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Exhibition Toolbox/Design Themes

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Design Themes

Schedules & Suggested Themes

Design Although not required, it is highly recommended that each Iris show have a division for floral designs using Iris. This division may be judged by the AIS judges or is often done by and according to the rules of the National Garden Clubs (NGC) and their judges are invited to judge the designs alone or in conjunction with AIS judges. If you are using NGC judges, designs will be judged according to NGC guidelines which are consistent with AIS guidelines in the AIS Handbook for Judges.

The Design class utilizes a theme which often becomes the title of the show. Offered along with the themes featured here are cover pages for a show schedule that is linked to a specific theme. You are welcome to use these or create your own themes and cover pages. Check the Design Bulletin Board to links to local websites to see what they have done at their shows and send us a link to your local website to share with others.

The following are some suggested themes. People generally sign up ahead of time for the categories in which they would like to participate. Usually a minimum of 4 entries are needed in each category, and at least 3 categories for the theme. If this minimum of 12 designs can not be met then NGC judges can not get credit from their club for judging and it is better to have the AIS judges judge such a small design class. Remember if you require backgrounds they are generally provided by the club and available for the exhibitors. A design schedule can always be edited downward if only a small number of designs show up.

The files provided in the section below are either Adobe Acrobat PDF files or photo jpeg file types or MSWord documents that can be edited to suit your needs. (File sizes are shown for reference.)



Through the Year With Iris

Suggested categories:

* 'April in Paris' (romantic dinner for two - functional table)

* 'Easter Parade' (designer's choice)

* 'June is Busting Out All Over' (designer's choice)

* 'September in the Rain' (showing water)

* 'Winter Wonderland' (using some materials of the season)

* 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' Youth Only (use an accessory)

Click here to download a cover for this theme [jpg 1 MB]


The United States of Iris

Suggested categories:

* "New England' (think of the sights and flavors of the sea - designer's choice)

* "Texas Two-Step' (use 2 containers)

* "New York' (designer's choice)

* "Mid-Western Living' (designer's choice)

* "Sunny Beaches' Youth Only (think of a warm vacation - designer's choice)


An Iris Cruise

Suggested categories:

*'The Sunny Caribbean' (warm colors)

*'The Alaskan Shoreline' (suggestion of ice)

*'The Mississippi Queen' (decorative wood)

*'The Captain's Table' (functional table for two)

*'A Disney Cruise' Youth Only (use an accessory)

*'Scuba Diving' Youth Only (designer's choice)


Meet Me in St. Louis

Suggested categories:

*'Meet Me At the Fair' (incorporate something nostalgic)

*'Missouri Botanical Garden' (use all fresh plant material)

*'All Aboard' (the train, plane or automobile - show motion)

*'The Great Observation Wheel' (designer's choice)

*'We All Scream for Ice Cream' (functional table for two)

*'Toys - Now and Then' Youth Only (using a toy, modern or nostalgic)

*'The St. Louis Zoo' Youth Only (designer's choice)


Hats off to Iris

Suggested categories:

*'Grab your coat and get your hat; leave your worries on the doorstep; just direct your feet to the sunny side of the street.' (feature sunny colors)

*'Lunch at the Brown Derby' (elegant functional luncheon for two)

*'In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it.' (a lacy salute to spring - designer's choice)

*'All my ex's live in Texas; that's why I hang my hat in Tennessee' Men Only (designer's choice)

*'Toss out your sombrero Senor, for a spicy Mexican Hat Dance.' (a colorful design)

*'The Mad Hatter has tea with the White Rabbit' Youth Only (designer's choice)

*'The Mad Hatter plays chess with the Queen of Hearts' Youth Only (designer's choice)


What A Day I've Had

Suggested categories:

*'I Overslept' - I was up late last night and I overslept. (Be creative and show motion)

*'Lost My Keys' - I was going out to lunch and couldn't find my keys. Help me find them. (designer's choice)

*'I went to the Grocery Store' - I had to go to the store to buy a few things for supper. (designer's choice)

*'I Went to the Doctor' - He told me I was pregnant. On no! Oh yes! - pregnant with Twins! (a design using two containers)

*'Car Problems' - Something is always going wrong with my car. (incorporate a car or car part or parts)

*'The Dog Ate My Homework' - Will the teacher believe me? Youth Only (designer's choice)

*'I Missed the School Bus' - Mom will have to drive me. Youth Only (designer's choice)



Other Theme suggestions

Other design themes and classes follow. The schedules with a large number of classes (10-13) were used for the iris shows held at Southview School (our club's Classroom Iris Project for 10 years). Many students, staff members and club members participated so an extensive schedule was necessary. Southview is a special education school so we offered a "Room Design" class each year. Classrooms planned and executed their design as a group, each student contributing something to the whole. These designs are called "Club Competition Designs" by the National Garden Clubs. They are perfectly legal if described in your show schedule, but I believe a school setting is the only place where they could appropriately be used by iris clubs. Many Southview students created individual designs over the years, but the "Room Design" category allowed more challenged special-needs students to participate.


