World-class floral designer Hitomi Gilliam uses her imagination to perch on the rim of her floral design bases and looks up at how the flowers have been arranged. If she likes what she sees, her work is done.
With whimsical insights such as that, Gilliam had a sellout crowd of roughly 200 in the palm of her talented hands Wednesday at the Boca Grande Garden Club meeting in the Community Center Auditorium.
She was also practical. Gilliam offered a two-part scenario for successful floral design.
Hitomi Gilliam designs floral arrangements to highlight flowers.
2)Make it pretty.
She peppered her patter with time- and money-saving tips and humorous observations. Her shipped flowers arrived only one hour before showtime so she gathered indigenous outdoor material to use in case they did not make it. She worked the foliage seamlessly into her talk.
Who: Rebecca Sweet, "Vertical Gardening, Ornamental and Edible"
What: Boca Grande Garden Club
When: 1 p.m. March 6
Where: Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium
Why: What's New In Floral Design?
Cost: $25 for members, RSVPs required
Contact: Kay Ferland at (941) 924-7328
You should know: book sale and signing following presentation
"I really try to make designing easier for people," she said. "Everything I do has an Asian design element to it. If a flower should be showcased, your design should let it be featured."
Her native Japan believes in spare floral designs. So does she.
"It's reductionism," she said. "Get it to the perfect design."
The biggest gaffe floral designers engage in is trying to right-size a production immediately.
"That's a real mistake," Gilliam said. "You're not taking advantage of the maximum effect you can get out of it. You can always cut it back. You can't make it grow again. Don't make a final judgment on the size , proportion and scale of the arrangement until you get it where it's going to be.""
Her scientist father was not thrilled Gilliam chose her line of work, she said. But it's hard to argue with her credentials now.
A mega-star in the world of floral design - one of only seven recipients in the world of the American Institute of Floral Designers' prestigious Design Influence Awards -
Gilliam's presentation involved "What's New In Floral Design?"
Gilliam's arrangement tips include:
Use water over foam for more versatile, focused presentation
Armature, a support structure for the flowers, helps move arrangements without having them fall apart.
Two items in floral design are flat. Three makes for depth.
Manipulate foliage if it is unwieldy. Gilliam shredded a balky leaf in half as an example and wove the material into a cascading design.
Using foam, water and rock to anchor designs "is really a fantastic mechanic."
When using bind wire to hold flowers, wrap the wire around your hand and clip it top and bottom rather than trying to clip pieces one at a time.
n "Water pearls hold moisture in as a great top dressing. Just don't make the error of dropping them down a drain as they will expand. Great for hydroponics and orchids.
U Glu is great for securing floral designs. Use non-stick titanium scissors only to cut glue.
In other club news:
Jodie Pearah was nominated to succeed Nora Lea Reefe as BGCC president. Other nominees for office: Barbara Stirling, vice president; Sarah Daly, first vice president; Kittie Cross; Sharon Cruz; Mary Anne Hooker, treasurer; and Angie humbarger, assistant treasurer.
Club officer voting will take place in the March meeting with installation in April.