Flower Of The Year 2017

My most vivid childhood memories take me back to warm summers and fields full of wildflowers.

wild summer flowers - red poppies with chamomile and cornflowers
wild summer flowers – red poppies with chamomile and cornflowers

This summer it was a challenge to find fields with wild bursting flowers, even though I do live in a very green and flourishing area of Germany. This is one of the reasons I planted red poppies in my garden.

{Remember how I picked some for our apartment and they turned pink all of a sudden?}

red poppies
red poppies
red poppies
red poppies

This is also the reason why I am so happy the german Loki-Schmidt Trust has named red poppies as the Flower Of The Year 2017! Just look at their beauty and I cannot imagine fields without these colorful sprinkles!

red poppies
red poppies
red poppies
red poppies

So lets say goodbye to summer 2017, but not without paying tribute to one of the most wonderful flowers of 2017 ❤

red poppies
red poppies

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How to create a gallery print for your home

ANZEIGE

It feels like a milestone! No, let me start over: not only does it feel like one, it IS a milestone. At least to me it is! From this day on, I truly hope, you will enjoy traveling this road with me… I started developing my photographies as art prints now and I can’t stop…It’s captivating, it brings back precious memories and it adds so much beauty to our home that I can barely breathe when I look at it! Too much of a praise? Wait until you see the result! But let me start at the very beginning…

Anastasia Benko moody white roses print
Anastasia Benko moody white roses print

From a very early age my mom started to take me to museums, so the love for every kind of art is innate to me! Not only have I been a frequent visitor to museums – I have been a keen artist myself, but somehow only drawings and paintings were put down to paper. After my very first SLR camera broke at the age of 15 I never returned back to analogue photography. The absence of printed photo works must be the reason for my new found enthusiasm about those gallery prints! Ironically, I have been producing photographies all my life but never considered having art prints in my home.

A warm late summer weekend changed it all: it started in September, with a book.
This September weekend was all about photography: I created a workshop at the Photokina for a beautiful CEWE photography event. As a surprise or maybe more of a special treat CEWE printed a book with my work. It was one of their new products, a very large format with fine art paper. Indeed, this book wasn’t that simple at all. Everything about it, the size, the weight, the quality of the paper and the prints had the feel of the luxurious coffee-table books I was usually swooning over at book stores. What happened from there was simply magical! Everyone was so thrilled with the book, I even got multiple requests to produce a coffee-table book myself. So it felt only natural to CEWE and myself to start collaborating. CEWE is known for making high quality products at affordable prices and I am so proud to partner with them on my very first print collaboration. I had so much fun working on this gallery print and I truly hope, you feel the joy and you love it just as much as I do!

white roses floral arrangement
white roses floral arrangement

As a regular reader, you know I cherish every season, but ever since I started gardening, the end of summer, the end of flowering roses is really painful to me! It takes weeks to recover from having cut the last blooming rose. So this year I decided to capture the beauty of my favorite white roses for eternity!

white roses from the garden
white roses from the garden

As soon, as I realized that some of the roses were starting to fade, I cut off the prettiest heads and arranged them on a dark velvet background. This way I added a deep contrast to the installation and all the beauty came out even more.

arranging white roses on a dark background
arranging white roses on a dark background
arranging white roses on a dark background
arranging white roses on a dark background
arranging white roses on a dark background
arranging white roses on a dark background

As soon, as I realized that some of the roses were starting to fade, I cut off the prettiest heads and arranged them on a dark velvet background. This way I added a deep contrast to the installation and all the beauty came out even more. In the end I only had the choose my favorite gathering of white roses. In the end this was my favorite image:

moody white roses print
moody white roses print

I sat on it for a few days, as I always do with special images and every time my eyes kept going back to this one image. So in the end I knew that I had made the right decision with this lush collection of my favorite roses. This way I will never forget the variety of summer!

Once the gallery print was here, I could hardly contain my excitement and placed it on our black wall. This way the black background works as a frame and brings out the beauty even more! Having thought about placing different low furniture in front of the gallery print, I decided to only go with a few large vases as companions for this work of art. Dressing up for this occasion and wearing heels gives you a little insight of my celebration of this milestone 😉

Anastasia Benko moody white roses print, photo by: Christian Schäfer
Anastasia Benko moody white roses print, photo by: Christian Schäfer
Anastasia Benko moody white roses print
Anastasia Benko moody white roses print
Anastasia Benko moody white roses print
Anastasia Benko moody white roses print

TO CREATE YOUR OWN GALLERY PRINT, YOU NEED:

-beheaded roses or any other flower you like

-a dark background

-eventually you will need a few pins to secure the flowers

-styrofoam as a reflector

Spread your dark background ( in my case it was a dark green cloth of velvet). Once you cut the fading flowers from the stem, place them on the dark underground and arrange them as you like. Make sure to place your favorite flowers at a prominent spot this way you will always have them on your photo. If their ‘faces’ don’t look in the camera, you can also fix them with a few pins to your background. Rearrange the flowers until you love the composition and take a picture. I promise, there is no better feeling than having home made art in your home, you will love it!

How to use {negative space} in floral arrangements

I’d love to show you more of my work here on the blog and a big part of it is defined by my academical studies. With my background in art history, I also love to challenge my mind and make trips to various academic disciplines and theories. For my work on Eclectic Trends I get lost in one of my favorite fields – trend forecast and its examination. Gudy demonstrated, what has always been an innate feeling to me: once you notice a ‘thing’ more than three times, it’s likely to become a trend. Today I’d love to show you how academic theories can be applied to floral design.
First of all, let me show you some great, great examples of a floral trend I have been noticing. With Instagram being one of my favorite sources I keep seeing arrangements that tend to be ‘build around a circle’- of course this is only an imaginative circle, but if you look at these images, there is a pattern. Now let me explain this a little further, as these photos display what I mean.