Color My World, (with iris the rainbow flower)

- 1) 'Oceans and Streams' (Feature water in this design staged on a table against a black background); 2) 'Forests and Woods' (Use decorative wood in this design staged on a table against a light green background); 3) 'Valleys and Vales' (It's designer's choice for this design staged on a 36" tall green wire floral stand topped by a flat 16" circle covered in natural burlap. Underlay may be used if furnished by exhibitor); 4) 'Mountains and Plateaus' (Use a rock or rocks in or with this design staged on a table against a light green background); 5) 'Skies and Space' - (Designer's choice for this design staged on a table against a black background).

Iris Goes to the Movies

- 1) 'Opening Night' (When a movie premiers, Hollywood rolls out the red carpet. Make your own dramatic statement with this design); 2) 'Hot Buttered Popcorn' (the motion of this aromatic popping treat is sure to catch the eyes of those entering the theater. Show motion in this design); 3) 'Foreign Films' (Many critically acclaimed movies are made in countries outside the United States. Create a design representing the country of your choice - name your country on a 3' X 5' card placed by the design); 4) 'Double Feature' (Two movies for the price of one. For this production, your design must incorporate two containers); 5) 'Dinner and a Movie' (dinner and movies seem to go hand in hand. Create a functional table design for two); 6) 'Cartoons' Youth Only (Create a design to represent a vintage cartoon or a modern-day animated feature film of your choice); 7) 'The Candy Counter' Youth Only (Remember Ju-Ju Bees, Junior Mints and cotton candy at the concession stand? Designer's choice to represent your favorite confection).

Iris Notes

- 1) 'Circus Music' (a tall design staged on the floor); 2) 'Boston Pops' (functional dinner for two); 3) 'Oom Pah!' (designer's choice); 4) 'Rock ën Roll' (show motion); 5) 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' (functional breakfast tray); 6) 'New Orleans Jazz' (sophisticated - designer's choice); 7) 'Waltz Music' (creative design); 8) 'My Favorite Musical Group' (creative design - name your group on a 3' X 5' card); 9) 'Country and Western' Youth Only (designer's choice); 10) 'Island Music' Youth Only (think tropical - designer's choice); 11) 'Disney Music' Youth Only (use an accessory); 12) 'Rap/Hip Hop' Youth Only (designer's choice); 13)'Instruments of the Orchestra' Youth Room Design.

An Iris Timeline

- 1) 'The Egyptians' (think of the desert sands or the fertile Nile as you create this design); 2) 'Chinese Dynasty' (a design in the Oriental manner); 3) 'The Renaissance' (creative design); 4) 'The Industrial Revolution' (use a machine or a mechanical part); 5) 'Space Age' (include a horned, spooned or flounced iris in the design or use an appropriate accessory); 6) 'Pioneers' Youth Only (designer's choice); 7) 'Civil Rights Heroes' Youth Only (designer's choice. Name your favorite Civil Rights hero on a 3' X 5' card); 8) 'Incas, Mayans & Aztecs' Youth Only (use sunny colors); 9) 'The Age of Dinosaurs' Youth Only (designer's choice); 10) 'Native Americans' Youth Room Design.


The Iris Arena

- 1) 'Winter Olympics' (a tall design staged on the floor); 2) ”Pre-Game Bar-B-Que' (functional table for two); 3) 'Track and Field' (use multiple containers); 4) 'Animal Sports' (show motion); 5) 'The Armchair Athlete' (a functional tray); 6) 'Sports on Ice' (a design incorporating white and/or blue); 7) 'Sports With a Ball' (creative design); 8) 'Gymnastics' Youth Only (featuring motion); 9) 'Water Sports' Youth Only (featuring water); 10) 'Table Games' Youth Only (designer's choice); 11) 'Special Olympics' Youth Only (designer's choice); 12) 'Team Sports' Youth Only (designer's choice); 13) 'Victory Celebration' Youth Room Design.floor); 2) ”Pre-Game Bar-B-Que' (functional table for two); 3) 'Track and Field' (use multiple containers); 4) 'Animal Sports' (show motion); 5) 'The Armchair Athlete' (a functional tray); 6) 'Sports on Ice' (a design incorporating white and/or blue); 7) 'Sports With a Ball' (creative design); 8) 'Gymnastics' Youth Only (featuring motion); 9) 'Water Sports' Youth Only (featuring water); 10) 'Table Games' Youth Only (designer's choice); 11) 'Special Olympics' Youth Only (designer's choice); 12) 'Team Sports' Youth Only (designer's choice); 13) 'Victory Celebration' Youth Room Design.

