Posted by: Becca Bollier
This was the first year I attended the American Institute of Floral Designers Annual Competition and Symposium. I was not quite sure what to expect, but I was thinking a day of competition, a few shows, and a little bit of time to explore Miami, FL. As we arrived, we discovered there was so much to do!
The first major event was the competition. As the competition neared I became more and more nervous. Although we had practiced our designs before the competition and had them critiqued by local floral designers, I was a little bit intimidated since some of the young women from the other schools had been to symposium once or twice before. Each student had to make a buffet table arrangement, bridal bouquet, sweetheart table arrangement, and two identical napkin rings. The competition did not go as smoothly as planned, so I was relieved when it was over. It was all a learning experience and I will be much more prepared for anything that might go wrong for the next competition!
As soon as the competition was over, we had a little bit of time to relax, but it was time to get started on our bouquet for the trends show. There were different trends that were divided up to all of the different schools that were a part of the competition. For each trend there was to be a bouquet, a screen, and a wedding arrangement. This show was put on by Talmage McLaurin who is publisher of the popular floral design magazine, “Florists’ Review”. He was so much fun to work with and was able to help us out a lot with our designs. Cal Poly SLO was assigned the bouquet for the trend “Sea to Shining Sea.” This included beautiful shades of blues, greens, creams, and a touch of pink. We wanted to create something similar to what you would see if you were to go to the tide pools just minutes away from Cal Poly. To do this we made the bouquet that you were able to look inside. This was not your ordinary bouquet. We spent hours gluing on seashells and getting every little detail just right. The bouquet was gorgeous and it was definitely worth the extra effort. The bouquet was then in the show and on stage in front of hundreds of people. It was then displayed for everyone to view up close. So many great designers came up to us telling how much the loved it and how creative it was. It was such a good feeling to know that all of these well known designers liked what they were seeing.
Throughout the week there were so many other things we were helping out with. It seemed that we were going nonstop for the entire week, but it was definitely worth it! We volunteered to be models for Fitz designs, which is a company that makes beautiful bouquet jewels, flower bracelets, body pieces, headpieces, and much more. We also spent a good amount of time in the workroom. We would help designers in any way possible. This was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I was able to meet and talk with so many different designers that are world renown and also learn some fun tips and tricks. We also went to as many of the shows as possible. I could not believe what I saw at some of the shows. Everything was so extravagant and over the top from the shows, to the dinner events, to the floral decorations in the hotel lobby, and even in the bathroom!
I am so happy I was able to attend symposium this year. It was a great opportunity to meet and work with so many amazing designers. It was a rare experience to be able to help the designers so much with their designs. I would love to go back next year where the convention will be held in Las Vegas, NV. None of this would have been possible without Cal Poly’s amazing floral design lecturer, Melinda Lynch, AIFD, the Cal Poly Floral Design Team, and the Horticulture and Crop Science department!
Posted by: Becca Bollier