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Basic Flower Arranging October 25 2016

Have you ever watched a florist at work and thought “I wish I could do that”.   Well, if you follow just a few simple rules, then it is possible for you to create your own floral masterpieces. Here is a brief introductory, to guide you in the basics of flower arranging….

Brainstorming is the first essential step in any creative process. Depending on where you intend on placing your flowers, consider whether you need to build your bouquet vertically or horizontally. For horizontal arrangements, use a shallow vase or container.

      

You should also think about the shape of your arrangement (oval, triangle, etc.).  Vase dimensions can also play a part in the stem length and base row configuration.  For vertical arrangements, make sure the flowers are at least 1.5 times the height of the vase or container. Large-scale arrangements can have an interesting effect, but make sure they are proportional to your container.

 

Stems of artificial flowers can be arranged into groups,  preferably in uneven numbers, as this gives a more pleasing presentation.

Start by placing the large flowers towards the centre and the small flowers in the outer areas. For a symmetrical arrangement, cut the stems gradually shorter as you work away from the centre. You can fill in your arrangement with foliage, extra stems, or leaves, depending on the look you are going for. 

  

As you build, take a step back every once in a while to make sure no empty spots or holes need to be filled.  If you are having difficulty handling a large arrangement you could try working in segments which can be loosely wired together, starting with the top and working to the base. When you are happy with each segment’s dimensions and flower positioning, tighten your wiring to fix the segment within the arrangement. 

 

Remember that arrangements may have uniform air (or space) between each bloom, leaf or other component, and can look good. Arrangements can look like a classic fountain, pointing up at the top and hanging down at the base. Of course arrangements don’t have to follow any rules as long as they look as intended. Stems should never be bent like an elbow, but should be curved (usually less at the top and more at the base of an arrangement).

When you are almost finished your arrangement, STOP. Go away and do something else, as working too close or long with an arrangement can commonly give a false impression of incompleteness. When you come back in say 20 minutes or so, it may well now look finished!

Arrangements should be displayed with the observer or audience in mind. Sometimes less is more, that is, a simple sparse arrangement can look better than lots of blooms crammed together. Artistic curves and spacing, can look just as good as bulk flowers. Thoughtful arrangement can save dollars and look great. Google Ikebana for some inspiration.

 

Flower arrangement location can save too. If an arrangement is against a wall or mirror then the front half of the arrangement is only needed, as the back is lost to the wall, and a mirror can multiply decoration. The same goes for corner decorations.

 

If you have multiple arrangements to make, then you may want to make some cardboard &/or wire patterns, so you know what to use and how much to curve the stems in each segment, so you have some uniformity of look.

 

Sometimes Stems have to be separated, lengthened or shortened to get the desired look, so some tools and consumables are required for this:

Wire, of strength that will support the desired length of stem

Stemming tape green

Other tools:

Light cable ties

Fuse wire

Light or craft tie wire

Wire cutters

Fine pliers

Tape measure

Hot melt glue gun and glue stick/s

 

Remember if you have to cut a stem shorter. Always cut conservatively (less off) at first, as you can always cut more off, but you can't easily add more back on!

 

Take a look at our large variety of artificial flowers HERE, where you can select your favourite colours and varieties to create your dream arrangement.

 

If you are feeling too timid to give floral arrangement a go, we’ve got you covered. In addition to our beautiful pre-made arrangements we are always happy to make a custom posy with your choice of selected flowers.

Happy Arranging!


Methods of Attachment for Floral Decorations October 19 2016

Imagine that you have just received a delivery.  A beautiful selection of artificial flowers. They are just as stunning as you imagined them, and they are going to create exactly the look you are after in your home. You may want to place them in a vase. Or perhaps you have something a bit more creative in mind...This article will help you with decisions regarding how to effectively ATTACH Artificial Flower Decorations.


An important part of decorating with artificial flowers and foliage, apart from the actual arranging, is making them stay, where they are intended. On walls, ceilings, posts, plasterboard, arches, marquee poles, arbours, church pews, tables, pedestals, trellis, framework, etc.. 

'Decorations can be attached to objects temporarily or permanently.'

