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Inspiration from a material

emc designer floral design floral education inspiration techniques and mechanics Apr 17, 2023

Wool in floral designs

Seeing potential and finding inspiration from EMC Educational Team 

To see potential in a material you design with means that you recognise its inherent qualities and characteristics, and you are able to envision how these properties can be utilised to achieve a desired design outcome. This requires a deep understanding of the material, including its physical properties, durability, texture, and color, as well as an appreciation for its unique aesthetic qualities and potential for expression.

For example, a textile designer may see potential in a particular fabric based on its drape, texture, and color. They may envision how this fabric could be used to create a flowing, lightweight garment, or a structured, tailored piece. Alternatively, an industrial designer may see potential in a particular material, such as metal or plastic, based on its strength, durability, and malleability. They may envision how this material could be shaped and manipulated to create a functional and aesthetically pleasing object.

Seeing potential in a material requires a combination of technical knowledge and creative vision, as well as a willingness to experiment and take risks. By recognising the unique qualities and potential of different materials, designers are able to create innovative and inspiring designs that push the boundaries of what is possible.

Same goes for floral designers. In EMC we teach our students about the importance of seeing potential in the materials they work with, botanical or non-botanical. Seeing potential does not limit to the physical characteristics of the used material, but also to the story behind it, which is always a great source of inspiration. The designs featured in this blog were created by the Coaches of the EMC Educational team after visiting the Lehner Wolle factory in Austria in 2022, during our annual team building. It was a great time we have spend on the premises of this producer of wool products as we not only learned a lot about the process behind the product, but also because we had the opportunity to test and work with so many materials that are all made of this natural component. Here are some of the designs EMC Coaches have created and the thought process behind seeing potential shared as a side story to each design. 

Floral design is not only about the final picture of the beautiful piece that was created, but also about how the mind of the designer works before the hands actually execute the floral piece. 

 

"The first thing that attracted me to this product was the story behind it. The idea of recycling old currency bills and transforming them into small decorative flakes that are later integrated into the felt is so trendy and cool. It’s not just a sustainable idea because of the physical recycling and repurposing, it is also symbolically fantastic. The colour of the felt is neutral, and the addition of the small flakes of money simply takes it into a new dimension, offering little bits and pieces of colour that allow one to play in virtually any colour scheme. It’s such a discreet addition of a wide range of tones, especially since the currency I used on the felt is EURO and those bills come in all colours … The size of the flakes don’t disturb the overall neutrality of the felt, they just offer that detail that invites the viewer closer to discover more and more.

The cool part about this felt is also that the distribution of money flakes is quite random, so in a roll of felt you can easily find portions and sides that are more crowded with colour and others that are more discreet. You get to choose which side to place where there is more visibility. The felt has a natural adherent characteristic and botanicals that are very light and dry, like the Chasmanthium latifolium I have used, can easily be put on the felt and ensure a stability. It will not work for pieces that need to be transported but it offers a great advantage for final touch up that are made last minute on location." Diana Toma, EMC Coach 

 

"My inspiration was to work from geometric forms, from those in a purer way (evident, for example, in the circular metal structure) to botanical materials that gradually move closer or further away to those purer forms. Anthurium and leaves that have more obvious similarities with geometric forms as long as manipulation of non-botanical materials that play and complement each other. The rectangular bi-color felt, due to its shape, was the perfect material to create the base construction from which to project the rest of the composition. Thus fulfilling both a functional and aesthetic effect.

The felt has a different shade of green on each of its faces, each one easily recognisable in nature. Colours that can be worked with botanical material with absolute ease as they blend perfectly. The thickness is also a benefit in that it is firm enough to support and create a construction, thinking of both 2D and 3D structures. Also working with white felt, which has the advantage of having a wire in the centre, opens up a world of possibilities as it allows for visual movement as well as allowing materials to be held within the design..

