One Container, Five Elements - Participation Guide
One Container, Five Elements is an online learning opportunity led with expert guidance by Mark Pampling. It is a stimulating course 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.
As with all of Flower Thinking's programs One Container, Five Elements focuses on 'thinking' about design principles and solutions. The course involves selecting one container and creating five (5) compositions with it, each with a spotlight on one element of design and the various possible relationships between the chosen container and the elements. Task will be followed by an online discussion which can be joined live or watched afterwards via a recording. Tasks and discussions are spaced over approximately a 5 month period and encourage individual expression, creativity and resourcefulness.
Purpose and Aims
The primary purpose of One Container, Five Elements is to provide an opportunity to grow through a strong focus on understanding and applying design knowledge – reviewing floral design theory and 'thinking' about how it's applied. 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 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.
One Container, Five Elements involves discussing, exploring and applying design principles in a series of five (5) set tasks. Participants will select one container and use it repeatedly across all tasks. Each task will put a focus on one of the five elements of design – line, colour, form, texture and space.
Each task will require working within broad specifications – parameters which still allow for ample creativity and individuality. The overall approach is designed to expand our thinking so that it is applicable to a wide variety of other design contexts and tasks. Concentrating on elements and principles and their application will improve and evolve each participant's overall creative process, analytical skills and design foundations.
The program will also have a focus on decision making in the design process. Participants will be provided with general guidelines for each task. Other decisions will be at the discretion of each designer, including material choices and mechanics.
- 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 will not pay particular attention to commercial designing. Commerciality/monetary economy will not be 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.
One Container, Five Elements 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.
- 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.
The course is a limited series of online meetings and prescribed tasks.
Each online meeting will run once at a specified time, and will be recorded at that time. You can join the live session or watch the recording at a later time. The recording will be released as soon as possible after the live session (usually within 24-48 hours) and be available for approximately one month after its release.
Eager participants can join both the live session and also watch the recorded version.
The first online meeting will be an introductory session to outline the course details and explain the first task (Task 1).Subsequent online meetings will involve discussing and evaluating the task designs.
After the first, introductory meeting, each online meeting will take 75 to 90 minutes (approximately).
Meeting #1 – Introduction. Explanation of container selection/use and Task 1.
Meeting #2 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 1. Explanation of Task 2.
Meeting #3 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 2.Explanation of Task 3.
Meeting #4 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 3. Explanation of Task 4.
Meeting #5 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 4. Explanation of Task 5.
Meeting #6 – Discussions and evaluations of Task 5.Conclusion.
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).
Discussions are mostly 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.
One Container, Five Elements 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:
Participants have a free choice of variety and 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.
Material choice is always very important in the design process. The intention of the course is for participants to take a considered approach to selecting and using material. Other than complying with task guidelines, participants have a free choice over the materials they incorporate into their designs.
Resourcefulness is encouraged. Task designs do not necessarily require exotic, expensive or precious materials. Completing design submissions with readily available materials that meet the task requirements is very acceptable.
Materials can be used in any quantity. Design submissions do not need to be elaborate and abundant. A modest approach is very appropriate and can often result in better learning.
Technical Materials and Accessories
The creation of designs for each task are may involve the use of sundry components, props and/or accessories. Participants also have free choice of the non-horticultural materials required to create their designs.
Participants are required to select one container and use the same container for each task.This provides exciting challenges in finding ways to use the container and in exploring various designs styles, whilst focusing on a different design element during each task.
- The choice of container is important; however, almost all container options are possible. Participants are encouraged to select a vessel with qualities (size, shape/form, texture and colour) that make it adaptable to a variety of design styles.
The set tasks/designs are not necessarily difficult.Each task will have some core guidelines, and then the design choices will be mostly yours – from simple to complex, minimalist to abundant, etc. You will have a relatively free choice of most aspects of your designs.
You are asked to create five designs. Enthusiastic participants may make additional designs to submit for each task. This is possible but not necessary or suggested. Additional designs 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.
There will be five practical tasks in the course. Participants are required to complete all tasks.Details of the five tasks will be outlined separately to this document. Each task will use the same container and focus on a particular element of design:
Your container + colour
- Your container + line
- Your container + space
- Your container + form
- Your container + texture
Craftsmanship and Techniques
Participants are encouraged to use their existing skills and practical experience to create designs. Whilst complex or sophisticated techniques and craftsmanship are welcomed, they are not required or expected. The focus will be more on design theory than on technical solutions.
The program may also be a chance to try new skills with advice and support from the course facilitator.
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.
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).
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.
- 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).
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.
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 course is delivered in English. All communications for the course are presented and accepted in English.
All supporting documents, images and notes are shared via email and/or file sharing services (e.g. WeTransfer).
Enrolment 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:
Following or searching the above 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.
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:
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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.
One Container, Five Elements is led by Mark Pampling*:
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
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