Temporary attachments are particularly useful for events such as weddings and birthdays either in your home or at hired venues. For example - Artificial Flower or Foliage Garlands for weddings. It is important to choose the right method of attachment so when temporary decorations are removed, maybe after hours, a day or a week, the item being decorated should not be damaged.

Permanent Artificial Flower Decorations are usually used for the life of the object to be decorated, or of the decoration itself. For example: a cafe - foliage walls, a tavern - grape garlands with grape bunches, a wedding reception centre with an arch, floral chandelier or backdrop or one off advertising props. 

Permanent decoration, ‘methods of attachment’ may be more invasive than temporary decorations because it is intended to be attached to the support object for the life of the display. 

It may be important that the ‘Methods of Attachment’ are effectively invisible to the observer. Also, always remember the heavier the decoration, the stronger the attachment needed.


Below are lists of examples of Permanent and Temporary - ‘Methods of Attachment’


Permanent ‘Methods of Attachment’
  1. Nails, screws, bolts and tacks

  2. Liquid nails ™ or similar (and appropriate clamping devices for positioning while curing)

  3. Plywood support boards

  4. Hot melt glue

  5. Silicone

  6. Staple or tack gun

  7. Ceiling hooks

  8. Support framework


Temporary ‘Methods of Attachment’

  1. Ribbon, string, light tie wire, nursery wire or fuse wire

  2. Fishing line

  3. Drawing pins, thumb tacks, opened office stapler

  4. *Velcro ™

  5. Blue Tac ™

  6. 3M commander ™ velcro or hook uninvasive removable adhesive systems

  7. Paper clips

  8. Adhesive tapes, packing tape, electrical tape, stem tape

  9. Gravity, ballast (heavy pots)

  10. Vases and pots

  11. *Magnets and magnetic metals

  12. Needle and thread

  13. Brooch or safety pin/s

  14. *Bulldog clips and pegs

  15. Thick or thin decorative fabric ties or sashes (Hessian, Satin, Organza, etc)

  16. Cable ties

  17. Tent pegs, star piquets (outdoor)

  18. Elastic bands or ribbon

  19. *Conduit tube (to support stems, clusters or posies)

  20. Helium balloons

  21. Styrofoam, plumbers foam, florist foam

  22. A mixture of the above


* = Methods of attachment that are quickly removable and reattachable


My Fair Lady October 11 2016

Have we mentioned that we made many flowers for costumes in the current production of My Fair Lady - showing at the Sydney Opera House.  No? Well let me enlighten you.....

We were lucky enough to work with the wonderfully talented John David Ridge - costume designer extraordinaire! Our little crew worked for several months creating some fabulous and beautiful blooms that are now appearing on a nightly basis as a integral part of John's costumes. 

Recently star of the show Anna O'Byrne shared a pic on instagram that showed off our 'loverlee' violets. We felt just a bit chuffed and thought we would share it.

If you haven't seen My Fair Lady yet then stop procrastinating and grab your tickets. And don't forget to pay special attention to the costume flowers! 


Spring Carnival Fashion August 31 2016

Tomorrow is the first day of Spring! That means that the Spring Racing Carnival is upon us. Skipping merrily hand in hand with Spring Fever is our great sporting nation's voracious appetite for Modern, Glamorous and Sophisticated Fashion. 

 

What could be more glamorous than a statement floral headpiece or corsage! At Bradford Potter Silk Flowers, we have the ability to create custom flowers, so your head is adorned this spring in a unique fashion piece that has been created to suit your tastes and individuality. 

  

Of course we also have some ready to wear items for those who are in a hurry or creatively challenged. Take a look at our collection of custom flowers, head pieces or fascinators.

  

For lovers of DIY take a look at our vintage flower collection. You will love our range of gorgeous vintage flowers some dating back to the 1940's! There is something for everyone there and oh-so affordable. 

 

Not to forget the fellas. We also have a great collection of lapel pins and boutonnieres so the chaps can look their dapper best! Guys, check out our custom flowers too as they can all be adapted with the addition of a lapel pin. 

  
  

If you are in a floral quandary, give us a call. One of our experienced floral artisans can help you design the fashion piece of your dreams. Call us today (1300 745 535)  or drop us an email (info@silkflowers.com.au).