The product has a degree of elasticity as one of its characteristics, which at the time of moulding it, gives the possibility of extending its length. In the case of bicolor felt, with the thickness that it has, it allows stretching, extending and moulding it to achieve the desired shape." Francisca Perez, EMC Coach 

 

"The inspiration for this design was the Stylo BR50, This product's color and texture imitate wood tones, And The cylindrical shape/form of this wool reminded me of a small trunk and branches of trees. The product was cut into small pieces of similar size and thickness to tree branches, mixing them all with the rough and polished textures of the wood. 

The potential I saw using this product was how easy it was to manipulate; the neutral colours provide a rich, natural finish while keeping the decorated aspect of it. These products easily wrap around other materials if attached and can be left hanging for a cascading effect; inserting thick wires will help create static lines/parallel lines or curve/dynamic lines. Cutting and gluing is as simple as cutting paper and creating infinite shapes; these products are easy to use, and any person, no matter their age, can use them; the gamma of colours and textures will provide multiple ways of use. When used with hot glue, hold the product until the bond is solid to prevent gaps and none desired spaces." Jorge Uribe, EMC Coach 

 

"I enjoy exploring and paying attention to the fascinating shapes, lines, colours and textures of the vegetation and all natural elements created by Mother Nature. They are amazing sources of artistic inspiration and nurturing the soul. The felt cord inspired me to emulate botanical roots and in a sense this was my inspiration for using the product in the design. The shape, colours and textures of Lehner’s Stylo felt cords can be used or coiled to create both geometric or organic shapes. 

The felt cord is flexible and very receptive to wire insertion. Adding wire to the cord provides stability and flexibility for bending and shaping. The felt cord can be combined with other felt products using the felting technique or attaching to other surfaces using the gluing technique. The waterproof cord is also a plus especially when adding water source for the botanicals. 

Insert wire into the cord to add stability and support.The wire provides flexibility for bending and shaping. It’s a good product for adding lines and movements in a design." Sherene S. Tan, EMC Coach

 

"My inspiration is the pure element of the wool itself, raw and natural. It’s very appealing to use this material with recycled and organic material to create sustainable designs. The neutral colors make it very appealing for natural designs. I see a wealth of possibility to use it alone and in combination with other materials to come up with new ideas. The strength in this material is the fact that it is porous and easily adheres to surfaces with glue. This gives the opportunity to apply to so many different types of surfaces. It could also be used with more organic glues to make a more organic design. 

I recycled cardboard toilet paper tubes to create my design, along with repurposed cymbidium orchid tubes. Hot glue was used attach the strips of wood easily and quickly. Cut lengths of wool were wrapped and glued off the surface, and the tucked and glued into each end of the cardboard tubes." Keith Stanley, EMC Coach 

 

"In some cultures, money roll-ups are used as a gift in itself, for celebrations such as weddings, baptisms etc. It symbolises good luck, fortune and it's a fun way to present a gift as that person does not only receive that particular value of the money, but also the freedom of choosing something they truly like or need. It is a fun, functional and decorative gift all in one.  The concept behind the money felt makes this product unique. It's a perfect combination of fun, functional and decorative in one product. Real money used into a eco-friendly way opens doors to give more meaning to your design. The product is not loosing a single bit of its functionality as a wool felt. 

From a practical perspective, the felt is hard enough to coil it. Also, one does not have to worry when reaching or dipped into the water, as it is absorbing it slowly without dripping and releases it back. It is easy to cut and create the edges as needed and hot glue works fantastic to connect the ends. This is a great concept suitable for a great marketing campaign for florists as well. Some products sell themselves! 

Hot glue works directly and quickly on the felt. Cut some edges according to different angles to get more 'movement' in the arrangement. Repetition of same technique in implementation is key in this design, just as much as cutting the pieces from the felt in roughly the same size but slightly different widths creates dynamism and adds a touch of uniqueness." Tomas De Bruyne, EMC Lead Instructor 

 

 

 

 

 

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