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How to bring Rhythm into flower arrangements

by priscyy

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Rhythm within a flower arrangement gives movement and continuity, which enable the finished design to be viewed easily and stimulate interest. This perceived movement can come from colour through the design or from the line or shape of a particular piece of foliage providing a strong visual line along which the eye is drawn. A good example of this is the flowing, gently curved shape of bear grass, which adds greatly to any design, or the sharp straight lines of broom, which will lift an arrangement with such a strong vertical line that it appears to soar upwards. A bouquet with this rising movement in the Blakeworth flowers by post range is 'Lampton wonder' which has just been added to the shop recently. Rhythm thus gives  movement and excitement, without which the arrangement is solid, ordinary and fragmented.
Other elements also contribute to effective rhythm: repetition and radiation. They might not be particularly important individually, but as a whole they can greatly change and improve an arrangement.
Repetition can be achieved by forming pattern lines or groupings of material within a design. Usually the same type and colour of flower is grouped together; similar shapes positioned together will have the same effect. A pattern line of spray carnations can extend from the topmost bud in an arrangement down through the design and diagonally off to one side at the base. Likewise a line of distinctive flowers like irises can be placed through an arrangement from the point of a symmetrical triangle down to the focal area, which is formed by grouped irises. This focal area can then be strengthened by the addition of one or two large laves such as hosta or bergenia. A finer or divided leaf like fern or ruscus would not add the necessary strength to the central group that the larger leaves do. This grouping of materials and of colour forms continuous threads through the arrangement of flowers that give the impression of movement. Repetition or placement of several groups of the same flower can also achieve this. Some flowers by their very size, shape or colour can be too dominant in a design if grouped strictly in a pattern line, as they would stand out from the surrounding smaller, lighter flowers.
 Transitional flowers are those whose size bridges the gap from small to larger blooms. An example of this would be spray carnations at the top of a flower arrangement, dahlias at the base and carnation blooms in between the two. A gradual change in size is achieved, and the repetition of the same circular flower shape ensures a smooth transition. Transitional flowers and shapes are important to a study of rhythm as they compliment the pattern lines of a design, therefore allowing the eye to travel easily from one pattern grouping to the next. Generally speaking, this transition should be as gentle and unobtrusive as possible.
 Colour pays an important part in achieving transition. By using tints, tones and shades, stronger, brighter colours can be blended together effectively to form a pleasing mix of flowers that would otherwise overshadow the rest of the design. Gerbera are a good example of this. The perfect circles of the flower command attention even if pastel colours are used. For flowers such as these, small individual groupings within the display are more effective than a complete pattern line. Three blooms together on one side above the focal area and five or seven flowers diagonally opposite below the focal area form a far more pleasing design than a complete line. The uneven numbers of three, five or seven blooms achieve visual balance because of their positions within the flower arrangement, the lesser number being higher in the display than the larger number, helping with an upward movement.

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