Custom Silk Artificial Flowers July 22 2016

Here at Bradford Potter Silk Flowers we hand craft beautiful silk and artificial flowers to our customer’s specifications. Sounds easy right? But what exactly does the process involve from concept to completed product? First of all, we consult with our clients and if possible look at pictures and fabric swatches to determine what their requirements are and make sure we have the same vision as them.  Then the fun starts!

  

Our team of floral artisans treat the required fabrics with a special solution before cutting out the petal and foliage shapes. Next the petals are heat treated using time honoured methods and vintage brass hand tools that were made in Germany in the early 1900’s.

  

 

 

 

 

 

Depending on the flower we then move on to combining all the pieces of the flowers – the stamens, petals and calyx – and arranging them into exquisite detailing for fashion, millenary, bridal couture or costumes for the stage and screen.

  

 If you are interested in seeing some of our work on stage, check out My Fair Lady - soon to be opening at the beautiful Sydney Opera House. We had a lovely time working with Tony Award Nominee John David Ridge who designed the costumes for the upcoming production. It was such an honour to bring his floral visions to reality and a joy to watch him work.

 

 We created many flowers for My Fair Lady, several of which we had never before attempted. We do love a challenge! Of course you may just need a one off piece for a costume or special occasion. We can do that too! Over the years we have created many stunning custom flowers for bridal couture including gown embellishments, head pieces, mother of the bride corsages, lapel pins and venue decorations. Bradford Potter are one of the very few specialist manufacturers of custom artificial flowers in the world. Since 1924 we have been supplying happy customers with exceptional products and our friendly, professional service.

  

Weddings, couture, stage, screen, special events and gifts. There is always a reason to feel special and individual wearing custom artificial flowers created just for you. If you would like to talk to us about some custom flowers, then give us a call or contact us by email.

 

When emailing please feel free to include pictures of your desired flowers – even if they are real – as we can replicate most flowers using our specialty equipment.  We love to meet with you too, and we love to custom design flowers that can become ‘your own trademark flower’. Think of them as a business card for your fashion pieces.

 

  

 


When You Lose A Loved One May 27 2016

Funeral service flowers, or sympathy flowers, are a common way of showing your love and respect for the recently departed. They also express sympathy and support to the family and friends left behind.  Whether you order a large casket arrangement or a simple elegant wreath, flowers are certainly one the most enduring traditions at a funeral service today

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Generally when we think of funeral flowers we think of fresh flowers. Like all fresh flowers these arrangements will only last several days before beginning to wilt. We suggest looking beyond fresh flowers to artificial flower arrangements. Particularly if you would like to keep them as an enduring memorial to your loved one.

 

When done correctly, artificial flower arrangements are every bit as beautiful as the real thing. Some varieties are so realistic most people would be surprised to learn they are in fact artificial.  If the cemetery you have chosen allows flower arrangements, the artificial flowers can be used to decorate the gravesite for extended periods. For many people, placing a token of love at a gravesite is a significant part of grieving.

 

Wreaths are a common choice for graveside tributes and can be customised to suit the departed loved one. Small in-ground or picket vases can also be tailor made if one of the lovely pre-made arrangements aren't quite right. Every cemetery is different in regards to regulations, so please check what is allowed before purchasing flowers for grave sites.

  

With regards to sending flowers in sympathy, if you don't wish to disturb the family at this time, you can always contact the funeral home. They will almost always know the specific wishes of the family as well as any possible restrictions at the intended resting place. 

The staff at Bradford Potter Silk Flowers are always here to help you choose a thoughtful and appropriate arrangement to express your condolences. Flowers can be packaged for delivery or delivered within the Shoalhaven region.  Large flower arrangements may be transformed into smaller posies or arrangements for the home after the funeral service. 


Artificial Flowers, A Great Choice For Mother's Day April 26 2016

Mother's Day! As a community, it is the day honoring motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. Individually, the day gives us a defined opportunity to show our love and appreciation for the mother of our family. 