The Iris Domain

- 1) 'Iris On Line' (Click on to the Internet and use decorative wood in this design); 2) 'World Wide Web' (This mass arrangement represents the quantity and variety of web sites); 3) 'Surfing the Net' (Browse through these designs and observe that each one features water); 4) 'Maximize' (a tall design. Be creative, be innovative, be beautiful - Just be BIG!!! Staged on the floor in a 30' X 30' space); 5) 'The Information Superhighway' (Pull up that iris information in record time with this design showing motion); 6) 'Moving the Mouse' Youth Only (Move the cursor to an arrangement using a mouse - 4 legged variety also acceptable - in the design or as an accessory); 7) 'The Laser Printer' Youth Only (Your document will be complete in seconds with this design showing motion).

It's an Iris Zoo

- 1) 'The Bear Pits' (use a rock or rocks); 2) 'The Tall Giraffe' (a tall design staged on the floor; 3) 'The Sleek Sea Lions' (featuring water); 4) 'The Zoo Line Railroad' (showing motion); 5) 'Big Cat Country' (designer's choice); 6) 'The Wild Monkey' Youth Only (designer's choice); 7) 'The Baby Elephant' Youth Only (use decorative wood or rocks).

The Culinary Irisarian

- 1) 'Duck Soup' (you're in it as you choose an unusual container for this design); 2) 'Salad Days' (toss your salad as you use all fresh plant materials in this design); 3) 'Tea Time' (carry on an English Tradition with this functional tea for two staged on a bridge table); 4) 'Catfish Dinner' (kick back and relax with this design featuring water); 5) 'Baked Alaska' (cake and ice cream covered with meringue and set afire. A dramatic design); 6) 'Chocolate Chip Cookies' Youth Only (have fun making this design of your choice); 7) 'Washing the Dishes' Youth Only (Oh No! It's clean up time. A design featuring water).

The Iris Forecast

- 1) 'Walking in a Winter Wonderland' (Snow cover protects irises during their dormancy. A design incorporating some materials of the winter season); 2) 'Ice, Ice Baby' (A late freeze just before show time makes life challenging. A design incorporating white and/or icy pastels); 3) 'Stormy' (Can't work in the garden so relax and have breakfast in bed. A functional breakfast tray staged on a wooden tray table furnished by the club); 4) 'The Rain in Spain' (Rain nourishes, replenishes, revitalizes. A design featuring water); 5) 'Here Comes the Sun' (Sun warms the soil and bloomstalks seem to pop up overnight. A design showing motion); 6) 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' Youth Only (Irises come in a rainbow of colors. A colorful design); 7) 'Lightning is Striking Again' Youth Only (Run for cover! A design showing motion).

America the Beautiful

- 1) 'Oh Beautiful, for Spacious Skies' (a tall design staged on the floor); 2) 'For Amber Waves of Grain' (a design incorporating dried plant material); 3) 'For Purple Mountain Majesties' (a design featuring rocks and/or decorative wood); 4) 'Above the Fruited Plain' (a design incorporating fruit or vegetables); 5) 'America, America, God Shed His Grace on Thee' (a design using all fresh plant material); 6) 'And Crown Thy Good With Brotherhood' Youth Only (a design using an accessory you might find in your brother's room - or your friend's brother's room); 7) 'From Sea to Shining Sea' Youth Only (a design featuring water).

Around the World With Iris

- 1) 'China' (The place where fireworks began. A creative design); 2) 'Germany' (The land of Oom Pah music and traditional potables. Designer's choice); 3) 'Iceland' (A good place to see the Northern Lights. Designer's choice); 4) 'Paris' (Dine at an outdoor café. A functional table for two); 5) 'London' (Watch the barges along the River Thames. A design featuring water); 6) 'New York' Youth Only (A crowded place to visit. A mass design less than 20' tall); 7) 'Hawaii' Youth Only (Hula girls and warm beaches - a tropical paradise. Designer's choice).

