A feature of the FASNZ Conference every three years is the Society's major design competition - the National Designer of the Year. Each Area organizes its own internal competition to find the finalist who will represent their area at this event.

2023 Designer of the Year Competition

The unfortunate cancellation of the 2022 FASNZ Conference meant that there was a delay in the normal 3-year National Designer of the Year competition. However a well attended competition was convened in 2023 with impressive designs staged by the selected designers from all FASNZ Regional Areas.

The title for the Designer of the Year Competition was 'Connected Energy' (a stamobile style of design from the floor).
DOY winner, Jenny Buchanan, tells us how she developed her ideas for her winning design.

My ‘Connected Energy’ Design
by Jenny Buchanan

What a great title – ‘Connected Energy’ – a Stamobile which has to have one or more freely moving parts. There are actually three moving parts in my design.

It has been a journey after winning the South Canterbury Area DOY in August 2021 with Covid putting the conference on hold until 2023, then uncertainty with the Cook Strait ferries leading up to departure date.

I started making mitres using Phormium after a wonderful workshop the Geraldine Floral Art Group had held in November 2021, so when the title for the DOY came out in January 2023 I had a collection of various sizes to choose from. The palm spathes had been collected during trips to the North Island over a number of years and brought back to the south on the plane. These were my inspiration once the title was out and playtime in the garage began in earnest during February this year.

Mitred claddies (Phormium flower stalks) all connect together forming interesting components. The orange tissue paper and cane forms, which echo the triangular shapes in the mitred claddies, connect the components, and the orange wool inserted into the grooves in the palm spathes connect the spathes to the other components. Orange Heliconia complete the design and the colour orange suggests energy which all comes together as ‘Connected Energy’.

It was a privilege to represent the South Canterbury Area in the DOY and I thank all floral designers in NZ for their creative and inspiring designs sent in for the FASNZ diary publication and Floral Focus magazine, which also has excellent informative ‘how to’ articles. All floral designers have the support of other members of a club and help is always at hand with workshops and club days. What a lovely art form we have chosen.

Photo Gallery of Other Competitors for 2023 DOY

2019 Designer of the Year Competition

The title of the triennial Designer of the Year Competition 2019 was ‘The Heart of the Matter is ...’ with competitors invited to subtitle their design with words of their own choice. The twelve designs were suspended from the ceiling and a weight restriction of 10kgs was imposed. Winner, Barb Higgins, represented the Nelson Marlborough Area.

Barb’s design was a masterful example of clever construction and well-chosen plant material. The effect was a light and airy creation – almost ethereal – and full of interesting components and complementary colours. The techniques used ensured everything stayed fresh throughout the days of the exhibition without further attention.

Barb’s personal subtitle: ‘Showcasing nature in a form of art is a matter dear to the heart’ was printed on a small heart of recycled paper hanging below the cone. Further access points were provided by small paper butterflies, paper hearts and individual orchid flowers in tiny vials. The whole design weighed no more than 3kgs.

1b Barb Higgins Winner DOY
2 Barb Higgins detail
3 Barb with winning design

Barb Higgins, Designer of the Year 2019

5 Natalie Meredith 2nd

2nd Place - Natalie Meredith

6 Natalie Meredith detail
7 Carol Rains 3rd

3rd Place - Carol Rains

8 Carol Rains detail

Photo Gallery of other competitors for 2019 DOY

2016 Designer of the Year Competition

The Designer of the Year held in 2016 at the annual conference convened in New Plymouth, New Zealand.

The 2016 DOY design schedule set the competitors a challenge - requiring a canvas or canvases to be incorporated in the floor design to interpret the title "The Autumn Palette Stirs The Soul".


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