February already and how lovely it was to get together for our first meeting of 2012.
Our first demonstration of the year was given by Maureen Manning and her title for the evening was “Warm and Cosy by the Firelight”. Maureen is a Past President of Inverurie Flower Club, a Founder Member of “Northern Lights”, the North East’s contemporary floral group, and has recently finished her term of office as Chair of SAFAS JDES Committee.
Maureen’s first arrangement was “A Walk in the Woods” and for this she donned a warm hat and shawl around her shoulders, then led us on a walk through her woods picking a selection of material as we went. Broom, different coloured cornus, alder and willow which was just dripping with lichen (Maureen passed some branches around the room which allowed everybody to really see and feel the texture of the lovely material she was using). The collected branches and twigs were all piled into a stunning glass vase and this in itself would have been an attractive arrangement. To bring out the colours in the vase green “Anastasia” chrysanthemum and dark red “Grand Prix” roses were added giving a glorious finished arrangement.
Having been for our walk it was now time to warm up by the fire, a black coal scuttle provided the ideal container for this arrangement; loops of dark phormium gave an impression of coals, orange rattan, cornus stripped of its bark and a lovely gold rose became the flames, red roses were recessed into the design at a lower level and an orange rose lower down gave us glowing embers; a few balls of white sisal in the depths of the design represented the ashes of the fire and looking into the completed arrangement you could almost feel a warm glow coming from it.
With her next design Maureen showed us how easy it is to create an elegant arrangement containing nightlights to sit on a low coffee table. Using one piece of an Oasis® ring, which she had cut in half, she swiftly greened it up with pieces of hebe; into this a few short cut red roses were placed and that was it! This semi-circle was then placed in a gorgeous low round dish, dark on the outside, the colour of shiny dark red Chinese lacquer on the inside, with a nightlight placed in a matching holder creating an enchanting arrangement. Maureen then utilised the other half of the Oasis® ring to create exactly the same arrangement except this time she used yellow roses and placed the arrangement and nightlights in clear glass dishes showing how one idea can be adapted simply by using a different colour flower and dish.
“Marmalade” was the title of the next arrangement and for this design it was just flowers and no foliage. Using a lovely polished “jeely” pan Maureen created a massed design using orange roses. These were placed low in the container and interspersed with the heads of small red carnations, representing the marmalade bubbling in the pot. Sugar sticks scattered through the flowers finished another simple yet stylish design.
Next a large white pasta bowl, which had been given a revamp with the some craft paint, was the container. Above the floral foam Maureen set two hoops which she had crafted by wrapping raffia around a frame. Into the space created by one of the hoops she massed yellow roses which complemented the lilacs and purples of the raffia hoops.
Finally Maureen created a long arrangement to sit on the mantelpiece which showed the influence of continental parallel designs. The foliage in Maureen’s design tapered down in height from left to right and into this she placed “Anastasia” chrysanthemums, “Avalanche” roses, white alstroemeria and a touch of white gypsophila. The finished arrangement was placed against a mirror which gave it added sparkle - a really elegant arrangement suggesting a frosty day.
At the beginning of the evening Maureen told us that she could talk and she could arrange, but not both together – we had to disagree though as she demonstrated and chatted away simultaneously, entertaining us in a refreshingly relaxed style which was a lovely start to the year.