I'm Coral Shortt, running my own flower business Epanouir Flower Studio in Cape Town. Here in South Africa floral design has its own style, different from what's normal in Europe. I learned from amazing teachers and designers including, Gregor Lersch, Françoise Weeks, Susan McLeary, and more, and I also finished the educational program EMC ( European Master Certification). I can proudly call myself an EMC Conscious Creative Designer. All those influences I try to incorporate in my designs here in South Africa.
Inspired by my attendance of several Gregor Lersch 5 days/5 stories, I wanted to create a floral design that incorporated the European style but with an African context and flora. The European school of design is not widely known or practiced in South Africa, so it was a risk creating these initially, as I was not sure who would enjoy or appreciate them. But I got much fulfillment out of creating them and trying out new concepts and mechanics/techniques in the process.
How to Design
The design started with a woven spiderweb-style bouquet frame. My respect for designers who practice European design increased massively when I saw how long it took to weave just this one frame – but the beauty of the frame is that it is reusable and can be painted and used in various ways without recreating the same design twice.
African Flowers Like Safari Sunset
South African flora such as proteas and leucadendron are certainly known and appreciated outside of South Africa but are often styled in a way that has become cliched. And Herr Lersch challenged us South African designers to ‘make proteas sexy’. Our indigenous flora is a challenge to use in floral design, especially a bouquet, as they have thick, woody stems and can be quite heavy as botanicals go, but they are long-lasting out of water.
However, when using the most suitable techniques, they can be a pleasure to design with and to design in a more modern way. Removing the foliage from the Leucadendron Salignum Safari Sunset and gluing these onto the frame individually, is certainly one way to add the textures, shape, and color of the botanical, but with minimal weight added. And this also allows a certain amount of transparency to remain in the bouquet made with more modern techniques than a hand-tied for example.
The bouquet was designed in winter when colors are often moody and muted. And it was shot on a particularly cold winter's day up in the mountains of Cape Town. So the warm palette of browns, oranges, and deep reds was a great color combination to use for a winter-inspired design.
African Sunset in Winter
Winter sunset in Africa is something to behold – and inspired the name of the Leucodendron used in this design – called Safari Sunset. The dust in our air is often credited for the very vivid colors in our sky when the sun sets in winter. As it creates beautiful layers of intense color that can mostly be appreciated from one of our wide-open spaces.
Enjoy this bit of African winter warmth.