Following the road through the fields, I happened to find myself in floral heaven for a few days!
Since opening the shop I’ve not had any time to further my skills and passion. So I frivolously pulled out the credit card and booked my place on all three days of the British Florist Associations European Summer School.
Three days of floral indulgence, surrounded by masters of our industry in the form of the tutors and fellow attendees.
Each tutor had a different style, concept and way of teaching but the main thing was all three of them made me think outside of the box and ignited the fire in my belly for floristry again!
The small details… intricate wiring, floral headbands and deconstructed roses!
Niina Minkkinen-Westerlund, is from a small countryside village in central Finland. Niina completed her vocational qualifications in floristry and moved into flower design competitions. She was the Finnish champion of floristry in 2001 and came second in the national finals in 2010, following which she represented Finland in the Europa Cup 2011.
Niina’s day was predominantly focused on bridal work. Now I’m not talking your average oversized blush pink rose and eucalyptus handtied I’m talking about a bouquet that really lends itself to the style of your gown that makes the ordinary exceptional.
Under her watchful and may I add very patient eye, I relished making a bridal tiara. I mean I thought three agapanthus with wired stems was enough, but nearer thirty three allowed me to create this gorgeous headpiece.
Perfect for a bride who is looking for something different, or who wants her flowers to feature all day!
The afternoon for me was a push. Being in the shop makes me look at everything in a different way – I want everything to be commercially viable and this next design took me forever – I was getting so frustrated with the glue, but eventually about 2 hours after I’d finished, I loved the red rose bridal design I had made. When I get chance to practise it again, there are many things I will do differently, but for now I will admire it!
Roman Steinhauer from Russia, has been working as a florist for over 10 years and trained and works in Russia. His love of nature inspires all that work with him. He recently assisted at the World Cup and is featured in the brand new Floos publications.
Roman’s work was constructive – he took the most everyday object and created masterpieces with it. He showed us many variations on two different ideas, and then we had the chance to recreate one of them. I loved the technique he taught us to make a frame for a gift bouquet. Here is a close up of my design.
On our third and final day, we were in class with Alex Segura from Spain. He has over 25 years experience as a florist, but started off his career as a graphic designer. Alex has over 10 years of experience as a Floral Design Teacher at Escola d’Art Floral de. Now he teaches and competes all over the world.
Alex, showed us floral jewellery and bouquets using different bases and everyday floristry sundries – I’ve never seen cocktail garnish sticks used in such intricate ways! And he made the most phenomenal set of epaulettes using everyday satin ribbon. Amazing!
Inspired by Alex’s ‘chaos’ bouquet this is where I started. It involved wheat (I’m a farmer’s wife), so I had to see where I could take this bouquet, and with some delicate wiring, sun catching beads and gorgeous nerines, I made this bridal bouquet which I adore!
I finished my week with something completely out of my comfort zone! For those that know me, know I relish in the natural world. Textures and foliages, seeds and grasses, are what I adore, so I pushed myself hard and picked out a metre of dip dyed pink feathers!
Then I recycled a plant tray, gave it a handle, wired a lot of little succulents et voila – here you have my Ring Bearer’s posy.
I’m not rushing back to a haberdashery for more feathers (and probably not that colour), BUT it’s given me ideas and that is what it’s all about!
Taking everything I’ve learnt and making it work for my designs, is going to be great fun! Watch this space…
In the meantime a huge thanks to the British Florist Association & Moreton Morrell Floristry Department, and their very able helpers. Also to Niina, Roman and Alex, for sharing their knowledge and passion!