Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
American culture doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It has absorbed many influences, particularly from Europe and Britain. This is the case for gardening and also for floral design. Our lives become richer in this process. Among the most influential designers with roots in Europe is award winning designer Rene van Rems. A native of the Netherlands, he has now adopted America as his home.
In the last twenty years his impact on floral design has been far reaching. He travels far and wide in North America, Europe, and Asia, presenting workshops, master classes, and shows. He is eagerly sought by leading art museums, horticultural groups, symposia, conventions, and other events as a key note speaker. He has bridged the gap between the consumer and the professional floral industry to further the cause of flowers. Without a doubt, this floral designer has single-handedly accomplished more than any other individual.
For some years, he served as director of promotion for the California Cut Flower Commission. He has received numerous awards, including the very first Rene van Rems Award for Excellence in Design Education in 2001, given by the Los Angeles Flower Market.
Various American magazines have presented his floral design work. Among these are Sunset Magazine, and Better Homes and Gardens. In addition, he has appeared on HGTV. For most designers, this would be more than enough. However, this artist has also founded a new organization, the Institute of Floral Arts and Sciences in Vista, California. He also serves as its president. This non-profit provides educational opportunities for those in the floral industry.
Van Rems began his formal floral education at the renowned Aalsmeer Floral Institute in the Netherlands. After coming to the U.S. as an exchange student,
he also studied at the American Institute of Floral Designers.
He now shares his wealth of knowledge and artistry in a wonderful new book.
He has written the definitive book on Euro design, “Rene’s Bouquets-A Guide to Euro-Style Hand-Tied Bouquets.” This bilingual title features text in both English and Spanish. It was published by Rene van Rems International. It is so inspirational that you won’t be able to take in all the ideas in one setting. This is a reference you’ll turn to again and again. It is available as a softcover. The hardcover copies sold out very quickly.
This title is suitable for both novice and experienced designers alike. Those new to design will delight in the fact that the author provides all the basics one needs on all aspects of selecting, arranging, and displaying the flowers. In addition, he presents an engrossing history of how these floral arrangements originated, how they have evolved over the years, and how they are used today in the home.
Lushly illustrated in full color, “Rene’s Bouquets” devotes an entire chapter to preserving vase life. The author also focuses on how these distinctive bouquets can be displayed. He gives wonderful examples of how carefully chosen containers bring out the unique beauty of the bouquets.
In his capable hands, the seemingly ordinary bouquet becomes an art form. He sheds light on all the various kinds of bouquets and how they are created. An entire chapter is devoted to techniques for the spiral bouquets with fully illustrated, step by step instructions.
For each of the six or so kinds of bouquets, he presents numerous designs, and an in-depth discussion of the principles involved. Among the designs are laced bouquets, parallel bouquets, and armature bouquets. He also offers faux-tied techniques that can be used for short and weak-stemmed flowers. In each successive chapter, the bouquets become increasingly sophisticated.
This designer’s attention to detail is legendary. This is obvious in the
final chapter. There he reveals techniques that enhance the beauty of individual flowers within the bouquets, such as wrapping.