Sculptural floral arrangements - build around an imaginative circle
Sculptural floral arrangements – build around an imaginative circle

sources from top left: li.sense.abrrch_floralcultivatedbychristinfirenzaflowers

In my workshops I get asked how I create those wild, natural looking arrangements and with this post I would love to give you a little insight of how I work. Naturalistic floral arrangements tend to be the hardest thing to do, at least this is what I hear a lot. I am not a florist but my love for flowers goes back to my childhood: I was born in the Ukraine where my family had a ‘dacha’ – a small country home where we grew veggies, fruits and of course flowers. I remember being outside for months {luckily school summer vacation lasts 3 months in the Ukraine}, playing with flowers and plants all day long. My academic studies only added up to my aesthetic perception. This background of a playful approach to nature and all of the learned design principles allow me to start each floral project from a very unconventional way. I love to experiment with flowers and eventually theoretical design principles find their way into my work, on a very conscious or very subtle, unconscious level. One of these design principles I love to work with is negative space. A simple translation of the term itself might sound like the most boring thing, but it is indeed one of the most effective tools you can use to add interest to your work! Even if you are not familiar with art history, you might have heard the term: negative space.

learn how to make a naturalistic floral arrangement
learn how to make a naturalistic floral arrangement

In art and design it is defined as the space in between and around the subjects. If you study the artistic compositions above, you will notice that the use of negative space is key to the images! Simply by leaving empty spaces around and in between the flowers, and building sculptural arrangements around an imaginative circle, this negative space becomes most evident. The focus is all on the arrangement, but it is the empty places that surround the arrangenment like a visual echo and add vitality to the image. They form a characteristic and artistically relevant shape and add interest to a fascinating and most beautiful shape.

learn how to make a naturalistic floral arrangement
learn how to make a naturalistic floral arrangement

I made this arrangement to demonstrate how you can apply negative space to floral arrangements. To create this look you need:

  • long flowers or bend branches that already have a circular shape {these will be the key pieces of your arrangement}
  • a solid base to support your asymmetrical arrangement {to balance the weight go the larger pieces}
  • chicken wire inside the vase, to underline this solid base
  • seasonal, round-shaped flowers to complete the look
use circular shaped flowers and branches to create an artistic floral arrangement
use circular shaped flowers and branches to create an artistic floral arrangement

If you want to create this dramatic look, you need long branches or flowers that already have a circular shape. Their long, round shapes will be the main focus of the arrangement, this is also the reason, why I like to start with these large pieces. Once you have prepared a vase with chicken wire inside, you can start adding your round pieces into the vase. Try to work with the natural form, not against it and stick the branches and flowers into the vase and wait how it will balance out. If you are satisfied with the curves, you can add all the other flowers you have gathered and want to be in your arrangement. Here I added round shaped flowers too, to underline the effect of the ‘invisible circle’.

use circular shaped flowers and branches to create an artistic floral arrangement
use circular shaped flowers and branches to create an artistic floral arrangement

If you learn to apply the principle of negative space to your arrangements, you will soon see how free, wild and naturalistic the arrangements begin to look. Irregular forms can add so much naturalistic atmosphere to an arrangement, all you have to do is just to follow nature’s forms and shapes, as nature itself uses these universal design principles.

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Moody floral arrangement

ANZEIGE

gathering flowers in the woods
gathering flowers in the woods

Fairytale details accompany every visionary beginning when it comes to my stylings with flowers. I love to go outside to pick flowers in my garden or to gather heavily weathered branches from the woods.

moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE
moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE

I feel truly humbled to have a garden and even better, live close to a deep forest. Almost daily I go outside to either work in the garden or to take a walk in the forest. Not a day passes without a new botanic discovery – it can be a newly found color or a newly discovered form of a branch. My surroundings give me so much inspiration, so when I got asked to be interviewed in my working environment, it was only natural that we picked a big bunch of flowers and went out into the woods to create a fairytale flower arrangement…

moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE
moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE
moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE
moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE

As a little girl, I could sit there for hours and play with hollyhocks that fell to the ground or study the anatomy of a simple leaf. As long, as I can remember, I loved being outside, exploring every detail. In contrast to a busy travel schedule and challenges of the modern world, I turn to nature. These moments of beauty teach me to cherish the fragile and fading nature that surrounds us. But then again, a simple water drop on a leaf can inspire me sharpen my senses and translate this beauty to everything that I am confronted with.

moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE
moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE

Combining the love for flowers and the love for natural backdrops, as my personal source of inspiration with my love for photography – I am very happy to have started collaborating with the wonderful team of CEWE and can’t wait to show you the gorgeous future projects! I hope you enjoy the first set of pictures, there will be more next week…. A. XO

moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE
moody floral arrangement during video production with CEWE

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Visit the Botanical Garden in Munich

My last visit to the Botanical Garden in Munich left me speechless & I simply would love to share lots and lots of gorgeous details with you…If you ever have the chance to visit, please go! Enjoy, A. XO

visit the botanical garden in Munich, Germany
visit the botanical garden in Munich, Germany
doors at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
doors at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
detail at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany
details at botanical garden in Munich, Germany