ne of the moments when flowers are suddenly no longer just a rejoicing element, but an evident provider of comfort, is when we have to say goodbye to someone. Giving flowers is a last honour to the deceased. It shows the love that was (and will remain), and offers comfort to family and other loved ones.
The difference between beautiful and special
Customs around farewell flowers are culture-specific. In Japan, for example, mostly white flowers are placed in the coffin; bright colours are taboo. Whereas in Hawaii, garlands of colourful tropical flowers are often worn during a funeral. Designer Max van de Sluis well aware of the nuances. So when he created seven farewell flower arrangements for De Pook Magazine (DPK), he said, "It is very important that it is personal and reflects something about the deceased or the giver. Through this translation, you add emotional value to an arrangement: the difference between beautiful and special."
Those seven works turned out fantastically beautiful and we are very proud to share them here. All are full of Marginpar flowers, and each one is beautifully balanced.
A funeral can be a celebration of life. A colourful floral arrangement is then a good choice. These two wreaths have a lovely warm red-orange base, created by Jatropha, Achillea, Scabiosa and Gloriosa. Craspedia provides a fresh accent with its colour and round shape. The focus in these designs is on diversity of colour and the look of the combined materials.
Max likes to work in mono colours or 'ton-sur-ton'. This is a French term for choosing one colour in multiple shades. That's what he did for this subdued wreath with three different varieties of Astrantia (Star of Fire®, Star of Flame® and Roma®) and the cream red Clematis Amazing® Sevilla. The flowers are set on wire. The resulting colour scheme creates an almost tangible softness and bounce.
Please note: Clematis loves water, and does not keep well in foam for long. For the longest vase life, use Clematis in tubes with fresh water!
Harmony with contrast
This layered funeral wreath with lots of greenery suits nature lovers well. It is composed of three different varieties of Eryngium (Supernova, Magnetar and Orion Questar®) and Clematis Amazing® London. The Passiflora tendrils bring out that natural and raw aspect even more. And that layering we were talking about, creates a nice contrast without harming the harmony.
A technique that always makes for surprising designs is the use of loose flowers, which you normally see clustered together. Like the Delphinium and Agapanthus flowers here. These have been inserted loosely into the floral foam, over the Gypsophila base. With a beautiful gradient in colour as a result.
Beyond the beaten track
Another special wreath with a base of Gypsophila. Here again, Passiflora tendrils have been used to create a natural movement. Hanging long stems of Clematis Amazing® Vienna creates a waterfall of flowers. A beautiful reminder of the 'flow' of life, and how it is best to just go with it.
Left the largest wreath for last, measuring as much as 50 cm. Max provides a quiet base of olive willow to give the floral splendour around it extra attention and strength. Here you can give the lead role to the favourite flower of the deceased, or one reminiscent of that person. In this case, these were Scabiosa Lavender Scoop® and Clematis Amazing® Star River and Sevilla. For an airy and natural finish, the stems were inserted crosswise.
About Max van de Sluis
Max grew up among flowers. With a flower grower for a father and a florist for a mother, it was to be expected that a love for flowers would develop in Max as well. He started making bouquets as a little boy and a few years later chose to study floral design. In 1998, he became Dutch champion, 2nd at the European Championships a year later and 3rd in the world in 2000. Max decided to follow his dream: teaching and demonstrating all over the world. Which he never stopped doing. Last July, he demonstrated at the AIFD symposium 'Roots' in Las Vegas and in August he supported Hanneke Frankema in her participation in the Europa Cup in Poland. He is also the author of the series of books called 'Creative with Flowers'.