'Artificial flowers can never look real!' I hear you cry but how wrong you are. Let me explain....
The most important rule to follow when selecting fake flowers is to follow the natural growing seasons. No-one in the UK is ever going to be convinced by daffodils blooming in August. We all know they are spring flowering bulbs, however, a hanging basket cascading over with artificial pansies, lush artificial ivy and fake cordylines will even fool the bees. This simple rule is important whether you are using silk flowers indoors or out. A vase filled with silk irises will look very out of place in the depths of winter but the moment you see irises springing forth in the gardens, riversides and meadows a flower vase of silk irises will create the illusion of freshly picked flowers.
Rule number two is buy the best quality artificial flowers your budget can afford. As with all things in life, you only get what you pay for. Without doubt the finest silk flowers readily available on the market are those sold as real touch or fresh touch flowers. The petals of these luxury artificial flowers are invariably hand painted by skilled artisans thus recreating the grading of colour, speckles and flecks that are seen in their fresh counterparts. Once the colour has dried they are then coated with a fine latex covering that heightens the colours and adds a 'fleshy' feel to the petals. The petals now look three dimensional and feel real to the touch. Flocked stamens are added to the centre of the bloom which is fixed to a stem that, although wired, has a pliability that also feels real and, finally, hand painted leaves are added and you have a fresh touch artificial flower that not only looks real but feels real too!
Now the third rule is a little less obvious but will definitely add to the illusion. Always consider size and scale when selecting artificial flowers. A rose tree growing in your garden will not have flowers of equal proportions, all open to the same degree, at the same time. Some of the flowers will be fully open, some partly and some will still be in the bud stage. If you want to recreate a life like artificial rose tree be careful to select flowers in the various growing stages and in sizes that can be found in the natural world. Have you ever seen roses that are 20cm wide? They are available in the world of fake flowers but are best left for the prop designers and visual merchandisers and not for home use.
That's enough talk of rules. The following are guidelines that you can consider incorporating when designing an artificial floral display.
• If you don't need the flower display to last forever try using fresh foliage with artificial blooms. This can be extremely beneficial when creating large floral arrangements to be displayed in churches or large venues when you may want the displays to last longer than a week but you will be replacing them in say a months time. Many items of fresh evergreen foliage will last for up to 4 weeks when placed in water filled foam or vases but fresh flowers won't. Substituting just the flowers with well chosen, seasonal artificial flowers will extend the lifetime of the display and will look real too!
• Use clear water resin to fix your silk flowers in a clear glass vase. There are clear epoxy resins available that are glass potable and will recreate the illusion of a water filled vase.
• Fragrance your room with a scent that relates to your silk flowers. Whether you prefer to use essential oils, diffusers, candles or perfumes, choosing a scent that is prominently the scent your silk flowers would exude if real all adds to the effect.
Are you convinced? I hope you will consider using artificial flowers in your home. After all they are much kinder to the environment than commercially grown fresh flowers! (but that's another blog post) Next instalment will follow soon