (Out of print – second hand copies may be available online)

You are not required to possess or access the listed references. They are offered as suggestions for further reading and excellent sources for ongoing learning.

Principles of Floral Design can be purchased at:

http://gregorlersch.de/book-shop

Plant Materials

Material choice is always very important in the design process. The intention of the course is for participants to generally (but not necessarily always) to take a considered and resourceful approach to selecting and using material. Other than complying with task guidelines, you have a free choice over the materials they incorporate into their designs. You have a free choice of quantity of materials. Horticultural materials should be prioritised in the practical tasks, and may be used fresh, dried and/or preserved. The use of artificial botanical materials is discouraged.

The course asks you to select two materials and to explore their qualities and the ways they can be used together to produce harmonious floral designs for the four set tasks. You are required to select your 'preferred materials' and to work with those choices repeatedly across the task challenges – to choose your materials before the first task and to stick with them through the whole course (if possible). Working with a set material combination repeatedly will help put a focus on design decisions rather than on material choices (although, material choices will still be very important). Circumstances change and material supply may vary, so it is also possible to base tasks around different preferred materials. There will still be much to be gained.

You are asked to create four designs. Enthusiastic participants may also create additional task designs (with the same selection of different preferred materials). This is possible but not necessary or suggested. Additional designs created by participants will only be included in online meetings and evaluations where time permits. Every effort will be made to evaluate all submissions where possible, in meetings, discussions or follow up notes.

Resourcefulness is a key point. Working with what is at hand, what is readily available, is beneficial, economical and encouraged.

Minimising choice in material quantity is helpful, but it is not the only solution. Using materials in abundance may also be a valid design choice for certain compositions and may be more appropriate depending on the characteristics of your preferred materials.

Other, additional materials should be contained to a minimum. Containers may be used – preferably of neutral colour, texture, shape, form and/or pertinent to the context.

Each participant:

  • Chooses two horticultural materials – each preferably a single variety, in one colour or variegation, fresh, dried and/or preserved
  • Commits to producing a design for each of the set tasks, featuring their preferred materials, and prioritising horticultural materials over sundry materials in most instances – this is variable depending on the design/task and the characteristics of the preferred materials.

Notes on materials:

If possible, choose 'preferred materials' that you have ready access to, preferably in plentiful quantity – but not necessarily, as scarcity can also assist in exploring possible design solutions. If you have a generous quantity available it may also allow you to practise and to make more mistakes – which is always good for learning.

The following are some examples of materials that you might consider:

Carnations (Dianthus), Sansiveria, Philodendron Xanadu, Strelitzia flowers, Strelitzia leaves, Flax (Phormium), Roses, Anthuriums, Steel Grass (Xanthorrhoea), Willow (Salix), Craspedia, Pine Cones, Apples, Proteas, Paper Bark (Melaleuca), Eucalyptus Bark, Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia), Brunia, Typha/Bulrushes, Typha leaves, Succulents (one variety, e.g. Echeveria), Celosia, Liriope, Bamboo, Amaranthus, Ivy (Hedera), Gladioli, Gypsophilia, Palm spades, Pine needles, Magnolia leaves, Rubber tree plant leaves (Ficus), etc., etc., etc.

Choosing materials with more structural components may give you more design options (e.g. carnations have the whole flower, the individual petals, the calyx, sepals, the stems, the leaves ….. whereas Frangipani flowers have just the bloom). You can also choose a plant variety, and use the leaves, stems, flowers, seed pods, etc. to give you more options. Remember, however, that too much choice can sometimes lead to frustration and indecision.

Usually, the larger the material, the larger the resulting designs – but not necessarily. Scale could be explored more intensely, particularly by choosing a very large or a very small material (e.g. Crab Claw Heliconia or Poppy Seeds, respectively).

Choose materials that you are relatively familiar with (but not necessarily) and that you will be happy to continue with even when it seems all design options might be exhausted. You can, of course, switch materials if you need.

There are no 'wrong' choices. Some materials may be less versatile and more challenging than others. Other materials will be much more straight-forward to work with. Think carefully about your choices before making a final decision.

Keep seasonality in mind. The course is offered over an extended long period, so the accessibility to very seasonal materials may be limited (e.g. they may not be available or blooming for the entire duration of the course activities, e.g. Peony, etc.).

Other Materials

The aim is to use your preferred materials predominantly. Other horticultural materials can be incorporated – in the majority of cases they may need to be incorporated for valid design reasons and ease of creation. Other materials can be used in subordinate or purposeful roles, with an aim to keeping them to a minimum. Using other materials may contribute required variety (for contrast, dominance, rhythm, etc.) depending on the task. In each case the selected 'preferred materials' should be at the forefront in the creative process and the completed design (where possible).

Technical Materials and Accessories

The creation of designs for each task involves the use of sundry components, various mechanics, containers, props and/or accessories. Participants also have free choice of the non-horticultural materials required to create their designs.

Tasks

The set tasks/designs are not necessarily difficult. Each task has some guidelines and parameters, and then the design choices are mostly yours – from simple to complex, traditional to contemporary, minimalist to abundant, etc. You have a relatively free choice of most aspects for your designs.

There are four practical tasks in the course. Participants are required to complete all tasks. Details of the four tasks are outlined separately to this document. Tasks include:

  • An arrangement
  • A bridal design
  • A wreath design
  • An overlapping design

Technology

The course is delivered through Google Meet – a free and widely accessible meeting platform that allows for various forms of interaction and presentation styles.

