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Francine Thomas wins Designer of the Year

Francine Thomas with her winning floral art design.

Floral artist Francine Thomas is the winner of the Bay of Plenty Area of the Floral Art Society 2020 Designer of the Year competition.

The overall floral art theme was ‘Still Blooming’ and featured Dutch Flemish, traditional and contemporary designs, as well as stunning fascinators and wristlets made from plant material.

The theme for the Designer of the Year was ‘The Voice of Nature’.

Francine’s design incorporated green chi roses, Sweet William, orange gerbera, green anthurium and magnolia leaves that spiral around a steel stand with an open tear drop shape representing the voice of nature.

“I’ve used foam core board as my main mechanic,” says Francine.

“I cut the shape into a tear drop, opened it up and glued thousands of magnolia leaves onto it using cold glue.”

Extending up from the base is skeletonised ponga, with orange zantedeschias following the line of the design.

Francine’s husband Ashley is an engineer who built the metal stand holding her floral work, with Francine using laminated core board, glue and wire to make the main structure.

The flowers were kept fresh over the four days of the festival with a hidden oasis and some of the larger flowers sat in hidden test tubes refilled with water each day.

The competition, which was judged by Heather Hammond and Rosalie Barr from the Waikato, was held in conjunction with the 2020 Bay of Plenty Garden & Art Festival at Bloom in the Bay at Tauranga Racecourse last weekend.

This two-yearly event brings Bay of Plenty floral designers together to compete against one another for the prestigious title of Designer of the Year and other competition classes. This year there was also a non-competitive display of outdoor environmental art.

Results of the Bay of Plenty Area of FASNZ 2020 Designer of the Year:

Class One Designer of the Year ‘The Voice of Nature’ winners were Francine Thomas - 1, Elaine Searl -2, and Sylvia Scott -3 – all from Tauranga. 

Class Two ‘The Vanitas Theme’ winners were Lorraine Ryan – 1 from Tauranga, Karen Murray -2 from Whakatane, Bev Egerton - 3 from Te Puke, and Natalie Meredith from Tauranga was highly commended.

Class Three ‘In Days Gone By’ winners were Bev Egerton – 1 from Te Puke, Kay Aldridge - 2 from Tauranga, Cheryl Ward -3 from Tauranga, and Marion Lewin from Tauranga was highly commended.

Class Four ‘A Wristlet’ winners were Ruth Wilson -1 from Tauranga, Angela Sheppard -2 from Tauranga, Phillippa Crocker -3 from Whakatane, and Natalie Meredith from Tauranga was highly commended.

Class Five ‘Wound Up in Lockdown’ winners were Mary Milham – 1, Jenny Smidt -2, and Pat Nairn 3 – all from Tauranga, with Colleen Clark from Opotiki receiving a highly commended award.             

Class Six ‘It’s Fascinating’ winners were Francine Thomas – 1 from Tauranga, Sylvia Scott – 2 from Tauranga, Liz Grogan – 3 from Opotiki, with Francine Thomas also receiving a highly commended award.

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