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FlowerSchool New York is one of the world’s premiere institutes for floral design and artistry, offering career development courses certified by the New York State Board of Education, and exclusive master class programs taught by celebrated master florists including Kiana Underwood, Remco Van Vliet, Lewis Miller, Emily Thompson, and Ingrid Carozzi.
Now, for the first time, FlowerSchool Executive Director Calvert Crary is publishing a book that will make it possible for even the greenest at-home arrangers to create gorgeous, Instagram worthy bouquets. This hands-on, comprehensive guide provides readers with step-by-step instructions that cover all the most crucial aspects of flower arranging, including:
- How to buy the best flowers and how to get the best prices
- Selecting your flowers based on texture, color, and seasonality
- Conditioning your flowers to ensure they last as long as possible
- Pairing your flowers with the right vase
- Creating arrangements in a wide variety of styles that will work for any occasion
What Makes a Master Florist
The word “master” gets thrown around with regularity regarding crafts and trades. Master carpenter, master painter, master cobbler, master colorist, and, yes, master florist. But what does it mean to be a master florist?
FlowerSchool does not take the title Master Florist lightly. A true master is a master of many aspects of doing flowers, not only the technical aspects of making a flower arrangement. FlowerSchool Master Florists are able to build inspiring concepts based on past experience, client expectations, art, culture, and essentially defining the seasons. They must be able to gather, train, and prepare the perfect team in order to execute their projects to stunning result. Master Florists are floral designers who have a unique artistic vision combined with knowledge of flowers and a deep grounding in the fundamental mechanics of working with cut flowers. Master Florists must be conversant with the life cycle of flowers, cognizant of the past history of floral art, and able to channel the future in terms of floral artistry. Master Florists can visualize a style and make a creative statement that is unique to their own particular vision.
The FlowerSchool prerequisites for being a Master Florist are deceptively few but difficult to achieve. We require a minimum number of years in the business with a company that has a well-trained staff who can execute that company’s vision without fail and that has a superior aesthetic vision regarding color, form, and design. As anyone who has accomplished this knows, it takes a huge amount of ambition, dedication, and passion to achieve a mastery of any craft, and flower arranging is no different.
A young woman approached the school one day asking for a teaching position at FlowerSchool. As we do with all eager industry people, our team sat down to meet with her. The conversation ranged over a wide variety of topics: inspiration, workflow, and so on. At some point, we asked how long she had been working. “Four years,” she replied. Weddings had been her main focus, so we asked how many weddings she had done flowers for in a typical year; “six to seven per year,” she answered. Realistically, 24–28 weddings a Master Florist does not make! Not to say that this young woman was not competent; in fact, her work was quite beautiful. But in order to really educate others from a position of authority, a Master Florist must have worked on hundreds, if not thousands, of weddings and events, working with all types of customers. After all, would you let a beautician cut your hair after giving only 24–28 haircuts?
Another indication of mastery is having a well-trained, permanent staff, not one made up of freelancers. This indicates that the company, or designer, contributes to a technical training program for their employees, so that they understand the company’s style and are able to expertly and consistently execute that style. Further, you can tell if a company’s or designer’s style is worthy of being taught by their success in adequately training their staff. Florists who specialize in a style, develop a workflow, and pass that on to their employees are florists who have perfected their craft. These are the artists who have the most to teach.
There are many great designers, but like a great painting, a brilliant poem, or a particularly superb slice of cake, when mastery is achieved, it stands alone. Anyone can become a florist or floral designer with a steady dose of ambition, passion, and vision. But in order to become a master, you must also be able to manipulate the flowers to create a heightened level of beauty, no matter where the flowers have come from. You may not always have the products you want. Actually, you never do. But Master Florists are able to use whatever products they have on hand to make something gorgeous.
Simply put, the whole needs to be greater than the sum of all its parts. This greater whole is achieved by using every element in an arrangement in the most creative way possible. Further, in order to be a FlowerSchool Master Florist, you must also be a superior educator who is friendly and supportive, with a commitment to teaching and mentoring.
Becoming a florist is now a common career path that typically begins with an apprenticeship, similar to the way that chefs often begin their careers working in low-level positions in the “back of the house” at a great restaurant. By watching a great chef cook, they learn and work their way up through the ranks to the front of the house. The world of flowers is not dissimilar. In fact, Remco Van Vliet, who creates the famous flower arrangements for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, is often asked by the museum to put the finishing touches on his arrangements in view of the public so people can see how he works. Watching the process of a master as they work is one of the most wonderful parts about being a florist, and it is an essential part of the learning process.
The apprentice relationship is at the center of what it takes to be a great florist—learning the artistry and techniques of those who have come before you. As you work your way through this book, think of yourself as an apprentice. By the time you’ve finished reading this book, you should have the skills required to strike out on your own and create your own designs.
What You Will Learn
FlowerSchool, including the FlowerSchool Floral Design Program, is the culmination of the best technical skills presented by the long illustrious list of FlowerSchool Master Florists. This book has condensed the skills and philosophies associated with being a professional florist in New York City into an easy-to-replicate set of instructions that will help you become an accomplished florist yourself. Like a chef planning a great meal or simply cooking a Sunday dinner, you will learn how to select your materials, how to prep your materials, and how to use myriad techniques to accomplish your design goals. The production steps in the following pages are designed to lead you to success every time, allowing you to break free of any nervousness surrounding the process of flower arranging, and to focus on developing your own personal floral design sensibilities.
Florists in New York City often have Herculean tasks ahead of them: from setting up a party for 800 people in under an hour to installing five 20-foot-high arrangements before visitors arrive at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to managing the delivery of over 150 daily flower arrangements through gridlocked city traffic that no mere mortal can navigate. In order to be successful, most of these companies choose to focus on a specialty.
Olivier Giugni is a master of weekly floral installations. It is his main focus, and all of his clients have the same set of expectations. It only makes sense that all of his design work is informed by the tasks that he performs most often in order to make his business successful.
"This visually stunning offering from Crary, executive director of FlowerSchool New York, highlights the creative potential of flower arranging...the pay-off will be rich for any gardener who sees flowers as an ideal artistic canvas."
- "Because Crary has a front-row seat to all the modern designs and creative artists in the marketplace, his book is truly an encyclopedia of design, resources and having fun with flowers to brighten your life and others."—FlowerPowerDaily
- On Sale
- Nov 10, 2020
- Page Count
- 224 pages
- Black Dog & Leventhal