Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Raffia is a natural for floral design. This floral material is so common we take it for granted.
Raffia is a very special material. This versatile, all-natural fiber comes from the leaves of certain kinds of palm trees. These grow in tropical Africa.
This is extracted mostly from the base of the foliage.
This material comes in a natural beige or tan as well as dyed colors, such as burgundy and dark green. The dyes may not be colorfast in sunlight. So, be wary of putting the completed project in an area where it will receive a lot of sun.
For the most part, raffia has a down-home look. It isnít used widely in formal floral designs.
Raffia lends a subtle rhythm to floral designs, especially if the twisted variety is used. This material calls attention to the very shape of the design. For example, when strands of raffia are used throughout the framework of an everlasting wreath or swag, this accentuates the outline of the design.
Raffia can also be used as an accent or adornment. For that purpose, a limited number of strands would be needed.
Raffia can be used with or without ribbon and bows. The natural colored raffia is suitable for almost every color scheme.
Raffia is sold in bundles. These contain a number of individual strands. They can be separated as you need them. Most floral design books will tell how many strands are needed for a given project. In some cases, a whole bundle may be used.
For accent, separate the strands and add them here and there on a wreath as a focal point. As a filler, use more strands and arrange these in large bunches throughout a wreath or design.
Raffia is suitable for both fresh and dried flower arrangements. This lends itself to most any type of design. These include topiary trees, swags, garlands, and flower baskets. It is also used for designs in vases and other containers.
This would also be suitable for filling gift baskets. So far as raffia is concerned, various kinds of wreaths are used for this. These include straw as well as grapevine.
This floral material is also suitable for seasonal designs, such as Christmas wreaths. Another use would be for mantles. For seasonal displays, start by placing strands of raffia from one end of the mantle to another. Then, arrange your seasonal items amongst the raffia. For Christmas, you could use fresh or dried fruits. For fall, small gourds would look beautiful. During the spring, use Easter eggs and birdsí nest.
This floral material can also be tied into bows. Use a good handful of the strands, and straighten these out until the ends are even. Holding the strands together, tie them into a bow.