Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Paula Pryke enjoys an international reputation, and is best known for her innovative approach to floral design. She is author of "Flowers-the Complete Book of Floral Design." It features photos by Kevin Summers, and was published by Rizzoli International. Written for professional as well as budding floral designers, this book is essential for those wishing to add a new breath of life to conventional floral arrangements.
Refusing to be bound by the usual rules, she has come to be known as “the florist of the millennium.”
In addition to having a very successful floral design business in London, she also runs a floral design school.
This title is only one of her best-selling books on floral design.
Originally a history teacher, Pryke dreamed of having her own flower shop, which she established in 1988. She took the market by storm. Her first book appeared in the early 1990’s, and the rest is now history. She has been influenced by professionals in many facets of life.
In this volume, she provides all the basics one needs to know in order to create floral design. Most importantly, she explains that her main source of inspiration is nature itself, and she shows how other floral designers can do this. She encourages folks to imitate the natural flower shapes to create interesting designs of their own, using different colors and combinations. Among the examples she uses are the open style of the columbines, which inspired a symmetrical one-sided design. She gives directions for a mum lollipop tree that calls to mind colors and shapes seen in nature. To create interest, she repeats things like the color of the flowers, or the foliage.
An entire section is devoted to flower shapes. She discusses all of these, and explains how to get the desired effect. When necessary, she isn’t afraid to embellish upon nature. For example, in one design she sprays some leaves purple.
In the section on techniques and tools, she displays the tools of the trade, discussing all the different kinds of equipment and material one needs. She gives illustrated, step-by-step directions for each one, such as how to treat stems properly. At one time, experts recommended taking a hammer to certain kinds of stems. This is no longer standard practice, and Pryke explains why. Novices will love all the attention to detail she provides. Under her guidance, readers can learn the most difficult of steps. For example, she shows how to hand-tie a bunch with photos showing how this is done step-by-step. She also shows how to safely transport flowers by wrapping and putting them in wet paper.
One of the most useful techniques she explains is how to create fancy bows. As we all know, these are very expensive to buy. Using her easy to use directions, even novices can easily succeed.
So far as containers are concerned, she has many clever ideas on how to dress up and hide ugly ones. She covers them with various floral materials, such as rhododendron leaves and horsetail stalks.
In the section on arrangement styles, she shows examples and discusses seven kinds. These are so breathtaking it is hard to choose favorites. However, I do love one particular topiary made with autumn materials, such as squash and persimmons. This title presents over 80 different arrangements with examples to suit every taste.
Concerning the flowers themselves, Pryke particularly likes to work with gerberas. In the plant directory, she presents her all time favorite flowers and foliage favorites. Illustrated in full color, this features a hundred kinds with a profile of each, including the history, origin of the plant name, description, colors, varieties, vase life, scent, and ideas on usage. She shows finished designs with each plant.
For the arrangements, she has photos and step-by-step directions along with a list of materials needed. The arrangements are divided into two groups—classic and contemporary. The classic ones are updated and are by no means what we would consider conventional designs.
Judging from this book, we can continue to expect great things of Pryke.