Week 6 - Compote Centerpiece - Shape, Form and LIne in Centerpieces

Line Qualities in Floral Design

Line provides many things for a design, it provides the shape and the structure. The line also allows a path to exist for the person looking at the arrangementDesigners can use different techniques to create their lines.

Shapes and Form of Floral Designs

Shape and form both relate to the overall floral design, individual flowers, plant material, containers and anything else in the design

Shape is the two-dimensional element: a sketch of a centerpiece defines it's shape. Form is the three-dimensional element: the actual centerpiece.

The lines in floral design can create an infinite number of shapes but to simplify I like to see either triangles (all types) or circles (including ovals and half and quarter circles) in all of my designs. The basic shapes or outlines of centerpieces are as follows:

Hogarth Curve/Line of Beauty

Line of beauty is a term and a theory in art used to describe an S-shaped curved line (a serpentine line) appearing within an object, as the boundary line of an object, or as a virtual boundary line formed by the composition of several objects. A hogarth S curve is often referred to as the "lazy S". This theory originated with William Hogarth (18th-century English painter, satirist, and writer), and is an essential part of Hogarth's theory of aesthetics as described in his 1753 book "Analysis of Beauty." According to this theory, S-shaped curved lines signify liveliness and activity and excite the attention of the viewer as contrasted with straight lines, parallel lines, or right-angled intersecting lines, which signify stasis, death, or inanimate objects. (wikipedia)

Gesture in Floral Design

Gestural lines are curved lines and gestural or dancing flowers are key in creating rhythmic contour lines in a floral arrangement. To me, the key to setting your designs on fire is good use of gestural lines. Whether it be a bouquet, centerpiece or installation gestural flowers and using them to create gestural lines takes the design to a whole new level. Painters who paint flowers learn to paint gestural flowers to give life and movement to their art. An otherwise static lined arrangement can be completely transformed through good use of gesture.

Bind Point and Radiating Lines

The bind point is where a bouquet is tied off or where a centerpiece originates. When lines radiate from the bind point it creates a focal point in the arrangement.

Vertical Axis

It is important to pay close attention to the vertical axis (whether real or imagined) in your centerpiece in order to establish balance. Your centerpiece may have an actual static line of flowers that is a visual vertical axis or the line may be imaginary as in the below images.

We will discuss balance next week but vertical axis plays a large part in understanding balance.

This weeks centerpiece will have all of the above components. A bind point, radiating lines, an imaginary vertical axis and two triangular shapes. After you design your centerpiece identify all of four of these in your piece.

Watch the Video


Time to Practice

Use the following recipe to create your compote centerpiece. You will need the following supplies.

Create and Recreate this design. Again video yourself creating and then photograph this design from all angles. Add candles to style if you like.


1 brick of Oasis

1 footed vessel

Oasis Tape for Wet Foam

Chicken Wire


1 sheet moss or greenery (optional)

2 Gestural Branches (forage)

13 textural or filler flowers (can include small pieces of hydrangea for base)

13 medium flowers (can mix these in 3, 5, 8 ratio)

8 lateral flowers

13 small round flowers (can mix these in 3, 5, 8 ratio)

13 dancing or gestural flowers

3 draping flowers

0 large round flowers

Complete and Continue