The brief, part of the first year BA (Hons) Professional Collaboration module, asked all of the students on the course to design and make either an item of jewellery or an object to celebrate 175 years of Horticulture Week's publication.
The students were shortlisted down to 10 who exhibited at the RHS Chatworth Flower Show in June with work by two, Alise Zlatkina and Arlena Paraschievescu, declared the winners.
The location of the exhibition was particulary poignant given the fact that Horticulture Week's forerunner Gardeners' Chronicle was co-founded in 1841 by the leading Chartsworth House head gardener Joseph Paxton.
Students were asked to respond to the Horticulture Week brief by generating, developing and realising their ideas through the form of relevant primary, secondary and contextual research, alongside 2D and 3D design development, experimentation and investigation.
Horticulture Week’s technical editor Sally Drury visited the students to talk to them about Horticulture Week and the role it has played as the voice of the professional horticulture industry over the past 175 years.
Alise Zlatkina was awarded a prize for her ‘Transfiguration’ object, built from gilding metal, brass, silver, gold, plate and oak. Transfiguration aims to translate an idea of an unbreakable cycle between nature and the artificial world the human race has created.
"At the beginning I thought about flowers and nature, so I went to the botanical gardens and really got interested in tropical plants where I got my inspiration for the form of my submission" Alise said afterwards.
When I found out I won it was one of the best feelings ever. Winning something in your first year is confirmation that you’re on the right path – acknowledging how much work you’ve put into your submission from an external client.
"It’s amazing working on live projects such as these – it’s real life and out there for the public to see. It’s really nerve-wrecking being shortlisted from the whole year and then to find out who won.
Arlena Paraschievescu prize-winning necklace ‘Counting’ is inspired by the life-cycle of a plant. She said afterwards:
"I’m very proud to win this award alongside Alise. We had over 50 students enter, so I didn’t expect to win. It was a really interesting, wide-ranging brief. I was really inspired by life-cycles, so I picked the three most important elements: The seed, the flower and the fruit. I liked the connection from going from one stage to the next through photosynthesis. The medal spins, and each spin represents a year."
Kate Lowe, the Editor of Horticulture Week had nothing but praise for the students:
"I was absolutely overwhelmed by the standard of the work of the students whose projects had been shortlisted. In particular the extraordinary lengths they had all clearly gone to in order to find out more about the subject, and really get to grips with the topic they were working with.
"I was particularly struck by the diversity of interpretation of the brief and outcomes on display - again a clear reflection of the effort that each of the shortlisted students had put into researching and developing their own unique interpretation of the brief."
"This was a very impressive body of work from students in their first year. The fact that the shortlisted work delivered two winners speaks volumes."
Completing live projects such as these gives students the opportunity to work within a professional context and introduces them to aspects of professional practice, gaining awareness of possible future career directions within the discipline.
An article on the winning work will feature in an upcoming edition of Horticulture Week magazine.