Crescent Design

I took a beginning-level floral design workshop two years ago through my local garden club. When I could not attend class on the day we studied Crescent Design, my teacher invited me to return for a make-up class. Yesterday I finally made it back.

Crescent is a fun design to make and everyone’s arrangements turned out well. All designs shared the basic crescent form, yet we commented how different each result was. Given that we started with the same instructions and same materials, each person’s unique approach was apparent.

The crescent design is asymmetrical. Think of the way the crescent moon looks. The longer curve is usually on the left in this design.

Crescent Design

Crescent Design

We formed the line of the crescent using stems of Israeli Ruscus and Bells of Ireland. Bells of Ireland have some natural curve and the ruscus can be slowly bent to encourage it into shape. It does not mean it is easy to keep that line curving though. Next the line was reinforced with flowers. We used spray roses, alstroemeria, and several sizes of carnations. The largest carnations were reserved to create a focal point near the bottom.

Left curve of crescent. Line was formed using Israeli Ruscus and Bells of Ireland.

Left curve of crescent. Line was formed using Israeli Ruscus and Bells of Ireland.

In a class like this the atmosphere is a bit frenzied since there is a limited amount of time to complete the assignment.  I always think I could have fixed this or that with a bit more time and even before I photographed the flowers I could see some changes that would improve the design. I let the bottom of the crescent become a little too heavy and should have left some negative space to help keep the eye moving from one side of the crescent to the other.

Nevertheless I was excited by the result.

Bottom of the crescent ended up a bit heavy.

Bottom of the crescent ended up a bit heavy.

I brought home some leftover flowers and several stems of Ruscus so I can play with crescent design some more this week.

Materials

3 stems Ruscus sp. (hypoglossum or hypophyllum) (Israeli Ruscus)
3 stems Moluccella laevis (Bells of Ireland)
3 stems White Spray Roses – petite flowers, 3 to 5 flowers per stem
3 stems White Large Carnations – one large flower per stem
3-4 stems White Spray Carnations (Mini Carnations) – many smaller flowers
3 stems Green Dwarf flowered Carnations – several small flowers on one stem
3 stems Alstroemeria (Peruvian lily)
6-inch clear, shallow dish
Floral foam brick

Carnations, Bells of Ireland and Alstroemeria

Carnations, Bells of Ireland and Alstroemeria

Lesson Notes

The instructor began the lesson by introducing two design principles, dominance and contrast, along with two design elements, color and texture. From last time she also reviewed the principles of balance and rhythm and the elements, color and form. We looked at many examples in the textbook and had an interesting discussion about why they worked. (Interestingly, some of the examples, we agreed, did not really work successfully and it was helpful to have the teacher and the other two women who were assisting her point out some quibbles they saw with some of the arrangements pictured in our book.)

It is hard to keep all these concepts in mind once flowers are in hand, but over time reviewing these design principles and elements improves and refines our sensibilities and taste.

Elements of Design
In flower arranging the basic design components or building blocks are balance, contrast, dominance, proportion, rhythm, scale.

Principles of Design
The principles guide how the elements are structured or arranged, leading to a cohesive design (color, form, line, space, texture).

Crescent Design

Crescent Design

As I mentioned today’s workshop was a make-up class from the beginner level class. Actually this year I am taking the second level workshop series and I look forward to meeting with that class next week. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to study with the women from the garden club who conduct these classes for the members.

28 thoughts on “Crescent Design

  1. Christina

    I am very envious that you are able to attend a class like this,I have to rely on the internet! The arrangement is very sophisticated as Pauline says and I am also grateful that you reminded me I should sow some Bells of Ireland.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      I do feel lucky Christina. The instructor who organizes these classes and another woman who helps out are both active flower arrangers and judges for flower shows. They are extremely generous to volunteer their knowledge and time. Bells of Ireland is often used in arrangements. I should try to grow them too.

      Reply
  2. Julie

    Susie, your arrangement is very accomplished and beautiful, I love the combination of textures and I can see the elements you describe in your design too. I wish we had something like that here – well we do but at a staggering price, running into thousands of pounds at our local college. I am glad you are sharing this, its so helpful.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Julie. That would be a staggering price indeed. We garden club members only pay for our materials–the teaching is a volunteer effort. Very lucky for me and much appreciated. Glad you enjoyed the details. I like to place notes for myself sometimes and hope it doesn’t make the posts too long.

      Reply
      1. Julie

        Susie, we are lucky you are sharing your notes, they are really helpful. And what a wonderful club you belong to that shares skills voluntarily.

  3. Chloris

    Thank you for sharing this technique with us. Your arrangement is beautiful. I used to grow Bells of Ireland, you have reminded me to grow them again. I love green flowers and they are wonderful for flower arrangements.
    I look forward to seeing some more lovely arrangements from you as you continue with your course.

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you. One year a neighbor gave me Bells of Ireland from her garden, armfuls really. This was before I did much arranging, and they lasted for a long while. I was fascinated by their structure and should grow some too. My teacher always warns they don’t last well unless they’re misted frequently and I have had mixed results with the purchased ones. Apparently they also turn toward the light, which can be a challenge if you’re trying to get it to establish a line with it.

      Reply
  4. Marian St.Clair

    The green and white is so fresh and appealing just now when we are swallowed up with mud and gray skies. You’re arrangement turned out very well and I loved hearing about the process, though I don’t think I could do it!

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks Marian. I know you could do it, especially with the supportive environment of this classroom. (And I’ve seen your artistic flair!) It’s gray here too, fortunately not too much ice.

      Reply
  5. Libby Wilkie

    I love this…the Bells of Ireland are just so fresh. And I love your lighting here in the photos: you’ve really caught the “dark and moody” feel which is so popular! Someday, I might have to look into these classes…

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thank you Libby. I used some black material leftover from on of my daughter’s art shows and it was so wrinkled. I’m so lazy I wasn’t about to iron it and really had to work to get a couple of good shots. Yes, do look into the classes–such a great opportunity.

      Reply
  6. Cathy

    What a lovely arrangement. Like one or two others, I’m reminded to grow Bells of Ireland again. And wow, I presume from your list of materials that no wire was used in the arrangement, just the natural curve of the plants?

    Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks! You’re right Cathy, no wire in the arrangement. You can gently bend the ruscus into a curve and Bells of Ireland has a little curve. Good luck growing some Bells of Ireland. I don’t usually do many seeds, but perhaps I should try them also.

      Reply
    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Thanks so much. The arrangement still looks fresh after more than a week. The teacher selected the flowers and foliage and I wonder if having fewer colors helps us students concentrate on the shape.

      Reply

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