By Debra Smith Special to The Herald
The public can see the work of some of the top floral designers in the state at a show organized by the Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs scheduled for Everett next week.
This is a competitive show that draws talented designers from all corners of the state. More than a hundred garden clubs are involved.
One local designer, Becky Brewer, plans to show her work at the show. She’s a third-generation floral designer who has won awards for her work since she was 9 years old. Brewer has her own business, Designs by Becky.
Floral design is an art and a creative endeavor, Brewer said. She prefers streamlined, more abstract designs. She offered some basic tips that apply to any type of arrangement so you can give it a try. Most of what you need can be found at a craft store or around the house.
Start with a focal point or a theme. It could be an interesting corkscrew willow branch or a dried seed head. Anything that strikes the designer’s fancy might do, and she often finds inspiration around her home or garden.
Sometimes, especially if she is designing for a show, she’ll use a more general theme or idea such as “falling leaves” to get the creative juices flowing.
Choose a vessel. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a vase. She’s arranged flowers on a hunk of driftwood and even an old compact disc holder.
The container should be in proportion to the overall design. A bouquet should be about one-and-half times the height of the vase.
Buy healthy blooms. Many grocery stores offer a decent selection of single flowers for sale. Opt for those with longer stems if possible; there’s more to work with that way. When you get home, trim about a half inch off the base of the stems and place in water and floral preservative.
Keep flowers in place inside the vessel with a florist foam block. Some craft stores also carry flat metal spiked pieces that hold flowers in place. If using a foam block, soak in water and push in the stems.
Think about texture. Textures add character to arrangements and can come in the form of a vase with an interesting finish as well as the other plant material used in the design. It’s OK, too, to go with a simplistic design: a plain vase and monochromatic blooms.
Start with taller blooms. As a general rule, she places smaller blooms with longer stems in first and then fills in larger blooms at the base of the design. Keep colors complementary; a color wheel can help.
Fill in with greenery. Just about any evergreen plant in the yard could work, or even houseplant leaves. Think beyond ferns to cypress boughs and hosta leaves.
Do what pleases you. Whatever is beautiful for you is perfect, Brewer said. Floral arranging is a lot of trial and error. Don’t be afraid to try something different.
The Washington State Federation of Garden Clubs’ annual flower show, “Winter Dreaming,” runs 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday at the Holiday Inn, 3105 Pine St. Everett.
Tickets are free, but show organizers are asking for an $8 donation in advance or $10 at the door. Children 12 and younger are free. Advance tickets are available at 3632 Broadway, Everett and 207728 Highway 99, Lynnwood.