I never knew how lucky I could be. The (British Floristry Association) BFA European Summer School 2019 was open for bookings. So I thought, why not? Turned out it was an amazing decision.

BFA European Summer School

The summer school tutors were Niina Minkkinen, Alex Segura and Roman Shtengauer, who are leading floristry designers from across Europe. Plus there was a fabulous gaggle of florists from around the UK.

We were all eager to learn as much as possible!

Day 1: Dynamic constructions with Roman

I started my first day with Roman Shtengauer from Russia. He demonstrated techniques that left me continually picking my jaw up from the floor! We made amazing frameworks from canes, and paper and fabrics encased in metal wires. These held our flowers in place with effortless grace. Well, Roman achieved this! He has obviously used this technique many times so made it look very, very easy! I can’t say that my first effort was in any way as good as his!

Design from BFA European Summer School

The technique meant we did not need foliage to create a base or cover any mechanics. The mechanics were part of the design! We used less flowers, but created an even bigger ‘wow’ factor than I would have ever thought possible.

Design from BFA European Summer School

The technique devised by Roman can work for bouquets, table decorations and statement pieces. It was so clever and so versatile.

I now know I need to practice this a lot so that I can get better at the technique.

Then when I’m brilliant at it, I can encourage my clients to have something different too.

As well as the bouquet I made, I also created a flower crown inspired by Roman’s technique. Although when I asked social media who wore it best, Roman won!

Day 2: All the details with Niina

After my mind being blown on day 1; I went into day 2 wondering what on earth would be next… Niina Minkkinen that’s what.

BFA European Summer School 2019

I love this lady; hugely knowledgeable, amazing insights and yet more fabulous techniques. She was very straight talking and this was refreshing. Particularly with regard to helping our clients appreciate there is so much more to wedding flowers than hand tied bouquets!

Niina’s designs were very simple, but so very striking. I loved her use of metal and decorative elements such as pins and beads. At one point we even had to stamp on the metal framework to get it into the right shape!

I’m hoping one of my September brides will let me use some of the techniques I learned from Niina. This will mean we can elevate her bouquet from amazing to super special!

Day 3: The most interesting materials – ever – with Alex

What can I say about Alex Segura other than his favourite materials are … cardboard and plastic tooth picks. Yes, that’s right! He also likes ribbons and sparkly decorations too, so (as a fellow ribbon fanatic) I knew we would have a great day.

Alex illustrated so many of his techniques and designs. I didn’t think it would be possible to be so creative with such simple techniques. He talked about the principles of floral design, but also about how to create ‘chaos’ in a design. But he still applied certain ‘rules’ so the design would be successful.

I knew I had to create a ribbon design! Alex loved the fact that I cut up a plant tray to use as the base for a ring / hand held bridal design.

I also included succulents within the design, which I have not done before. So I enjoyed using different materials. Oh, and lots of ribbons! (of course!)

When you learn so much you’re head feels like it is going to explode!

I had such an amazing 3 days at the BFA European Summer School 2019. I love learning and I love expanding my skills and knowledge of floristry. It’s an industry that never stands still; so I want to ensure I’m continually developing my knowledge and skills.

I booked the course without knowing much about it; but what a great opportunity it turned out to be! Beyond the hugely talented tutors, I was also surrounded by some very creative fellow students. It was great to hear about everyone’s knowledge and experience.

The team at the British Floristry Association and Moreton Morrell College, were the course was held, were also great and made us all feel very welcome.

BFA European Summer School 2019: Just some of my take-aways

The things that will stay with me the most include:

  • Details are everything. This was the biggest theme. It came through the work of all the tutors. I will definitely think about how I can include amazing finishing touches in my future work
  • Learning and developing our skills is so important for us all. No matter where you are in your career journey
  • Learning from the most varied people possible is best. I never thought I would ever learn these techniques and it was amazing to have a go at something so new
  • Developing designs and photographing them to show your skills is very important. I’m planning some new designs using some of the techniques I have learned. I hope by showing examples, my clients can see the amazing possibilities. I’d like to be known for my creativity and offering something a little bit more striking! (Get in touch if you’re a bride who would like to have something different for your wedding day!)

I would like to express my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to everyone involved in the BFA European Summer School 2019. From the BFA team, Moreton Morrell staff, the tutors, technicians and support staff – and my fellow students. It was an amazing experience and I would 100% recommend it. I will be back!

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