A Floristry Insight

I was asked by a friend to help her complete her Floristry Design college assignment.

The questions were about the ‘principles’ and ‘elements’ of floral design and mentioned certain techniques in relation to various floral displays. Not knowing what these elements and principles were I hastily jotted them down so we could refer to these ‘rules’ in the answers.


Principles – Balance, Scale, Proportion, Dominance, Contrast, Rhythm, Harmony.

Elements – Form, Space, Texture, Colour.

The florist uses these principles to create designs using symmetry, space, repetition, colour definition and contrasts.  As I glanced back and forth at my notes I realised (late to the party – duh!) that all these principles and elements are used in every form of creativity.  Photography, sculpture, performance arts, painting, drawing, cooking, songwriting and all handicrafts as well as in sport; all the rules apply.

In songwriting we look for the ‘space’ between the notes, the rhythms and harmonies, the dominance of certain voices or the density of the instruments (equalisation/tone) and we look at the juxtaposition of chords, form (arrangement/repetition of chorus) and the vividness of the sounds (colour and texture).  Lyrically we use techniques such as contrast and repetition and musically we look at vowel sounds over certain chords and scales and the proportions of verse and chorus lines to structure the arrangement. Then we aim to balance voices and instruments within the stereo image (mix).

In my photography I’m seeking a balance between the ‘hero’, the central character that the eye is initially drawn; a building, a person etc, and the supporting cast of other objects within the frame. (Music composition does this too). Contrast and tone play important roles as does dominance, scale and proportion. The distance, depth of field and texture contribute to the overall rhythm of the piece as does the harmony of the elements within the image (background, repetition, space, symmetry). The same can be said of a piece of sculpture or, for instance jewellery, where space, dominance and proportion contribute to how the piece ‘works’.  Painting uses the same formula as does prose writing or doing a sporting activity, whether it be in a solo capacity or in teamwork.

And then the notes I had made kept coming back to me.

I began to look at these principles and elements as pointers to the way we live.  Seeking balance, harmony and substance. Elements of our lives can appear as a thin veneer yet other parts of our life-experiences are vivid and have density, weight and give a sense of proportion. We look for structure and form to give our lives meaning and use space to ponder, reflect and relax.  There can be symmetry and repetition during our lives, in our work for example. Our memories contain colour; sometimes faded or possessing hues of an intense value. Continuity gives us rhythm, a scale and a beat. How we are, our psychological make-up, can be seen in the principles and elements of our design; our DNA and genetic build; symmetry and repetition.

In difficult emotional moments, time can seem heavy and turgid yet we wish our lightest happiest days could last forever. Perspective and viewpoint are intrinsic and important values to hold. The fleeting, translucent, opaqueness of life.

If we are lucky enough to be in a position to make choices then we seem to gravitate to these principals and elements and move away from unharmonious incidents or recoil from invasions of our personal ‘space’.

A ‘well balanced’ person has a good blend of these attributes; everything in moderation, everything in proportion. However, bullies are over dominant. Narcissists don’t understand personal space and see other people as ‘usable’ extensions of themselves.  An anxious or addictive personality might put an over-emphasis on repetitive mechanisms that are unharmonious to themselves or others.

Much like a bouquet the passages of our lives can be closed like a posy, as complicated as a finely sculptured chaplet and as beautiful as a funeral display. A life going full circle like a wreath. Life reflecting art and vice versa.  Great artists makes it look easy.

(And eventually, like a flower, we wither)…..

Connections 20 Jan 2020

Connections 20

From the last song in Connections 19, ‘Catherine Howard’ by Rick Wakeman, we followed percussionist Frank Ricotti to

“He Can Only Hold Her’ by Amy Winehouse from her Back To Black LP (2006). Members of The Dap-kings played on the track so we followed Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Dave Guy and Thomas Brenneck to

‘I’ll Still Be True’ by Sharon Jones & The Dap-kings. From there we took Neal Sugarman on to

“Uptown Funk’ by Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars. We could then follow Mars as a songwriter on

“Forget You’ by Ceelo Green. On Green’s Ladykiller LP (2010) was programmer/bassist Tony Reyes so we followed him to

‘Makes Me Wanna Pray’ by Christina Aguilera.  The sample used on the song was from Steve Winwwod who also played live on this track so we followed Steve Winwood to the original song

‘Glad’ from the Traffic LP John Barleycorn Must die (1970).  Traffic drummer Jim Capaldi wrote some of the lyrics on

‘This Is Reggae Music’ by Zap Pow.  Guitarist Dwight Pinkney co-wrote the song so we traced him to

‘Return To Django’ by The Upsetters in 1969.  Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry produced and co-wrote the track so we followed Perry as the co-songwriter (with Junior Murvin) to a cover version of their song.

‘Police & Thieves’ by The Clash.



Connections 19 Dec 2019


Connections 19


From “I Feel For You’ by Chaka Khan we followed the songwriter

Prince to his first recorded output in 1977 by 94 East on a song called ‘Just Another Sucker’.  Colonel Abrams was the lead singer of 94 East so that led us to

Colonel Abrams singing “Trapped’ in 1985 produced by Richard Burgess who we then followed to his band

Landscape playing ‘Einstein Ago-go’ in 1981.  John Walters was also a band member so we traced him as producer for

The Michael Gibbs Orchestra on the 1988 tune ‘Adult’.  We follow Michael Gibbs as he did the orchestration on the LP for

Peter Gabriel on “Salisbury Hill’ from his debut in 1977. We then moved guitarist Steve Hunter on to

Alice Cooper singing ‘Generation Landside’ from the 1973 Billion Dollar Babies LP. Marc Bolan was a guest on the LP so we followed him to

‘Get It On’ by T.Rex from the Electric Warrior album.  On keyboards was

Rick Wakeman, so we finished the show with his track “Catherine Howard’ from Six Wives of Henry VIII done in 1973

Connections 20 in Jan 2020 will follow on from that track!