So if you didn’t know, at the beginning of this year I started a Floristry course after always wanting to do so ever since my last year in high school.
Safe to say I’m really enjoying it and am learning a lot about flowers and plants than I ever thought I would!
So in today’s post I thought I would give you an honest account of what a typical day/week for me is and what it’s really like to be studying as a floristry student!
Let’s start with the basics…
I have classes three days a week; Monday 9am-3.30pm, Wednesday 8am-4.30pm and Thursday 8am-4.30pm. On Mondays and Wednesdays we have prac lessons in the morning and then in the afternoon we concentrate on the theory side of the course: basic retail knowledge (so how to work competently in all areas of a retail florist shop) and then a plant class where we learn all about the anatomy of plants, plant care, plant names as well as health and safety info. And because I’m in an ‘accelerated’ course (meaning we just finish the course sooner than our other classmates), Thursday is an all-day prac day where we’re currently learning how to construct formal and informal Trail Bouquets!
Here is a layout of some of the most basic tools I have in and around my tool box…
one: 22 gauge wires. Used for wire-based designs and arrangements such as Corsages and Wedding Bouquets. Comes in thicker and finer gauge sizes.
two: Parafilm. A stretchy, self-sealing tape that is wrapped around exposed wires. It prevents rusting and allows wires to grip onto each other better.
three: Some darling deep burgundy Chrysanthemums that I’m currently using in my arrangements.
four: Floristry scissors. Perfect for cutting flower stems and all wires!
five: Flower Foam. Used in posy boxes and bowls, bats and wreaths as a water source for the flowers. The foam allows the flowers to last longer and gives the florist better control with placement when making an arrangement. Designs featuring floral foam will usually cost more as opposed to those without. The one I use is by Oasis which is considered the best kind in the industry which I whole heartedly agree with!
Now, of course there are so many more other things in my tool box but as I write this, my actual tool box is on campus and what’s above is all I had on hand at home to show you!
Here are some of my favourite designs I’ve learnt so far… In class we usually practice each design twice and on the third go we’re assessed and marked! Eep!!
(FYI: you may’ve already seen some of these in my Instagram feed!)
This was my very first attempt at a Formal Wired Posy! It features pink Roses, pink Carnations, Sedum (the green spiky bits), white Spray Roses, pink Hyacinth florets and a foliage leaf called Ruskus.
And this was the one I made for assessment, which included a ribboned handle!
Another design we’ve recently learnt was the ANZAC Chaplet.
Made traditionally with laurel leaves (symbolising victory and honour), three sprigs of rosemary (each representing the Army, the Navy and the Air Force) and red poppies (symbolising remembrance), I made this one using Camellia leaves and red Gerberas as these are what were in season at the time! The base of the chaplet is styrofoam wrapped in a green wreath wrap that resembles the texture of garbage bin bags! Each leaf is tacked on using bent 2″ pieces of 18 gauge wire in a particular pattern where each leaf overlaps the one before it hiding the ‘mechanics’. Although after a while my thumb begun aching from pushing thick wire pins into the styrofoam, I really enjoyed making it. The technique was soothingly repetitive and created a very tactile surface that makes my quilter’s heart flutter just that tiny little bit!
Now this little guy I loved putting together! The design is called an Asymmetric Arrangement Gift Hamper. This arrangement features the use of floral foam that is placed in a special plastic bowl with a cage that keeps the foam in place. I choose materials that would compliment the colour of the bear, the ribbons and the basket itself. (FUN FACTS: That basket belonged to my maternal Grandmother and is used in my sewing room to hold all of my unfinished projects while the bear was a Christmas gift from my BFF a few years ago!) The flowers in this arrangement include yellow Gerberas, white Roses, green Mollca Balm with Viburnum leaves, maroon Cordyline leaves, green Monstera leaves and a few dried out Tortured Willow branches at the back.
And then lastly we have the wired Cake Decoration (top) with a Spray (bottom). These pieces are essentially made as a mini version of the wired Formal Posy and a simple Corsage! Admittedly, I did struggle with making this one at first as you needed to get the top part sitting flat as possible while getting the bottom spray to curve nicely and be in proportion to the top. Sooo tricky!!
Currently in class we’ve just begun getting into some of the funeral designs such as Sheafs, Wreaths, Open Sprays and Casket Sprays (both constructed using floral foam), along with more wedding designs such as the Trail Bouquet, Hand-Tied Wedding Posies and Table Arrangements.
Okay, now I think it’s only fair to be absolutely honest about the pluses and minuses to Floristry… Let’s do the bad things first and then finish it off with the good!
The early mornings! (Boo!): Having been a night owl for last few years, the crazily early mornings have been definitely a shock to the system! Since when was there a 5.30am?? But with time and a solid routine, I’m getting used to the early wake up calls – I’m actually involuntarily waking up 6.30am! What!? Funnily enough I’ve actually always loved getting up early as it makes the day seem longer and I’m always able to get more stuff done! Plus there’s always something so nice about waking up before or with the sun and breathing in the fresh, crisp morning air and consciously planning your day out.
Dirty fingernails (and most often than not, chipped as well!): That was the one thing that steered me away from Floristry. I had someone tell me not to do it as it would ruin my hands. Even my Floristry teacher said it would ruin your fingernails the day we had sign-ups. But I thought, I’m not going to let that one thing stand in the way of my interest! Yes my fingernails maybe dirty and stained a light green at the end of the day but there’s nothing a good scrub with a brush and some soap can’t fix!
Fluctuations in wholesale flower prices: It’s Mother’s Day this weekend and because of the demand on flowers, the prices at the market have skyrocketed! Only this morning on a quick trip in, I spent over $40 on five bunches which really should’ve been half that price in a normal week. My poor bank balance has really copped a blow over the past week or so!
A new venture in creativity!: I would class myself as a very creative person. I crave making with my hands, whether that be with fabric, thread, food, flowers, craft supplies – anything! – I must always have my hands and my mind kept busy! Plus I love learning a new skill! Especially a skill that I can apply to real-life and potentially do as a job. So what better way to harness all of that and get creative with flowers! Like quilting, the design possibilities are endless!
Witnessing beautiful sunrises!: I touched a little bit on this above… I love a good sunrise (and sunset to be honest). There’s something about the promise it brings of a new day where you are given another chance to learn more, to laugh, to breathe, to sing, to dance, to create, to cook, to communicate, to relate and to live! Sunrises are beautifully inspiring in that way! 🙂
Discovery and playing with beautiful flowers and foliages!: Flowers are beautiful! Full stop! I’ve always loved flowers but I think after being around them almost everyday of the week along with learning all of their names and how to care for them properly, I’ve gained a deeper love and appreciation for them. Flowers aren’t around for all that long and we must cherish their one-of-a-kind beauty for as long as we can before they sadly die! 😦
Learning the tricks of the trade: Ohh, so many tricks, so many techniques, so many ah-ha! moments in class! They’re much more simple than what you’d expect. And don’t worry, I’ll show you them all one day!
It just feels right: You know when you start something new and there’s that feeling inside you where you know that what you’re doing is the right thing? I’ve experience plenty of new starts where the feeling has been the complete opposite – where the whole thing just does not feel like the right choice or right thing for my life. Well, Floristry feels right. After 11 years since leaving school I finally feel like I’m doing the right thing! (A part from doing all of my quilting ventures, blog and YouTube! Where would I be without all of you!!)
So I think that’s it. That’s everything so far about my course that I think is good to share with you.
There will be more posts during the month that will centre around flowers and making/arranging a few things so I hope you’re excited for that! (I know I am!!)
Chat to you tomorrow, Friends!