Did you know that the tradition of giving gifts on Mother's Day in Australia was started by Janet Heyden of Leichhardt, Sydney, in 1924. She began the tradition during a visit to a patient at the Newington State Home for Women, where she met many lonely and forgotten mothers. In an effort to cheer them up, she gained support from local school children and businesses to donate and bring gifts to the women. 

Flowers are the ultimate gift for any mother. Either as a stand alone gift or to accompany another, flowers will delight your mum and put a smile on her face. Our artificial flowers are ideal for mums residing at Aged Care Facilities or where mobility may be an issue as they require very little care – just an occasional dusting.  They are also perfect for mums who suffer from allergies or who due to medical treatments cannot have fresh flowers in a room.

 Traditionally, the chrysanthemum is given to mothers for Mother's Day as the flower is naturally in season during May, and as a happy coincidence has a name ending in "mum".  In the past, men would often wear a chrysanthemum in their lapels in honour of their mother.

 We have beautiful bunches of chrysanthemums at Bradford Potter Silk Flowers, however part of the wonderful convenience of artificial flowers is that you can have any flower that you love regardless of the season.  Our flowers and plants won’t fade or wilt, and you never have to worry about falling leaves, allergies or murky water. So mum can enjoy your gift for a long time.

 

You can order flowers of any style be it a simple spring bouquet, to a large and impressive formal arrangement. Either order by the stem and arrange the flowers yourself, or talk to our floral artisans who can put together an arrangement to suit your colour, style and budget.

  

 We can post our floral arrangements straight to your mum with a printed or hand written card – just email us direct with the address, item numbers and message you would like conveyed.

So show mum your appreciation for all that she does, by ordering her a beautiful bunch of Silk Flowers today and make sure she has the best Mother’s Day yet!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Artificial Flowers in Fashion and Decor. July 01 2013

History records differ somewhat as to the origin of the craft of artificial flower making and artificial flower popularity. The popular take on the history of artificial flowers is that the craft seems to have originated from France and Italy as a home craft, to embellish home-made fashion around the 1600s. For the next couple of hundred years these countries seemed to have perfected of the craft of artificial flower making and it then spread around the globe as a domestic or cottage craft.

In the mid to late 1800s artificial flower making then became a commercial industry due to the beautiful looks being achieved by some artificial flower makers and the way they transformed the look of an ordinary dress or suit into something beautiful and eye-catching. Some men even joined the artificial flower fashion accessory revolution by wearing artificial rose, gardenia and carnation buds and flowers as suit lapel decoration.

Around about the late 1800s these, for that time, more refined artificial flower fashion decorations were beginning to be given longer stems so that they could be vase supported and decorate interior furniture and the like. These artificial long stem flowers were popular due to their realistic emulation of their natural counterpart and of course their ability to keep on blooming.

The craft of artificial flower making then seemed to divide into two main industries, short stem artificial flowers for fashion and long stem artificial flowers for decor or interior decoration.

In the 1920s in Australia and worldwide it seems that women would not venture outside without wearing some artificial flower decoration on their clothes and on their hats. Also artificial flower making was also booming as a home craft, and every household had a set of French artificial flower making tools (almost as common as knitting needles). Also the artificial flower making industry was booming in Australia with many small factories starting up in Sydney and Melbourne.

Today the craft of individual artificial flower making or French flower making is rare, and not the popular cottage industry that has been in the past. In Australia most millinery or hat making courses generally touch on artificial flower making and only some milliners take on perfecting the craft.

Long stem artificial flowers for interior decoration seems to have come into their own around the 1950s when improved plastic moulding technologies enabled mass production. These plastic flowers became a very common sight in kitchens and lounge rooms around the world in the early to mid 60s. It seems because long stem artificial flowers for interior decoration purposes were viewed from a slightly more distant aspect (and for the technology of the day they seemed quite a good long-lasting alternative) that they were acceptable for this purpose. Plastic flowers never really took off in the artificial flower ‘fashion’ market, probably due to their relative heavyweight, crude colouring and obvious imperfections when viewed close up.

In the early to mid 70s the introduction of polyester long stem artificial flowers revolutionised the industry and the use of this new synthetic fabric technology enabled long stem artificial flowers to be lightweight and display beautiful printed colours, just as good as their fashion counterparts with the added bonus that they were also washable. Hence an early polyester industry name ‘washable silks’ or ‘poly silks’.

