Friday, March 14, 2008

Innovative Instruction, Innovative Designs

To continue our tour de world renown designers, Emily and I flew to Pensacola Florida on March 7, for a three day conference. The AIFD Southern Conference featured some of the most well respected and talented designers in the industry, including Ralph Null AIFD, Suzie Kostick AIFD, Cory Lonsert AIFD, Rene van Rems AIFD, Bert Ford AIFD, and Matt Wood AIFD. We had a great time attending workshops but most importantly we will cherish the new friendship that we established.

One of the designers we were fortunate to meet was Rene' van Rems, AIFD, PFCI. Rene' is a Dutch born designer who has been based in California for the last twenty years. He has instructed floral design at design shows, workshops, and seminars throughout the world, and fortunately for all of us he shared his European flair with us too!

Our workshop with Rene' was centered around Euro-Style hand-tied bouquets. He shared new insight into color, the use of texture, and designing for weddings using fabulous materials such as; lilacs, sweet peas, and other unique blooms. And, besides introducing new product and the latest wedding style trends, Rene kept us on our toes with his quick wit and refreshing sense of humor. His humor, combined with his European perspective and snappy clothing style, made him a unique and fun instructor.

The trip was truly an investment not only personally but artistically as well. We can hardly wait for National Symposium in Chicago this July where we will connect with great friends while filling our cups full with inspiration.

Check out his website for even more floral design inspiration.

Hands-on Help with Hitomi

Here at Modern Day Floral we are always looking for ways to seek excellence and stay at the cutting edge of floral design. On Monday, March 3 Emily, Karen and I had the wonderful opportunity to take a hands-on workshop with world renown floral designer and artist Hitomi Gilliam, AIFD, at the Michigan Floral Association show "NeoFlora: Looking at the future of design." We had so much fun picking up tips and experiencing the floral genius of Hitomi.

Hitomi, who is stationed in Vancouver, is known worldwide for her intuitive approach, creative use of natural materials and designs that are truly floral masterpieces. She has received the AIFD "Design Influence" Award--one of only five recipients who have been honored for the enormous impact of their designs. And her designs impacted us too! Karen really enjoyed learning to work with wire more to make an armature--the support structure for the floral design.

For someone who has been in the industry for so long, I was blown away by how generously and gently she shared her wealth of knowledge. She was a fabulously encouraging teacher and very down to earth. We are talking about the Celine Dion of flowers here, and she was all about motivating each designer to focus on and excel in her particular talent. It was a great day, and we hope the hard work and Hitomi inspiration shows in our designs!

Hitomi's fifth book, Creative Edge: A Floral Retrospective was just released in Dec. 2008 and features gorgeous designs using exotic leaves, flowers, branches, berries and more. Check it out, and her website.