The Seattle Flower and Garden Show Design Competition is over. PHEW!!! But it was very educational, to say the least. The best thing to come out of it so far is an email I just received from a photographer for Floral Design Magazine. One of the pictures he took of my work is on the left and my design may be used! Before we go any further, I am going to go into the pros and cons of this competition. You may or may not want to read further!
First, let me say that I have done a good deal of judging in the world of art. The some of the criteria, across the board, is or should be, the following: creativity shown, use of technique, composition, use of materials. (That’s just for starters.) I won’t bore you with more.
Now then, there were designs at this competition that were truly exceptionally well done. The use of floral technique was of a high quality as was the creativity and composition, not to mention use of floral material! One in particular that stood out was “Pearl Harbor”. It should have received lst place and didn’t get any attention at all. I was totally disappointed in that judging call. The design to get first place was an Ikebana work of very high quality. The designer had taken grasses and made fascinating thick, organic shapes with it. She deserved an award.
Second place was given to a design which was well executed. It was a formal event design with a red rose covered floral ball placed on top of a stand of white calla lilies. The base was a box containing a pave of roses. Because of the lack of creativity and standard industry techniques it should not have received an award.
So much for my comments on the judging. On to the set up. (Oh boy, am I going to get in hot water for all of this!!) I haven’t been to the show in 6 0r 7 years. When I did go, the design competition, even the bonsai from the Seattle bonsai clubs, were always set up with a blank wall as a back drop. Look at the picture included here. What do you see? I will explain. The back ground is a bank of huge windows behind which is a lovely outdoor garden mazed with concrete walls of varying heights. The sun streams in through these windows all day long because they are South facing. Any cut flower receiving this much heat and light won’t last a day. Need I say more? But, of course, I will. A viewer, standing before a design, is hit in the face with the sun. When your eyes adjust, you have to decide where the design is. Out in the garden? No, it’s this dark shape in front of you…. Color is lost in this situation.
Lastly, the bank of windows zigzagged. It wasn’t a straight flat wall of windows. There were 19 designers. Each zig had approximately 4 to 5 designs set up on pedestals. Some of the designs were huge and ran into other designs, leaving no room or very little room in between. All the designs faced out into the main entrance area where the crowd would see them. But the last 3 designers were on the tail of the zag facing away from everything. Not only that, but a huge black movie screen had been set up and this little area behind the screen where the last designer works were set up was chock full of electrical wiring as big as snakes and feet thick going every where. This is not good. These are professional designers we are talking about. They deserve a professional presentation of their work.
I know I sound like a wet blank (to use nice terms) but these are ideas that should be considered by not only the show presenters, but viewers as well. And one last comment. Many competitors at any competition would feel very uncomfortable voicing an opinion, as I have. This happens for any number of reason, some of which are good and some which may not be. Just remember, if YOU, as an individual, see a wrong being committed, think of a way to make that wrong right. Too many people look the other way when they should step forward, when they could actually do a lot of good. Just try not to hurt another by your actions. Pipper