These long stem washable silk artificial flowers were starting to look so good that people were starting to cut the stems off and wear the flowers for popular fashion decoration. This was occurring in Australia about the same time as the psychedelic coloured ‘flower power’ fashion epidemic of the 70s.

Today artificial flowers have come a long way! Now we have artificial flowers for fashion and decoration that look and feel indistinguishable from the natural originals. They are lightweight, to a degree washable, rain resistant, hypoallergenic, colourfast and do not wilt or die. It seems the next popular revolution for artificial flowers is happening now, in the wedding and bridal event industry. With artificial flowers, bouquets and floral venue decorations looking so good, and being so reliable for the big day, brides are choosing the artificial alternative en mass.

Bradford Potter Pty Ltd (silkflowers.com.au) have been making and importing artificial flowers in Australia since 1924 and are the only specialist artificial flower manufacturers in Australia today. Bradford Potter Pty Ltd (silkflowers.com.au) has the unique ability to make, colour shade, adjust, combine and arrange their own make silk flowers with imported artificial flowers if required, to get a personally unique look.

Take a look at just some of our custom made flowers here. Artificial flowers have a solid place now and throughout history as a reliable, durable, decorative and practical alternative to natural flower decoration.

If you are considering using artificial flowers for your fashion and or decoration requirements consider contacting silk flowers (info@silkflowers.com.au) for friendly advice or a quotation.

Wedding fashion flowers June 23 2013

  Wedding fashion flowers for the purposes of this article are artificial flowers that can be used on the bride or wedding parties attire. Not to be confused with the bridal party bouquet/s, or the wedding venue decorations.These articles should follow soon.


Artificial flowers handcrafted from a great range of fabrics can be used to effectively embellish the wedding party fashion. The possibilities are endless, for example: flowers on the hair, the dress, the shoes and a multitude of other accessories of the wedding party. Flowers can be used to decorate: the waist, the shoulder, the bodice, the bustle or as a unique focal point on its own.

Flowers can be purchased from stock online, or they can be custom made to your unique specifications.

Fabrics that can be used in the crafting of artificial flowers can include: the actual fabrics of the garment, silks, satins, georgettes, chiffons, velvets, et cetera. 

Flower types that can be made, include: Roses, gardenias, camellias, Lilly's, blossoms, and the list goes on.

For an informative guide to artificial flower making and ordering, see: our custom made flower guide

If you are thinking of using stock or custom-made artificial flowers for your wedding party fashion, please contact us for friendly advice or a quotation. Bradford Potter Pty Ltd are the only specialist artificial flower makers in Australia, with a long history, they have much to offer in the subject of artificial flowers for fashion.

Decorations with a Distinctly Australian Flavour June 23 2013

Sometimes an occasion presents itself with the need to decorate whilst emphasising a distinctly Australian flavour. This could be for a national, international or state event, or simply a homecoming celebration for a family member. Artificial Australian native flowers are a simple and effective way to bring a colourful national essence to any occasion. 

Popular artificial Australian native flowers can consist of: wattle, waratah, flannel flower, kangaroo paw, banksia, bottlebrush, eucalyptus or gum leaf foliage, et cetera. Arrangements of Australian native artificial flowers can range from something as simple as a wattle lapel corsage or brooch, to a full arrangement or sheath.

Occasions can range from events of national importance to a simple arrangement just to show you have some relationship with Australia. Some teams going overseas find that a small flower brooch highlighting an Australian native flower can be in some way uniting and indicative of an Australian group. Also a simple small artificial Australian native flower posy can be used as a mascot or an impressive colourful (light, portable and to a degree crush resistant) gift whilst overseas. Being artificial flowers, also circumvents the need for Customs and quarantine declaration which may be an inconvenience if carrying the real or dried equivalent.
Australian native artificial flowers can also be used as a funeral or memorial tribute that shows some clear connection with Australia.
If you have the need for an Australian native artificial flower arrangement or similar please contact us for friendly advice or a quotation as we have experience in the field of artificial flower configuration in many different applications.