Maclean's Judith Little was presented with the Joan O'Brien award in recognition for her contribution to floral art in Australia.
Maclean's Judith Little was presented with the Joan O'Brien award in recognition for her contribution to floral art in Australia.

Judith's fantastic floral feat blooms at show

THERE'S not a lot Maclean's Judith Little doesn't know about floral art and design, but she managed to be surprised by a presentation at this year's Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Fresh from taking out the National Design Competition for floral art, she was given the Joan O'Brien award, presented by the Garden Clubs of Australia, for the best individual contribution to floral art in Australia.

"It was quite a shock. I always say that floral art is the hobby you never stop learning about, but the award is for my teaching, demonstration judging in the floral art community, which is small, but it's a great community," Ms Little said.

Having already judged and stewarded at the Royal Easter Show, the design competition win came from a concept first floated in October when she and her design partner Angela Lewis submitted sketches to the invite-only competition on the theme Sunburnt Country.

And while it sounds like a partnership that has worked well, having previously won and taken third prize in the competition in past years, there is one catch.

Angela lives in Cairns.

"It's hard on both of us, and send pictures, but they're hard to imagine in three dimensions," Ms Little said.

"So we get to Sydney the weekend before, and on the Monday go to the markets early - because we just don't get the flowers here you can in Sydney - and work really hard on that Monday before we bring the competition piece on Wednesday before Easter."

 

Judith's winning floral design at the Royal Easter Show.
Judith's winning floral design at the Royal Easter Show.

Working in a 2x2 metre space, their work, said to be a standout winner by the judges, contains not just flowers, but pieces of driftwood, leaves burned by the sun, and even pieces of barbed wire.

"We wanted every think to have that harsh look, and the piece is suspended up in the air, tied down into test tubes... and on two steel poles."

Ms Little will enter her local Maclean Show, before judging in Grafton later in the week, and performing other demonstrations and workshops later in the year.

And as to the secret to a good piece of floral art?

"Good use of the principals of design," she said.

"It's like a cake. There's all sorts of cake with the same ingredients, but used in different ways, different flavours make the design work differently - and it's the same with flowers."



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