Tales from a Floral Workshop Adventure

Tales from a Floral Workshop Adventure

Linda Smith, NAFAS Area Demonstrator and independent teacher, has just come back from our Fleur Creatif Workshop Adventure. She talked to us about working with test tubes and the lure of European floral design.

Vase of flowers

ECT: What made you choose this tour?

LS: The main reason I wanted to join this particular tour was the opportunity it offered to have a concentrated time seeing European designers. European and traditional English styles are so different; they use more structures in their work - a lot of it comes close to interior design – and that really stretches your mind and makes you think outside the box.

ECT: You took part in workshops with three different designers – can you tell us a bit about each of them?

LS: They were all quite different, which was excellent, and the contrast within each of the designers was as much a learning point and inspiration as the techniques we used to make the displays. With Tom de Houwer, we made three small containers embellished with mung beans. 


Moniek Vanden Berghe’s concept was like a floating design using test tubes suspended on kebab skewers that were drilled into a flat piece of wood. Test tubes were definitely having a moment – we used them at Geert Pattyn’s too. He had us stapling stripped willow to flat cane, which we attached to the tubes and then filled with a wonderful array of gloriosa lilies, hypericum and different grasses. 

Flower displays

ECT: What was your personal highlight?

LS: The privilege of visiting these designers in their workshops and seeing some of the big installations they'd made. It was hard to believe we were actually there, creating designs with them.

ECT: There were other visits too, including a trip to a floral wholesaler

LS: Yes, that was wonderful. They have all kinds of unusual containers and accessories you just don’t see in the UK. Everything was so tempting - you just need to travel with spare capacity in very large suitcase!’

ECT: And will what you made – and bought – on the tour influence your designs now that you're home?

LS: Yes, I’ll certainly be looking at some of the things we did for my independent flower classes.

Flower vase