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Rose Arranging 101 - Modern Arrangements
Jane Melville, ARS Accredited Arrangement Judge and TCRS Member

Modern or "creative" designs are related to all other designs by definition. In any design, one organizes floral materials to obtain an arrangement of beauty, harmony, distinction, and expressiveness. The traditional design can be used as a foundation for the modern design. The traditional design uses traditional containers with flowers placed by size and color, the largest size nearer the center or "focal point", and the more intense colors placed within the framework of t he design. The smaller-sized flowers and lighter-colored flowers are place beyond the framework (outside) of the focal point. There is a signal focal point in the arrangement and filler material issued to fill out the contours of the design.

Modern design is eclectic; it combines different styles, colors, and materials. Space is incorporated in the design by placement of the materials used. There may be more than one focal point or center of interest and filler material is not used, as the basic line design is most important. Plant material may be trimmed, bent, clipped, twisted, or folded to obtain different shapes. Fresh plant material may never by colored or dyed but dried material that is colored or dyed is often u sed.

The best way to see this is by looking at two examples as shown below. In the line design, by altering treatment of the leaves an placement of the flowers, it changes from a traditional to a modern design. In the line-mass design, using he same conta iner and some of the same materials, the design is changed by using purple (or any color you like) painted dried branches. By tying knots into the leaves and by having two focal pints, it becomes a modern design.

The usual rules of size of the design in relation to the size of the container still apply. Whichever is largest - height or width - of the container, a rule of thumb is 1.5 to 3 times that measurement. A 12 inch container requires a minimum of 18 inches and a maximum of 36 inches in height. Light, airy material and fine grasses used for your line can reach to 3 times, while more visually heavy flowers, branches, etc. should be closer to 1.5 times. Step back and squint your eyes; does it look to short and squat or too top heavy? Vary your placement until it looks balanced.

A drawing of 
a traditional line form

Traditional Line
-Single focal point

-Natural use of flowers and foliage

-Larger flower close to container

A drawing of the modern line form

Modern Line
-Folded Leaves

-Flowers placed up and away from container lip

-Two focal areas

-May use unusual containers

Traditional Line-Mass
-Single focal point

-Use of filler material

-Natural use of flowers and foliage

-Larger flowers close to container

Modern Line-Mass
-Dried branches e.g. painted purple

-Enclosed space or opened areas

-Knots tied in leaves

-Two focal areas

-e.g. Hot pink colored flowers for contrast with purple branches

-May use unusal conatiners

drawing of a traditional line mass form A
drawing of the modern line mass form

Photo of an example from the TCRS 2000 show of Class 5
To the right is an example from the TCRS 2000 show of Class 5 "Lost Horizon": Modern Horizontal Line-Mass Design.

Photo of an example from the TCRS
2000 show of Class 6 'Today and Tomorrow': Modern Design using
two containers

Above is an example from the TCRS 2000 show of Class 6 "Today and Tomorrow": Modern Design using two containers.

Photo of an example from the TCRS 2001 show of
Photo of an example from the TCRS 2001 show of "The Twist": Modern Design

This page last updated: May 24, 2002.
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