Alternative bridal headpieces, crowns and headbands. Couture floral design. Eco design and conscious fashion for brides. Or for grooms. You are all welcome.
A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or bacterias living among filaments of different fungi species in a mutualistic relationship. Lichens can be seen as being relatively self-contained miniature ecosystems. According to the naturalist & lichenologist Trevor Goward, “Lichens are fungi that have discovered agriculture“. The combined lichen has properties different from those of its component organisms. Lichens come in many colors, sizes, and forms. Their characteristics are sometimes plant-like, but lichens are not plants. They often have a regular but very slow growth rate of less than a millimeter per year. And some of them are considered to be among the oldest living things. They are among the first living things to grow on fresh rock exposed after an event such as a landslide.
This headband is designed with lichens that I found in the afternoon of a beautiful windy day in the Morvan. That summer we fell in love with the Morvan Natural Park in France: Its mountains, its infinite trees, its endless greens and its castles.
Lichens’ texture resembles that of ancient clothes that were used in the middle ages: Thick, rigid and with a magnificent design. I painted them gold in order to give them a uniformity of tones. I gave the headband a “regal” touch, adding some mini garnet-colored flowers (glyxies).
Lichens have such a flamboyant shape that I deliberately used a small number of flowers, trying to reduce the “visual weight” of the design.
I also tried to give the headband an optical sensation of height by using bigger flowers at the base and gradually reducing the size of the flowers towards the top. That is why the smallest flower is at the top of the diadem.
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Another late summer afternoon in the Morvan I found some lunarias plants at the foot of a romantic castle: They were small, twisted and brown. I took them home and, after carefully separating the leaves, these wonderful mother-of-pearl coins appeared.
Lunaria is a plant native to the Balkans and southwest Asia, but now you can find it throughout South Europe. It grows to 90 cm tall by 30 cm broad approx., with large, coarse, pointed oval leaves with marked sawlike teeth. In spring and summer it has white or violet flowers, followed by showy, light brown, translucent, disc-shaped seed pods of which the skin falls off to release the seeds, revealing a membrane which is white with a silvery radiance. They stay on the plant during the winter.
I designed it in a triangular shape, like a thin mother-of-pearl princess crown. At the bottom are the largest leaves. I have also put some lunarias on the back of the crown, to give the structure more opacity and more body. More towards the top of the design I chose smaller leaves.
All the leaves are fixed to a fine wire with floral tape and woven to each other in order to give the front part of the crown a smooth shape. And not using any glue allows the design to be flexible and resistant. Each leave can perfectly be repositioned.
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Big lunarias crown
This crown is a big puzzle with the shape of 2 waves. For me, a great sudoku. Each leaf has a unique shape, finding its own space.
I’ve only used wire and floral tape. This way I have achieved that the crown is flexible and firm at the same time. I think glue would secure the flowers too much and they may break easier. Designing with wire is more time consuming, but the result is much better.
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This headband is designed with the beige sheets that cover the pearly leaves of the lunar plant. These sheets are the “skin” that the pods have and that cover the seeds. In summer the leaves fall off so that the seeds drop to the ground… and the process of reproduction continues…
These leaves have no stem and they are also very rigid. This is the reason why I divided the design process of this headband in two phases:
First I immersed the leaves in water until they were sufficiently hydrated and flexible. Then I dried them a little bit but without allowing them to recover their stiffness, and then I applied with a little brush a mixture of diluted white glue with water. This way I was able to shape the crown in both width and height, and at the same time I could keep the original shape of each one of the leaves.
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Bougainvillea’s plant is a vine species. It grows from 1 to 12 m tall, scrambling over other plants with their spiky thorns. The actual flower of the plant is small and generally white, but each cluster of three flowers is surrounded by three or six leaves with the bright colours of the plant, including pink, magenta, purple, red, orange, white, or yellow.
This crown is designed with bougainvillea leaves, some lunaria leaves and small spikes of mustard briza.
I cut some bougainvillea branches on some early morning. I cut the stems crosswise and longitudinally.Then I immediately put them in boiling water for 2 minutes. After that I cut the part of the stems that had been under water and cut them again with another longitudinal cut, then I soaked them in very cold water with ice. Longitudinal cuts help the plant absorb more water. Finally, I hung them upside down for several weeks so that they could dry without damaging the shape of their leaves.
I designed this large crown with the dried bougainvilleas. All the leaves are joined together with wires so that none of them collides too much with the rest. They seem to float which prevents them from being damaged, while creating a sense of volume. The small breeze twigs and some lunaria leaves help to increase the sensation of movement and space.
Did you know that in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay this plant is also called “Santa Rita”? Bougainvillea is sometimes referred to as “paper flower” because the bracts are thin and papery.
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When I designed this crown I played with a disproportion of its parts. It is worn diagonally, as if it were a headband. The flowers go at the left side of the head, above the ear.
Among others, at the base of the crown I mixed white preserved paniculata flowers, dry white and pink glixias and mini wild spikes. All these flowers are very thin and small: In order to give a strong volume to the headband, I put them very close and tight to each other. There is hardly any free space between them. And I formed a large oval shaped block.
