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A Provocative Arrangement at Flower Show

26 Mar 2013

For most people, the Australian bushfire is a destructive inferno that ravages our environs, but for Thornbury resident Emily Bradbury, the bushfire is an inspiration for creative, floral artistry.

Emily, 23, an apprentice florist at Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE (NMIT), is using the bushfire theme for her design in a competition for a contemporary floral arrangement for an interior design office at this year's Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show at the Exhibition Buildings on 28 March to 1 April.

Called 'Burnt', Emily will create her design by bringing 'the outdoors, indoors' with a colour combination of natural hues of ochres, browns and oranges to reflect the parched earth.

'I want to use raw materials and native Australian flora such as gum leaves and flowers and tetragonia, which is an eucalypt with huge greyish octagonal nuts attached,' Emily said.

'When you walk into the interior design office I envisage, there is an elevated platform on which will sit a really huge desk and my floral arrangement will sit on the desk's right.

'It will be raw and different and I want to provoke thought in people's minds as well as give them an aesthetic appreciation.'

With a keen environmental consciousness, Emily said she was trying to make a statement about the impact of climate change and global warming on our flora as well as create a contemporary design that was artistic and provocative.

'Climate change is a big issue, but my focus at the competition is essentially creative to see what I can achieve.'

Emily, studying Certificate III in Floristry at NMIT's Fairfield campus, is one of 15 NMIT students participating in the competition at a senior level.

Another intermediate competition is also being staged where students have to design a romantic table setting for two. Thirty NMIT students will compete on that level.

Emily added that while she was very nervous in competitions and didn't enjoy being on the spot, it was an opportunity to push herself and see what she could do under pressure.

' I want to make myself feel uncomfortable and do something I normally wouldn't do. And I thought, if I'm going to do it, I may as well throw myself in the deep end with a different kind of creative challenge.'

She said hopefully, she might surprise herself, and by taking a risk, it would be an experience that would reveal what she was capable of achieving.

The students have I ½ hours to create the design.

'I could have chosen to do something that's pretty and nice but wanted to get out of my comfort zone and do something really different.

'I'm still researching Australian flora on the internet and haven't worked out yet exactly what flora will be in the design.'

Interview / Photo Opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on 03 9269 1579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) – Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne’s north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce.  NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.