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Masterpieces from nature.

ENVIRONMENTAL Art was a title I chose to research when studying my A-levels a long time ago. I was drawn to nature and the use of natural material, and have been intrigued by the concept ever since.

It was at this time that I came across the work of several environmental artists, including a local called Tim Pugh. I was so inspired by his work, his attention to detail with his chosen material and his relationship with nature itself, it was and still is nothing short of inspirational.

At the same time, I had also started to work in a flower shop and it was here that I began to consider the connection between environmental art and floristry. To me, although it was on a different scale of course, there was definitely an obvious connection.

Even though environmental artists and florists use similar natural materials, their approach is different. When art is situated in the environment, it often has an ephemeral quality - the materials are sourced on-site to create a design. It is then left to the weather, to melt or wash away and return to nature.

Florists also use similar natural materials, but they will work with that material out of context. The florist will manipulate, arrange, decorate and create a new narrative.

Floral works are generally used indoors and not within a natural setting, but then so is installation art.

Floristry is an art form and one day I would love to see a gallery exhibiting floral works as installations of floral art, rather than just flower arrangements.

This week at Northop College all the floristry students, from every level, are busy creating floral dresses to wear and exhibit on the catwalk in London at the World Skills event.

They will be gluing senecio leaves, threading hypericum berries, weaving ornamental grasses, rolling laurel leaves, stacking eucalyptus leaves and binding asparagus fern, to create floral hats, jackets, dresses, collars, skirts and even handbags.

Floristry relies on the use of hugely varied skills and techniques - it uses all the principles and elements of design to create masterpieces just like any other art form.

Art is defined as an expression of human creative skill and imagination, in paintings or sculptural form.

That is precisely what the florist does. Floristry must be considered not just as an arrangement to decorate the reception desk but as the gallery exhibit it deserves to be.

Making pretty hand-tied arrangements as a gift or as a wedding bouquet, or a pedestal design in church for a Sunday service is a highly skilled and vital part of a commercial floristry business.

There is also room however for the floral designer to have a stage on which to push boundaries and exhibit their skill as an artist.

diary dates today? Colwyn Bay Horticultural Society autumn show, 12.30pm-4pm at Rhos-on-Sea Methodist Church Hall monday. Eileen Barrowclough from Shipley gives a demonstration called Inspired By to Abergele and District Floral Club, St Paul''s Church Hall, 7.30pm ? Start of Grow Your Own Food 24-week course at Moelyci, near Bangor, 1pm-3pm. Details 01248 602793 tuesday? Jackie Charnock of Shrewsbury gives a demonstration called Interpretation with Imagination to Denbigh Floral Art Club, 7.30pm at Capel Mawr Vestry Shirley Roulston shows a collection of flora, fauna, birds and landscape photographs to Morfa Nefyn Gardening Club, 7.15pm at the Ganolfan wednesday? Head gardener's walk at Bodnant Garden, 10am. Must book on 01492 650460 ? Awen Jones will be giving a talk to the Tye Gwydr Gardening Club, 7pm at Cwm y Glo school. New members welcome thursday? Cynthia Preston Jones gives a demonstration called It's Written in The Stars to Maelor Garden Club, 7.30pm, at the War Memorial Club, Wrexham

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Sioned Rowlands with one of the floral dresses created by students at Northop College Picture: STACEY OLIVER
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 1, 2011
Words:638
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