A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to take a fabulous workshop with the lovely Alicia of Flirty Fleurs up here in Seattle. Alicia offers a variety of workshops throughout the year, and to my delight, are for just about any experience level! I must admit, I was a tad nervous going it into it, wondering if I’d be the only inexperienced newbie sitting cluelessly in the back of the room. A few days before, in a last minute panic, I drove to a local nursery and stocked up on tools I thought might come in handy. They looked pretty and fairly useful, so I crossed my fingers at the register and purchased my first florist tools. When Saturday finally came, I arrived at a cute little studio in Georgetown, filled with a whopping four other people. Hallelujah! Small, intimate classes are my favorite, as they are much less intimidating and provide for a hands-on, supportive environment. We went around the room sharing just a little bit about ourselves, and I was happy to learn that everyone had different levels of experience, with only two professionals present. What a relief!
Alicia began the class with an introduction about herself, and then quickly segued in to the task at hand: creating a compote floral arrangement using chicken wire and a compote container. Thus far, I have only learned and attempted to create a hand-tied bouquet, and have done some rookie arranging during the holidays with my mom. I had also never worked with chicken wire, so I was excited to learn a new trick of the trade. Alicia quickly put together a beautiful arrangement, and then just like that, it was our turn. Okay, I have a confession: I may or may not have snagged the chicken wire that Alicia had already formed as a demonstration, so I kind of got to skip the first step. I did, however, secure it in the vase and tape down the edges by myself… baby steps people. I started out a bit hesitantly, unsure if I was doing things correctly, but after a few minutes, I began to get in a groove and work a bit more freely. I started with the greens – a few of which included eucalyptus, dusty miller, and acacia purple – and began snipping and inserting into the chicken wire. Once I had a solid base and the green tape was not visible anymore, I moved onto the flowers. Alicia had chosen to go with a purple theme, which I had no complaints about. My only alteration was trading out a few for some pops of bright pink, because sometimes you just need a little burst of color in the dreary Pacific Northwest weather… can you blame me? As we arranged, Alicia walked around giving snippets of advice, but never overwhelming or changing the design. I opted to use a Lazy-Susan which helped remind me to spin the arrangement as I went and design all sides, the number one rule of thumb I have learned. The arrangement included white garden roses, hyacinth, tulips, white anenomes, hot pink spider mums, and pink ranunculus to name a few.
Once I had spun my arrangement one last time and was finally satisfied, Alicia deemed my arrangement a “pave” arrangement… to which I responded, “Huh?” While 99% of you know what that means, I’ll explain for the 1% that doesn’t. A pave arrangement is one where the stems are fairly short and the flower heads are placed very closely together, more of a “tight and compact dome” feel rather than loose, airy, or sculptural. To me, the fact that it even resembled any sort of floral style was a win in and of itself! My final task of the workshop was to safely transport my arrangement from south Seattle to north Seattle. When I opened my car door to survey the situation, I was thrilled to realize that my nanny job would crossover and save the day: CARSEATS. So I buckled that baby up, and made it all the way home with zero spillage or destruction. Thanks kiddos!
Overall, I’d say my first real learning experience was a success, and I would happily take another class from Alicia! Things have already been a bit busy this year (um, when did it become March?) but taking this workshop really helped to reignite my passion and desire to learn and become a part of the flower industry. Stay tuned for more exciting progress in my floral adventure!