Video: Harrogate Spring Flower Show 2016

20 April 2016

A spectacular carnival tribute to the forthcoming Rio games is to go on display at Harrogate Spring Flower Show (21 – 24 April 2016).

Believed to be the first ever carnival costume made from fresh flowers and foliage, the 12ft (3.6m) by 12ft (3.6m) work of art will form part of Britain’s biggest exhibition of floristry and flower arranging.

The costume has been created by international carnival designer Hughbon Condor and award-winning florist Helen James, with the support of funding from Arts Council England.

Containing more than 30 metres of aluminium tubing and fibreglass rods, 16m2 of foam and over 1,400 fresh flowers and pieces of plant material, the Carnival of Flowers costume will take a staggering 155 hours to complete.

Hughbon, who is based in Leeds, is an internationally-respected carnival costume designer with over 40 years of experience. He has been closely associated with Leeds West Indian Carnival for many years. In 2005 he was one of three artists from the UK to gain an Arts Fellowship in Trinidad and has taken part in events spanning the Caribbean, Asia and Africa, as well as the UK.

Helen, who runs Helen James Flowers in Harrogate, has more than 30 years of experience. She has won several Best in Show awards at Harrogate Flower Shows and the British Florist Association’s Fleurex competition. Helen is a silver medalist at Chelsea Flower Show and was Interflora’s North East Florist of the Year three years running, before becoming a national finalist in 2011.

Their stunning work of floral art will go on display for up to 60,000 visitors to the Harrogate Spring Flower Show, which will also feature large scale exhibits from floristry colleges across the region, who will be celebrating the forthcoming games in Brazil with the theme Carnival Rio Style.

Describing the challenge of creating Carnival of Flowers, Hughbon Condor said:

Each costume is a feat of engineering because it needs to be strong enough to carry and display all of the 3D design elements, but light enough for a person to wear.

This is a very special project because it is the first time a carnival costume has been made from fresh flowers. It presents the very exciting opportunity to combine the artistic influences of the Caribbean and South America with floral art, which is a completely new discipline for me.


Helen James added:

Although I have created a number of fashion-inspired pieces in competition, Carnival of Flowers is a whole new dimension. The sheer scale of a design, the fact that it needs to be completed in just a few days to stay fresh for the show and that it needs to be both wearable and durable, poses some really thrilling challenges.

In true Rio style we have chosen flowers in bright, vibrant colours such as lime green, orange, hot pinks, purple and yellow to replace what would normally be feathers. The flowers need to be big and bold enough to make a real impact on the larger elements of the design, but delicate enough to create the right detail for the necklace, cuffs and skirt.

Vanda orchids, gerbera, craspedia, anthuriums, salix and palms are just some of the many hundreds of flowers and pieces of foliage to be used.

Visitors to the spring show can find out more about Hughbon and Helen’s ground breaking project at a special talk on Carnival of Flowers at 1pm on Friday 22 April in the Floral Marquee.

Harrogate Flower Show Director Nick Smith commented:

We are famous for hosting a stunning display of floral art in what has become the biggest exhibition of its kind in Britain. The Carnival of Flowers project has presented the opportunity to bring a completely new and very topical concept to the show. It is truly spectacular and we hope our visitors enjoy admiring the tremendous talent and hard work of our artists.

Staged at the Great Yorkshire Showground, other attractions at the prestigious gardening event, include show gardens, nearly 100 plant nursery displays, live entertainment and great garden shopping. New for 2016 is Botanica: Plants & People exploring the age-old relationship between people and nature, including an exhibition celebrating the life of legendary landscape architect Capability Brown.

Tickets are available each day on the gate: Thurs, Fri, Sat *£18.50; Sun *£16.50. Parking is FREE. Under 16s go FREE when accompanied by an adult.

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