It's a Grand Old Flag

-- Irises (sometimes called flags) have been admired and cultivated for centuries. The American flag has flown in many places. We salute both! - 1) 'St. Louis' (On May 14, 1804, Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition from St. Louis to the Northwest. Feature water in this design); 2) 'The Moon' (U.S. Astronauts landed and planted the U.S. flag here on July 20, 1969. Designer's choice); 3) 'The United Nations' (Though they now meet in New York, this group first met in San Francisco on July 26, 1945. Designer's choice); 4) 'Alaska' (This vast land was purchased from Russia in 1867. Designer's choice); 5) 'Independence Hall' (The Declaration of Independence was signed here on July 4, 1776. Designer's choice); 6) 'Yorktown' Youth Only (On October 19, 1781, General Cornwallis surrendered his British army to the Americans. Designer's choice).

Irises on the Job

- 1) 'Fireman' (show water); 2) 'Nurse' (Constantly on the go. Show motion); 3) 'Lawyer' (designer's choice); 4) 'Carpenter' (feature decorative wood); 5) 'Waiter' (functional dinner for two); 6) 'Teacher' Youth Only (designer's choice); 7) 'Veterinarian' Youth Only (use an accessory).

Let's Sing Old Songs (With Iris Friends)'

- 1) 'Climb Every Mountain' (use decorative wood); 2) 'Old Man River' (feature water); 3) 'I'll Be Home for Christmas' (designer's choice); 4) 'I'm in the Mood for Love' (show us your mood); 5) 'Let Me Call You Sweetheart' (elegant functional dinner for two); 6) 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' Youth Only (designer's choice);7) 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm' Youth Only (use an accessory).

A Calendar Full of Irises

- 1) 'January - Happy New Year' (Be festive. Designer's choice); 2) 'February - Be My Valentine' (A romantic functional table for two); 3) 'March - Lucky Leprechaun' (use decorative wood); 4) 'April - Happy Easter' (use pastel colors); 5) 'May - Maypole Dance' (designer's choice); 6) 'June - Here Comes the Bride' (Be creative. Designer's choice); 7) 'July - Independence Day' (patriotic theme); 8) 'August - The Old Swimming Hole' (feature water); 9) 'September - School Days' Youth Only (use an accessory); 10) 'October - Happy Halloween' Youth Only (designer's choice); 11) 'November - Thanksgiving Feast' Youth Only (designer's choice); 12) 'December - Happy Holidays' Youth Only (designer's choice).

An Iris Library

- 1) 'A Good Mystery' (Show us a clue with this design); 2) 'Self-Improvement" (Who me??? Be creative); 3) 'Autobiography' (Tell us about yourself with this design); 4) 'Ecology' (Save the planet; think GREEN. Use something recyclable as a container or incorporated in your design); 5) 'Cooking Lessons' (designer's choice); 6) 'Science Fiction' Youth Only (designer's choice); 7) 'Animal Stories' Youth Only (Tell us about your favorite animal with this design).
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
Cover-HatsOffToIrises.jpgjpg Cover-HatsOffToIrises.jpg manage 853 K 08 Mar 2022 - 21:10 BobPries  
Cover-IrisCruise.pdfpdf Cover-IrisCruise.pdf manage 138 K 08 Mar 2022 - 21:11 BobPries  
Cover-MeetMeInStLouis.jpgjpg Cover-MeetMeInStLouis.jpg manage 9 K 10 Mar 2022 - 17:52 BobPries  
Cover-TheUSOfIris.jpgjpg Cover-TheUSOfIris.jpg manage 444 K 05 Mar 2022 - 19:48 BobPries  
Cover-ThruTheYearWithIris.jpgjpg Cover-ThruTheYearWithIris.jpg manage 1 MB 05 Mar 2022 - 19:14 BobPries  
Cover-WhatADayIveHad.jpgjpg Cover-WhatADayIveHad.jpg manage 700 K 08 Mar 2022 - 21:10 BobPries  
cover for cruise.jpgjpg cover for cruise.jpg manage 55 K 08 Mar 2022 - 21:27 BobPries  
design-1.jpgjpg design-1.jpg manage 19 K 10 Mar 2022 - 18:19 BobPries  
design-2.jpgjpg design-2.jpg manage 22 K 05 Mar 2022 - 19:13 BobPries  
design-4.jpgjpg design-4.jpg manage 30 K 10 Mar 2022 - 18:10 BobPries  
design-5.jpgjpg design-5.jpg manage 19 K 10 Mar 2022 - 18:23 BobPries  
tabletop.jpgjpg tabletop.jpg manage 23 K 10 Mar 2022 - 18:13 BobPries  
Topic revision: r3 - 10 Mar 2022, BobPries
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