Above these flowers, as a large golden feather, dry leaves of asparagus plant stand out. Asparagus is a scrambling perennial plant with tough green stems, which may reach several metres in length. It is not a true fern, but its leaves look like it . It is a plant with flowers native to Southern Africa and currently we can find it throughout the Mediterranean basin.
Like in other designs, I didn’t use any glue. I have used only wire, white and gold floral wire and ribbon.
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I designed this crown with black and blue panicum spikes. These spikes have a very clear direction. They are totally straight and barely have curves. In order to obtain the shape of the crown I played with different lengths of spikes. In the center they are medium sized, then they grow and then decrease again until they are smaller. When they cross each other we get this pyramidal shape. And in the highest part of the crown we get some movement, as if the plants were feathers. On the other hand, by concentrating black spikes in the middle, we managed to give the crown a feeling of optical depth.
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This headband is designed with small branches. It is full of volume and a motion sensation. A golden wave takes you to live those dreams that you only had in your sleep.
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Halo with golden wild grasses
Heat can affect plants in two different ways: it can be sudden or in a gradual way.
When the weather is very hot, plants lose their water through gradual perspiration: Water evaporates through the pores in their leaves. And if this extreme heat is maintained for a long time, plants can dry and die. Plants may also wilt due to lack of water in the soil.
On the other hand, plants can also suffer from a sudden “heat stroke”. This happens when temperatures rise so fast and so much that they need to increase their perspiration quickly as soon as possible to counteract the heat. Sometimes a “heat stroke” can even happen when the soil is wet, because the loss of water from their leaves can be faster than the absorption of water from its roots. And if the environmental humidity is low, the situation gets much worse, to such an extent that a heat stroke can rapidly kill a plant, especially if it is an herbaceous plant (they are the most sensitive to the heat).
Direct sun rays can also cause burns to the leaves, especially in case of plants which come from very rainy regions or that were grown in greenhouses.
This large crown is designed in the form of a large golden halo with wild spikes harvested in the fields of Salamana (Spain).
These spikes were dried due to the high temperatures of the Salamanca summer, which usually reaches close to 40 degrees Celsius. These spikes are quite straight and barely have any curves. With them I simulate the shape of golden rays. Also, by gradually separating the spikes from each other we managed to give the crown a feeling of size and optical depth. I have only used dried spikes, wire and satin ribbon.
It is easy to wear and it is a light crown. It is attached to the hair by a comb.
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Not all plants tolerate cold in the same way. There are plants, such as conifers, that can resist very low temperatures. On the other hand, there are tropical plants which begin to suffer as soon as temperatures fall below 5 degrees Celsius.
When temperatures fall beyond the “sensitivity threshold” of a plant, its functional activity begins to weaken, its internal biological equilibriums are altered and finally its cells die and plant tissues are destroyed.
Normally frosts occur when most plants are in their “wintering” phase and therefore they withstand the cold. But the plant usually also suffers if it is young or if suddenly there is a late frost in spring (because then the frost occurs when the plant is sprouting).
In general there are different kinds of frost:
- White frost: It occurs when a white layer of frost covers plants and soil. This frost occurs when there is humidity in the atmosphere and it freezes over everything. When the water is frozen, the plants benefit from this heat transfer, which reduces the pernicious effect of the cold.
- Black frost: It occurs when temperatures fall and the atmosphere has low humidity and water is also lacking in the soil. There is no frost and the plants spoil.
- Frost of prevention: They occur when there are “cold waves”, that is, the invasion of air masses at low temperatures, usually of polar origin.
- Radiation frost: They are the most common in spring. The lack of wind, atmospheric humidity and clouds aggravate this phenomenon. The surface of the Earth (including plants) loses heat (by radiation) that reaches the upper layers of the atmosphere. And when it contacts the cold air, being heavier, it descends to the earth’s surface.
- Frost by evaporation causes the cooling of the plant organs due to the large amount of heat required by the vaporization of liquid water present on the surface of the plant at room temperature. It especially affects the most delicate organs: buds, flowers and small fruits.
I have designed two headbands with plants that were dehydrated, burned and blackened by winter frosts in Salamanca (Spain).
Silver thistle headband
This is the first headband of this collection designed with plants burned by low temperatures. It is designed with wild thistles.
The structure of this headband is designed in such a way that each cocoon rubs as little as possible with the rest to prevent them from cracking each other, and in turn get more sense of volume. I have given the headband a lateral wave shape to the left, using also the line of each of the stems. The pointed ends of each cocoon contrast with the curve of the overall structure of the headband. The silver color gives the impression of moving stars.
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Gold & silver oak mini twigs headband
This is the first headband of this collection designed with plants burned by low temperatures and is designed with holm oak twigs.
Almost every stem that I have used to design this headband retains mini acorns at its ends. The structure of the headband is designed in such a way that each twig rubs as little as possible with the rest to prevent them from breaking apart, and in turn achieve a sense of volume. I have given the headband a side wave line towards the left, using the shape of the stems. With the polyhedral shape of the mini acorns it seems that the headband has a waterfall of diamonds.
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