Ever have something that you’re good at, but when someone asks you to explain how to do it, you struggle with being able to put it into words?
I’ve struggled with that too, especially several years ago, before I started to decorate for hire. I had natural ability to create but really hadn’t ‘wrapped my mind around’ exactly what it was that made one arrangement or vignette look so much better than the next.
It took me many years of studying, both books, and pictures, plus doing and re-doing many, many arrangements, vignettes and hanging artwork to be able to ‘get it’.
I was constantly asking myself, (yes, out loud sometimes) what did I like or not like about this or that vignette, until I was finally able to put it into words…
So here are a just a couple of tips that on what I’ve learned to make vignettes or arrangements look great.
Symmetrical vs. asymmetrical. Either can be beautiful, or not so much… why?
I think the 3 keys to a good vignette has a lot to do with balance, contrast and with oddness. Oddness as in groups of 3.
I did an asymmetrical Easter/Spring arrangement on the dining table this year. But in all it’s asymmetrical-ness, do you still notice the balancing of elements?
The glass, there are 3 glass elements. (Cloche, cake stand, and bottle candle holders… even though there are two bottles, they’re grouped together to be a single element.)
The metal, there are 3 metal elements. (The wheel on the wheelbarrow, and the two fence sections.)
And the natural wood type elements, again 3. (The nest, the basket, and the handles on the wheelbarrow.)
Balance: I have placed these elements to start at one side and repeat through the arrangement, almost like how you read a book… to carry your eye throughout the vignette…
And contrast: this is the most exciting part of making an arrangement for me… I love to take a fine piece of china and put it with something really rustic, natural or rusty… like here where I’ve put the glass cake stand paired with a rustic basket, and an old rusty wheelbarrow filled with perfectly shiny eggs, and the clear cloche paired with the natural twig birds nest…
Let’s look at a symmetrical arrangement for a minute…
Same rules apply with a symmetrical vignette too.
Even with the even numbers of bowls both on the ledge and wall, and pair of candles on either side of the lamp, there is still a subconscious element of odd-ness… do you see it? Yes, of course the single lamp, and the single oil painting, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the subconscious group of 3… in the color! See how your eye bounces from the orange candles to the orange roosters in the cabinet, to the orange rooster on the bowl on the wall?
There are also 3 elements of roosters… the bowls on the wall, the lamp and the pair in the cupboard.
And contrast? Well of course, look at that old beat up cupboard with chipping paint and a screen door paired with a fine china bowl and glazed roosters inside it. And look at the chippy white rooster lamp paired with the candlesticks on either side of it… contrast is what brings life and takes away ‘stuffiness’ or ‘sameness’ to an arrangement.
Let’s pick apart one more vignette: the Spring mantel.
Now you’re a pro at it, so you can fill in the blanks…
Do you see it all?
The 3 groups of white repeated to pull your eye through the arrangement?
The natural/brown element to do the same?
The beautiful fine china platter juxtaposed or contrasted with rustic elements?
Maybe this is just me, but once you can nail down what you’re looking for in an arrangement, you can really have a lot of fun looking at it and seeing the ‘groups’ balanced and contrasted throughout each vignette. Ok, maybe it’s just me…
Yay! I’ve been featured here:
Wednesday Link Parties
Thursday Link Parties
Friday Link Parties
Saturday Link Parties