Natalie Meredith wins designer of the year

BOP Floral Art Designer of the Year Natalie Meredith with Garden and Art Festival organiser Marc Anderson.

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Natalie Meredith has won the prestigious BOP Area Floral Art Designer of the Year competition.

The competition, run by the Tauranga Floral Art Society during the Bloom in the Bay Festival at Tauranga Historic Village, was judged by three Waikato floral art design judges.

Natalie’s design captured perfectly the ‘Nature into Art’ theme of the competition which was staged outdoors this year, with nine designers competing to be Designer of the Year.  Bay of Plenty Garden and Art Festival manager Marc Anderson presented the award.

The competition started on Thursday, the first day of the Bloom in the Bay festival at 8am, with designers having to complete their work by noon. The three judges, Heather Hammond, Dorothy Turner and Marion Shaw started judging at 12.30pm and prize giving was held at 5pm.

“It was a real challenge to have the Designer of the Year competition outside this year,” says judge Heather Hammond, “and have a design that was going to stand up to whatever the weather conditions are. That was a real challenge for the competitors.

“In this class the design was required to be free standing, which means you need to be able to walk around the whole design. And it must be interesting, well-balanced all the way around.

“So each design we looked at, we looked at the balance of the design all the way around, and then looking from the top of the design right down to the base, and how the base of the design worked within the space, whether it was covered, whether there was unity with the rest of the design.”

The designs had a variety of bases, from a metal spike, to moss, to bark.

Heather Hammond, Dorothy Turner and Marion Shaw – the three judges from Waikato.

“Then we look at the interest all the way around, the colour in each design, whether the colour flows through the design and takes the eye up and around the design,” says Heather. “We consider the suitability of the design for the title, which is ‘Nature into Art’.  So we were looking at each of the designs for the nature.”

While the nine were competing in the garden outside the Historic Village Schoolhouse, another 92 entries were being prepared inside the school house for the other categories of the competition, which included ‘Storm in a Cup’, and traditional period pieces to contemporary themes. Floral designers from the five Bay of Plenty clubs – Rotorua, Opotiki, Whakatane, Te Puke and Tauranga competed, and their work is now open for public viewing.

A working table has been set up outside the school house where the public can watch floral artists at work designing their creations during the Bloom in the Bay Festival. There are also ten hanging designs outside.

Open from 9am to 9.30pm every day of the festival from Thursday November 15 to Sunday November 18, Bloom in the Bay is bursting with food stalls, a bar, music, a speaker and workshop series, concept gardens, an art gallery, sculpture and of course, floral design.

For those who buy a ticket for the Bay of Plenty Garden and Art trail, entry into Bloom in the Bay is free. Otherwise entry is $5 for adults, and children free.

Full list of winners:

Designer of the Year: Nature into Art

1st – Natalie Meredith

2nd – Francine Thomas

3rd – Ruth Wilson

Class 2: Pearly Pastels

1st – Lois Montgomery

2nd – Bev Egerton

3rd – Sylvia Scott

Highly commended – Sylvia Perkinson

Class 3: In Days Gone By – Traditional

1st – Francine Thomas

2nd – Gladys Possin

3rd – Bev Egerton

Highly commended – Lois Montgomery

Highly commended – Marion Lewin

Class 4: Storm in a Teacup

1st – Lesley Burgess

2nd – Natalie Meredith

3rd – Barbara Hewitt

Highly commended – Pat Beamish-White

Class 5: Scaled Back - Petite

1st – Mary Milham

2nd – Sally Walters

3rd – Pat Beamish-White

Class 6: Illusion – a kinetic design

1st – Barbara Hewitt

2nd – Marion Lewin

3rd – June Clayden

Highly commended – Jenny Smidt​​​​​​​

A closeup of Natalie’s winning design.

An award-winning design by Francine Thomas​​​​​​​.


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