Finally, after a busy period for Kathryn, the infamous diary entries return! The competition unit allows creativity and a florists artistic license to flourish. Let Kathryn take you through her experience of this unit. 


Diary of a Master Florist in the making

Kathryn Delve
March 2019
The first quarter of this year has flown past, hence this being my first diary entry for 2019.  The start of this year saw the beginning of a new module in our Level 5 course. This has been designed by Tina Parkes, Master florist, tutor and one of the directors of British Academy of Floral art.
Tina saw that there was a knowledge gap in the competition area, and florists were entering competitions without any real understanding of how to interpret a brief or how marks were allocated. The competition unit was going to be a real challenge for me. Whilst I had entered competitions on a number of occasions, I was struggling to improve my score.

Wreath Design Brief

Our first brief on a cold January day was to create a wreath design. Although I struggled to get my brain back into creative mode after a Christmas break, I decided to create a textured wreath using the black oasis.  I loved the contrast in textures, and the feel of the winter into spring look. Unfortunately, after marking myself against the UK Guild of judges marking sheet, I felt it wasn’t good enough for a competition piece.  Some might say competition work isn’t commercial. It is often hours and hours, sometimes even days, of work if entering a big competition. 
However, I think competition work is great for a number of reasons.
Firstly it stretches the mind, your design skills and takes you out of your comfort zone.  It demonstrates to the public that our industry is made up of highly talented floral artists who study design, colour and techniques.  It also demonstrates what is possible!  You only have to stand behind the public, viewing the Chelsea floristry competition designs, and listen to the Oohhs and Aahhs to know how impressed they are.  Finally, we need to think of competitions as the Catwalk fashion show equivalent. Small affordable elements from a fashion show do make it to the high street.
The aim of the competition unit is to keep developing an idea, so our next lesson saw a completely revamped wreath.  This time I took my inspiration from some bamboo that one of my students had brought in. The bamboo, coupled with the fact that it happened to be Chinese New Year, and a wreath to celebrate was created.

A Mini Competition

The last and final lesson was set up as a mini competition. Tina had arranged for two members of the UK judges Guild to come and judge our finished designs.  Feedback from the last lesson had led to more improvements and the design was finished for judging, bar the fact I had run out of time to add anything.  We arrived late on the 2nd day to allow time for the judges to mark our work. On arrival we were given feedback, shared amongst the whole class so that we could learn from each other.  Again in the spirit of improvement we were given time after our feedback to improve our designs.  I added the final piece, a gold wired Chinese dragon. Again we were remarked and had all improved our marks on the first effort.  The judges were Karen Barnes and Sarah Hills-Ingyon who are both talented florists and experienced judges. They judged, gave feedback and explained the marking system to us which was very helpful.  It was also lovely to go through the process in a more relaxed environment. No actual winners or losers, just students learning.
What I have taken away from this unit is that competition work can be time consuming, however you learn a lot about design and yourself through doing it.  I learnt that it’s actually great to keep developing a design, keep striving to improve your work and see the development and that I now feel more equipped to enter the next competition.
We are glad to see the return of the diary entries and can't wait to hear about what's created next.
Keep the entries coming Kathryn and good luck with the next module.