All participants need to have access to a device that accommodates the Google Meet platform, e.g. laptop/PC with web cam/iPad/iPhone/etc., and an internet connection (at their own provision/expense). Participants may be required to download/install the Google Meet app to continue with the course. Flower Thinking will aim to support your use of the technology by answering as many connectivity questions as we are able. You may be required to outsource any additional support if we are unable to resolve certain technical issues. In advance of each online session, you will receive an email link to attend the meeting.

Our experience with the Google Meet platform has proved that it is simple, reliable and easy to access. Previous participants have reported that the supplied links and joining process were easy to follow. We will disseminate links to the recorded meeting sessions via email. The recordings will be available via a website/online portal (e.g. YouTube).

Photography and Task Submissions

You are required to submit images of your designs by email to the facilitator by a specified time and date.

Images are to be in colour and of medium resolution.Suggested image file size is between 1MB to 3MB. You do not require professionally produced or curated photos. Clear images of the design against a plain background that accurately portray the important qualities of the design are best.

Commitments

Full value and success from the course will be gained by consistent contributions and the commitment of all parties involved. The following points are not an exhaustive list, but offer details on expectations and outcomes.

Flower Thinking's Commitments

Flower Thinking provides/offers:

  • Course coordination and instruction, along with accompany guidelines, communication, support and documentation.
  • Course facilitation.
  • Oversight, professional guidance and encouragement from the course facilitator.
  • Feedback about contributed designs and design evaluations.
  • Task examples (images).

Your Commitments

An open and flexible attitude to learning.

  • A commitment to participate – to spend time on creating, photographing and submitting tasks.
  • Own materials, tools and working facilities to create designs for tasks (own expense).
  • Own equipment and technological connections to join meetings and share digital images/documents as required (own expense).
  • Ability to take and share digital images of designs (e.g. camera, smart phone, help of a friend, etc.) (at own expense).
  • Feedback (optional and appreciated) to Flower Thinking about the course format and content.

Your Gains

  • High level experience in floral design evaluation activities, tasks and learning.
  • Practice in designing and creating floral compositions within specified parameters.
  • Digital certificate of completion (dependent on 100% submission of tasks).

Training Outcomes

This course is an independent educational event and is not directly aligned to any specific training standards (in Australia or Internationally). Participants will receive recognition by Flower Thinking Pty Ltd of complete participation via a digital certificate.

While the course will be conducted at a high level of floral design, it does not involve any formal assessment or accreditation.

Class Size

Online workshops are limited to a maximum of twelve participants. Places are assigned on a first come, first served basis. When all places are taken, subsequent registrations are placed on a waiting list and potential registrants are advised as soon as possible if a place becomes available.

* Flower Thinking reserves the right to adjust course capacity/participant numbers based on their sole assessment of the ability to deliver quality learning and interaction with the whole group.

Communications & Sharing

This Design Discipline Course is delivered in English. All communications for the course are presented and accepted in English.

Flower Thinking is based in Australia. All listed times and dates equate to Sydney time (Time Zone = AEST or EADT, standard or daylight saving time, as appropriate to the time of year).

All supporting documents, images and notes are shared via email and/or file sharing services (e.g. WeTransfer).

nrolment and participation in the course will be taken as consent to share participants' names and course input (images, sketches, notes, etc.) with all members of the enrolled group. Participants’ private information is be not shared within or outside the group without express permission.

Enrolment in the course is taken as permission for Flower Thinking to use images of course designs and submissions for the purposes of:

  • Marketing activities
  • Social media postings
  • Course notes

Flower Thinking will acknowledge designers/photographers wherever possible.

Participants who do not wish to have their submissions shared are required to submit this request in writing to Flower Thinking (contact details below).

Participants are encouraged to share their designs on social media, as desired. Using the following hashtag will enable all course participants to access each other's shared posts easily:

#floraldesigndirections

#designdirections

Following or searching the following hashtags on Instagram and Facebook will help provide you with images of designs produced for tasks in previous Flower Thinking courses that have also had a focus on the application of floral design principles:

#floraldesigndiscipline

#designdiscipline

Time Zone

Flower Thinking is based in Australia.

All listed times and dates equate to Sydney time (Time Zone = AEST or AEDT, standard or daylight saving time, as appropriate to the time of year).

We find this website useful for checking the time in different timezones:

https://www.worldtimebuddy.com/

Email Subscription

The platform that we use for course email communications requires recipients to be subscribed to our mailing list.

If you're not already subscribed, could you please subscribe to our list here.

You can always unsubscribe when the course is complete, if you want to.

If you remain subscribed, you will receive one newsletter from us per month, usually on the 15th.

Course Facilitator

Design Directions is led by Mark Pampling*:

www.markpampling.com

www.instagram.com/markpampling

Mark is a Master Florist, International Floral Designer and Demonstrator, World Champion competitor in Floral Design competitions and a teacher with extensive experience in floristry and floral design education. He is frequently published in International flower magazines and has contributed to several books.

Mark is a Floral Fundamentals Ambassador, an Interflora Judge (National and International) and he is well versed in all aspects of most parts of the flower world, such as retail floristry, floral art/flower arranging and exhibition events.

* Flower Thinking reserves the right to change the Course Facilitator if required due to unforeseen circumstances and/or to include additional Facilitators for the purposes of enhanced discussion, training and/or accommodating course capacity.

Cancellations & Refunds

Questions

I'm very happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have.

The best way to reach me is through the Contact Us form on this website, or via email at business@flowerthinking.com