Hi, I’m Jenn. I grew up in the flower business with a black thumb and zero floral design skills. I work in the marketing department here at Mayesh. Some of you may be familiar with my work if you have watched our design star series with Beth O’Reilly or have followed Mayesh at an event via social media. I’m the girl behind the camera. As per my duties I was asked to go to our Orange County location to snap a few pictures and Instagram at the two day Francoise Weeks design workshop we hosted on March 1st and 2nd. It started as any other event I covered in the past – show up, take a few pictures and try to be cute and clever while posting captions. Then I got offered an opportunity to actually be a part of the class and participate in day two of the workshop. I follow Francoise on social media and have seen her work, so naturally I was a little intimidated because let’s not forget … zero design skills.
The class starts with a short lecture from Francoise about how to make a floral headpiece. She spoke about her trial and errors in finding the right materials. She gave a “what NOT to-do” list that was curated out of past disaster situations. She showed options of different materials she uses and finally showed us how to mold and manipulate the wire armature she had provided for this particular style. She does the same with a hair comb – showing us tips and tricks to make it sturdy and wearable. Then we were released to forage our product and start our design.
I do have an artistic background. I went to school for cosmetic arts so naturally I am drawn to color rather than texture. I looked around the room at what people were grabbing and I started to freak a little bit. Other people in the class were going for interesting textures, a lot of greens and flowers with height. I looked down at what I grabbed and it was only 4 roses (2 red, 2 pink) and some kind of fern. What was I doing? I was in a room surrounded by extremely talented and skilled professionals. They were like kids in a candy shop reaching for all the lollipops, gumdrops and licorice rope they could find! And me? I grabbed a handful of M&Ms.
I make my way back to my workstation. I pick up my wire armature and have no idea what to do. I rack my brain of any cool ideas, then I remember my mom got me a vintage hat from the 1950s for Christmas one year. I love mid-century vintage. It’s what I’m inspired by in my daily life from clothes and housewares to make-up and hair. I start to form my wire. At this point I have a direction. I cover the wire in leaves as instructed and I start my design. I glue the fern down around the rim first then start ripping petals off my roses. I start with the red, gluing each petal around the outer edge and working my way in, same with the pink. I basically make an ombre composite rose (a trick I learned from a past Design Star video) and I’m happy with it. What started as a vintage inspired hat ended up looking like something you would see in a Shakespearian play but I’m okay with it because it was a labor of love. I look around the room and I see beautiful hats and headpieces. All of them had height and width. They looked like fairytale dreams and I had something that was reminiscent of a beret but again, I am satisfied. I made something out of flowers! Something I have never done before… at least not successfully. Francoise makes her way around the room and tells me “its unique! It doesn’t look like anyone else’s.” I’m still not sure if that was a good or bad thing but hey, I’ll take it. Now that I was finished with my headpiece, I try it on and what do you know? It fits!
Happy with my hat I move on to my comb. No surprise here, I was inspired by the 1960s Tiki craze – think Elvis’ “Blue Hawaii”. I prep my comb with the cardboard and wire provided. I cut the cardboard in a fan-like shape, glue it on the comb, secure it with wire and start gluing on my flowers. This time, though using a much smaller space to design on, I managed to spread my wings by way of product. I grabbed four waxy vibrant green leaves, one sprig of some kind of textured green, four little groupings of a cute pink flower from the succulent family, two stems of freesia and one pink ranunculus. Wow. What a spread. I glue the leaves down and start my design. I go a different route this time, starting by gluing the ranunculus right in the center and worked my way out. Again, I am happy with my design. It looks tropical, vintage and wearable. I go to put it in my hair and… I can’t get it in. I didn’t leave enough space for the teeth of the comb. By this time everyone was done and breaking for dinner. I abandon the project. I know what I did wrong and learned from my mistake but it looks great in pictures and really that the point, right?
I looked around the room and this time mine wasn’t unlike everyone else’s. I’m pleased with this. No one design looked anything alike, but they all looked like beautiful floral hair combs. I was amazed at how different everyone’s designs looked considering we all had the same product available and were given the same materials to use. Below are pictures of all the different hat styles and hair combs from the class. Which are your favorites?
Photos by Wheeland Photography