When working on the “Inspiration for Creation” feature article in our March issue, we were overwhelmed by the number of floral designers who wanted to contribute to that project. Because we could not include everyone, and because we believe all of their contributions have value, we created this column to share their sources of creativity and inspiration in our future issues. Check out this feature every month as we highlight a different floral artist, and enjoy this introduction to Australia’s Mark Pampling.
Where do you look outside of the floral industry for inspiration? What are your sources?
Inspiration is everywhere for me, so I try not to limit my thinking to my familiar and favorite sources. Of course, fashion design and contemporary art galleries are favorite starting points because they frequently challenge my understanding of design principles and creative concepts. Trips to the supermarket or hardware store can be equally inspiring, with the myriad packaging and presentation ideas on hand and for the discovery of new materials. Broadly, I can divide the areas in which I discover inspiration: 1. Places where the design decisions of the creators are usually obvious and on display – the color combinations on food packaging, the proportions of sculptures, the soft furnishing coordination in a designed interior, the craftsmanship in a contemporary jewelry pieces, etc. 2. Places for new materials discovery – botanical gardens, bulk-food stores, hardware shops, haberdashery departments, a friend’s unruly storage shed, recycling depots, etc.
With what types of other artistic people do you most like to collaborate in order to become more innovative?
Collaborating on projects with other professionals can often see a fusion of different ideas that results in greater creative success. Two examples for me are working with photographers and event organizers and stylists. Working with a photographer to find the best way of presenting your design and conveying its qualities in two dimensions can be a creatively fulfilling process. It can force me to define characteristics in my design that are priorities to be displayed to the viewer, making me more aware of the inherent qualities of the design so that I can enhance them for presentation in an image. Event stylists frequently have an expanded vision of space and how to use it effectively. When I have been designing installations for public events, it has been rewarding to start with an idea and then to develop it in conjunction with the organizer or stylist. This process can push the proportions, scale and positioning of the original design into new directions. The result is usually a design that is a better fit for its purpose and environment and overall more successful. Resourcefulness can also be a good friend of innovation. I was once on a project where I wanted to create an elegant, refined and contemporary design in a classical container, but the usual requisite materials were not at hand. At hand was a pile of discarded flower cartons, so I ripped the boxes into hundreds of small pieces and graded them by size before threading them onto string. I was able to elevate and drape the resulting tapered, linear form (almost a cardboard snake), over the container and organize the other materials around it to produce the desired graceful, modern feeling. Design success from an unexpected source!