European (Mass) Arrangement

Mass arrangements are traditional for European flower arranging. Nevertheless, they are very popular in North America, too. Here, there are a few tips how to make the flower arrangement better.

1. Pay attention to the whole mass of flowers, rather than to individual ones. Mass arrangements have a thick, full look and require much plant material. The whole colorful mass of flowers and foliages is accentuated, rather than the individual flowers, leaves, or branches.

2. Experiment with shapes. Mass arrangements may be of many shapes, including triangles, domes, crescents, ovals, and circles. Ovals and triangles are good shapes because the height and width are not the same. A flower arrangement may be made to be viewed from a single side only, or finished all around so that it becomes free-standing and may be seen from any position. A center of interest containing a focal point which attracts the attention is frequently developed.

3. Pick colors properly. Color is considered the most significant element in mass arrangements. Three or more types or colors of flowers are usually combined with one or more types of leaves. Usually it is advisable to pick more of one kind and color and less of the others. The plant materials are grouped together by kind. Then, the groups are mixed together. Choose colors that balance with one another and with the place, where the arrangement is to be used.

4. Play with flower shapes. A variety of flower sizes, textures, or shapes is necessary. Even though round or spray-shaped flowers typically dominate, spiky shapes work for triangular arrangements. When using round flowers, let the ones at the top face up, those in the bottom face a little bit down, some face right, some left, and those in the middle face out. Even though, the stems are not normally seen, all should extend or seem to radiate from the focal point.

5. Depth is crucial. Good development of depth is important. Allow some material to extend over the edge of the container. "Bury" certain flowers behind others to lead the eye into the arrangement. Plan spaces around the edges to give airiness. Avoid a flat, pressed appearance by opening up gaps among the flowers. Leaves coming out between the flowers leads the eye in and out of the flower arrangement.

6. Select a container properly. Floral foams make excellent holders for mass arrangements. Chicken wire is also suitable for vases or deep bowls and for heavy flowers with large stalks. Urns, compotes, goblets, vases, and medium-to-deep bowls are the best containers for mass arrangements.

7. Experiment with stylized arrangement. Stylized mass arrangements vary from the traditional ones by being more clean-cut, precise, and geometrical. Select three or more kinds and colors of flowers and foliages; you will need at least a few flowers of each. Instead of blending each kind and color, split them to develop well-defined placements. Commonly a center of interest with a focal point is carefully planned and developed.

Following these guidelines you can improve the quality of your flower arrangement. And remember, a good flower arrangement is a matter of practicing.

Learn more about Contemporary American (Line-Mass) Arrangement or difference between European and American floral arranging schools.