Lights Camera SCREENPLAY

Philadelphia Flower ShowTABLE: Screenplay was the name of the floral design class I entered in the Philadelphia Flower Show. These classes were staged on a platform 8’ wide x 4’ deep x 4” high, set in the ubiquitous flower show ‘mulch’ with a Belgian block edging. In fact the ‘platforms’ are contiguous with about 3’ between them. Although the design is judged from the front, the design is on a ‘island’ clearly seen from both sides, and better lit from the ‘back’. A white table from IKEA, 49” long x 29” h x 29” w, was supplied by the show. The TABLE theme varied each day: TABLE: Dressing Room for an actor or actress; TABLE: Oscar Party actor, actress or movie; TABLE: It’s a Wrap wrap-up party for movie, and TABLE: Screenplay, movie.

Chinese Movie Raise the Red LanternWhether the judges receive the movie titles ahead of time or not (in Philadelphia, not), I always believe that the title one chooses should speak for itself. Nothing tricky or obscure for a judge who couldn’t, because they weren’t told, do their homework. I chose the glorious “Raise the Red Lantern”, 1991, a Chinese movie of great visual beauty set in a remote aristocratic strife-filled household in the 1920’s. For my purposes, the title said it all.

Silver Medal WAFAIn “Steal Away” (Archives Feb 2015), I discussed taking designs and reworking them. In this instance, my idea was to combine two successful designs into a new design, well maybe new-ish! The first design idea was my table at the 2011 WAFA Show in a class called “Painting”. Happily, the table in that class was supplied in black. (Thanks, Gail)

Susan DetjensThat table idea would be combined with aspects of my 2013 design in Philadelphia in “SUPERALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS”, using Harry Lauder Walking Stick and kiwi vine instead of the purple painted willow framework.

 Hand-made Lanterns medleyIt was always my intention NOT to use red lanterns. All the red, red, red would be the branches, flowers and foliage of the floral design. The class description says arrangement and accessories. The lanterns were made from chicken wire cylinders, covered with an open work artist paper, and trimmed with foam core and midolino sticks. And yes, that paper was blue, eventually sprayed black.

 5 lanterns on the tabletrial of three lanterns and red harry LauderUsing a series of black iron stands (originally from Pier One – fifteen or more years ago, hoarded as never seen since), I started to work out a diagonal path across the table space which was outlined in tape. I began with 5 lanterns, and eventually settled on 3, making them shorter as I went along. The center stand was a tall, more rigid affair of heavy iron with a lantern wedged over it.

 Mechanics of Lantern StructureAt the show, a lot of time was spent getting the black felt cloth runners evenly on the slippery table and hiding the white legs – thanks ladies for the pins!!! The branched structure was sprayed cadmium red, a great Liquitex acrylic color (no fumes). It was cabled to the stand, center front and back. A lump (technical term) of Oasis was wrapped in some Press n Seal at the base, set on the structure, and then held in place with a wrap of black clematis wire, placed over Oasis and zip-tied (barely visible top and bottom before being tied), . In the end, I had to cut away some of the Press n Seal as it showed too much but it kept water from dripping on the cloth.

 Chinese takeway boxes and chopsticksWorrying that the lanterns might not be perceived as accessories, I added Chinese takeaway containers filled with black rice, er – gravel, and chopsticks….and now the envelope, please:

 Finding Nemo HM table classHonorable Mention: “Finding Nemo”. Nemo is hiding out on the right, while a prow shaped container holds the arrangement.

The King's Speech third place tableThird place: “The King’s Speech”. Lots of attention to details, like the marbles on the cloth near the base of the lamp.

Schindler's List second place tableSecond Place: “Schindler’s List”.  Prunella – I was too busy to see it happen, but the table legs were wrapped in black cast bandaging – very clever idea!   Made it very smooth and sleek. I didn’t see it come off again for the next designer so I don’t know if it leaves a residue.

Susan Detjens Lantern backsideLet me tell you I got a little worried when I saw all those chairs and the floor showing up, who knew?? Plant materials: Obake and red anthuriums, bronze New Zealand flax, James Storie and Mokara Orchids, galax, Leucodendron ‘Safari Sunset’, kiwi vine, Harry Lauder Walking Stick.

RAise the REd Lantern First PlaceFirst place: “Raise the Red Lantern”. Whew! all’s well that ends well.


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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4 Responses to Lights Camera SCREENPLAY

  1. Sandi Lord says:

    Stunning design. I have really enjoyed your blog and attention to detail in all your work.
    Any chance you have a commercial source for Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick? It is too warm here in SoCal (zone 10) t0 gr0w it, and I would love to use some. We do have access to Mitsumata commercially, as well as curly willow, but they are not the same.
    Thanks in advance for any ideas.

    • Susan says:

      Thank you SAndi. Sad to tell, I don’t know of a regular source of Harry Lauder’s WAlking Stick. I got about 8 branches about a year or so ago at Terrain in Westport, CT, purely by happenstance. I’ve never seen it there since. I used my last piece the following week, recreating my design for a Garden Club in CT. Cheers! Susan

  2. Alexandra says:

    Congratulations!!!! Excellent

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