Tinkering with vegetative materials

[email protected] florist Rita Van Gansbeke finds her inspiration in the world surrounding her, especially in nature itself. Flowers, leaves, pods and branches all feed her imagination. “I look for elements in nature that I use together with the flowers to create something that is unique.”

What do you enjoy about the fall?

“I just love those colours and smells, they are just wonderful. And if the sun happens to also be shining, there’s nothing better. I love seeing that spectrum of colours. Nature really soothes my soul, especially in times like these.”

What natural materials do you like to work with this season?

“This fall for me will be an ode to the plane tree, a tree that keeps its leaves for a long time. For the [email protected] – Special Autumn I made a creation with a disc of a tree trunk and some plane tree leaves (Platanus). I also added beautiful orchids between the leaves. It truly is a creation with wonderful fall colours! For those who want to make this creation more suitable for Christmas, I can suggest spray-painting the ends of the leaf-stems gold and adding some small lights. You can finish the design with pearls.”

The new edition of [email protected] features some more of your unique creations. Which floral arrangement stands out for you the most?

“The floral arrangement with the dancing pods. I think it works really well; it could actually be the most beautiful thing I have ever made. It has gone around the world because the first time I made it was for Fleuramour in Alden-Biesen. I want to include it in the new ‘International Floral Art 2020/2021’ of Stichting Kunstboek (a biennial book that comprises state-of-the-art floral arrangement). I’ll know more about that next year.”

“The students and the workshop attendees love the duo of the burlap wreaths in wooden frames. It is a sturdy arrangement that can be easily hung in the living room for a number of years, and that is also very important.”

How did the dancing pod creation come about?

“I think the best creations are spontaneous and not very laborious. We’ve had Wisteria in the garden for years. Last year, there were a lot of pods on it. You can recognise the female shape in lots of these pods. So I picked some, went to my studio and started working with some materials that were lying around. I gave the pods feet out of some stub wire. When you give something feet, you give it a human dimension. Then I made some paper hats in the shape of a flower. It was ready in a flash. This year I had another bunch of them, so I started working with them again.”

Can we say that nature is your greatest source of inspiration?

“Definitely, I’m a farm girl, and my parents were florists. Real floral artistry wasn’t really around back then, but my mother did fill the flower boxes with the right types of flower combinations and made some wonderful creations for All Saints’ Day with natural materials. Nature has a lot to offer. Besides, I don’t have that many flowers in my shop. So I look for elements in nature that I use together with the flowers to create something that is unique.”

Thank you so much for this lovely conversation, Rita.


>> Order [email protected] – Special Autumn in the FLEUR bookshop.

With in this issue over 70 original do-it-yourself ideas for autumn, winter and Christmas!

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