feature designs


Twelve lasting creations for home and office décor

Designs by Bill J. Harper, AIFD Fellow, AAF

Whatever the interior need, location or color palette, it’s a sure bet that today’s quality permanent, preserved and dried products can be crafted to suit. Here, designer Bill J. Harper, aifd fellow, aaf, demonstrates how these florals can work separately or in tandem to create long-lasting decorative accessories.

indoor water garden
The weathered, stonelike finish on this oval vessel lends the aesthetics necessary for a realistic water-garden presentation. And when designed with water lilies, lotus pods and other traditional water-garden elements, the display is especially convincing. Rather than water inside, though, the recessed foam is concealed with moss, lotus pods and clusters of waxflowers, so it invites up-close viewing.

MATERIALS: permanent Water Lily Bush, Wax Flower Bush, Speedwell Bush, Passion Flower Vine and Lightweight Oval Bowl from Autograph Foliages; preserved Reindeer Moss from Knud Nielsen Company; Aquafoam® Dri II Foam from Syndicate Sales.


sanguine stems
Placed atop the rim of a foam-filled bowl, a swirling birch wreath provides dynamic interest and also serves as the mechanics for a textural mass of scarlet florals, some of which are glued among the wreath’s branches. At the wreath’s center, though, the materials, including the column of dyed clover, are arranged into dry foam. Intersecting the vertical line of clover is a horizontal line of stems, clipped from the yarrow, that provides visual drama. The stem bundles, reminiscent of chopsticks, are adorned with medallions fashioned from bullion wire.

MATERIALS: preserved Hydrangeas and dried Yarrow, Clover, Celosia and Birch Wreath from Knud Nielsen Company; Dixon pins from Dixon Products; Saraha® Dry Floral Foam and Bullion Wire from Smithers-Oasis; bowl from Eighteen Karat International Product Sourcing.


Bundles of dried materials are bound with gold bullion wire and dropped into a striking glass container, forming intriguing textural groupings. One of the bundles, a group of larkspurs, supports a wiry nest made of metal pussy willows. The egg-filled nest is accented by gold bullion wire that is creatively looped in and around the nest.

MATERIALS: dried okra pods, Celosia, larkspurs, Sorghum, ruby red Silk Grass and Cat’s Paws from Lovejoy Farms; Metal Nest from Sullivans; eggs from Melrose International; Bullion Wire and Hot-Melt Glue from Smithers-Oasis; glass vase from Jamali Garden Supplies.


modern art
With one side filled with foam and the other side left open, this low tray is set for creative artistry, which takes the form of an interpretive pavé. In the foam, dried Banksias, handmade Dahlias, Japanese lanterns and curly willow are arranged architecturally while the materials’ clipped bits and pieces are dropped into the tray’s open area, like a kaleidoscope of colors and textures. The mechanics-concealing mosses, which resemble a groundcover, are secured to the foam with greening pins.

MATERIALS: Handmade Dahlias and dried Banksias, Japanese Lanterns, and Curly Willow from Mirsky; preserved Reindeer Moss from Knud Nielsen Company; red tray from AA Importing; Aquafoam® Dri II Foam from Syndicate Sales.

Bill J. Harper, AIFD Fellow, AAF, is a floral designer, consultant and educator. He resides in Cleveland, Mo.

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