Flora & Fauna Workshop - April 2018

Yes, April 2018. This post may be long overdue, but I cannot even begin to elaborate enough on what an important and heartfelt event this was was for so many people.

Was so lucky to spend time with these beautiful blooms in the barn at Hope Flower Farm. These David Austin roses…perfection! ( *Italian chef kiss*)

Was so lucky to spend time with these beautiful blooms in the barn at Hope Flower Farm. These David Austin roses…perfection! (*Italian chef kiss*)

I’m going let my vulnerabilities flow for a minute here. After months of contemplating over whether to attend a floral design workshop, I began filling out the sign-up form for the Flora and Fauna Workshop at Hope Flower Farm and finally clicked that ‘Register’ button. As a first-timer to any kind of workshop like this, I was excited, yet apprehensive, and filled with starstruck nervousness about coming face to face with some big names in floral design. Scary stuff, am I right?! My submission was quickly followed up with an email from Amy McGee of Chapel Designers/Botanical Brouhaha, which put me very much at ease (the way that Amy just has that ability with people, if you’ve ever listened to the BB podcast.)

To expand a little more on the idea behind the workshop, while it was very much about learning new techniques, business perspective, and meeting other floral designers, the final day of the workshop would feature a fashion show benefiting Along Comes Hope and Team Matthias, two organizations with the mission of helping children and families affected by pediatric cancer.

Susan McLeary, Amy McGee, Holly Chapple, Allison Ellis, Francoise Weeks, Gregor Lersch, and Hitomi Gilliam. Many thanks to each of you for your presence and master knowledge.

Susan McLeary, Amy McGee, Holly Chapple, Allison Ellis, Francoise Weeks, Gregor Lersch, and Hitomi Gilliam. Many thanks to each of you for your presence and master knowledge.

Holly Chapple, host of the workshop and “Flower Mama” as she is known by many in the industry, dreamed of utilizing Hope Flower Farm as a way to give back, to do something meaningful for a good cause. It was evident that Holly put her heart and soul into organizing this event. Our group spent the days leading up to the fashion show observing demonstrations and lessons from Holly, Gregor Lersch, Hitomi Gilliam, Francoise Weeks, Susan McLeary, and Allison Ellis. We used the techniques taught by the masters to create botanical couture to be worn by the fashion show models, who were all cancer survivors - many of whom were children that deserved, more than anything, a day to have fun and let their strength be known. It was an incredibly moving and emotional culmination.

This gathering reaffirmed what I say about flowers and what I love most about flowers, which is that there is an emotion tied to every single bouquet or bloom that is given from one person to another. From our client’s point of view, they are often experiencing an overwhelming emotion - be it joy, love, or grief as we all inevitably face in life. Yet these emotions are all to be celebrated; maybe it’s a love to last a lifetime, a newborn baby, or a celebration of a life that touched others. In these moments, a florist channels that emotion and turns it into something of beauty to be honored, affirming the heart. What happened at the Flora & Fauna show was a celebration of the undeniable strength of every individual who walked the runway.

Reflecting on it all, I look back to the day when I clicked ‘Register’ to attend this workshop with a completely different perspective. It was really not such a thing to have been nervous about in the grand scheme of life. But I guess, the moral of the story, is simply a reminder to do the things you’re afraid of - because you do have the strength to do them.

I am honored & humbled to have been in attendance and want to give many thanks to Holly Chapple and Amy McGee, Along Comes Hope, Team Matthias, and Sarah Collier who captured the event with many beautiful photos.

Holly was an incredible host - heartfelt, sincere, and genuinely happy for each one of us to be there learning together.

Holly was an incredible host - heartfelt, sincere, and genuinely happy for each one of us to be there learning together.

Francoise teaching & apparently enjoying it!

Francoise teaching & apparently enjoying it!

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Me learning & apparently enjoying it!

Me learning & apparently enjoying it!

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Cynthia Damico of  Design in Bloom  and myself sifting through a bucket to find the most exquisite bloom for the runway. Cynthia and I arrived at Hope Farm simultaneously, gave each other a nod and said, “I think we’re in the right place!”… “Phew - made a friend!”  I thought to myself.

Cynthia Damico of Design in Bloom and myself sifting through a bucket to find the most exquisite bloom for the runway. Cynthia and I arrived at Hope Farm simultaneously, gave each other a nod and said, “I think we’re in the right place!”…“Phew - made a friend!” I thought to myself.

Little one having a blast. I see a proud mom in the background capturing the moment. Bouquet by Jaclyn Millonzi of  Feisty Flowers  in Milwaukee.

Little one having a blast. I see a proud mom in the background capturing the moment. Bouquet by Jaclyn Millonzi of Feisty Flowers in Milwaukee.

My creations were worn by Chapel Designer Lindsey Diminick, owner of  Yellow Twist Design  based in Maine. Meeting Lindsey and hearing her story was such a joy. LOVE that smile.

My creations were worn by Chapel Designer Lindsey Diminick, owner of Yellow Twist Design based in Maine. Meeting Lindsey and hearing her story was such a joy. LOVE that smile.

Adorable sisters. These designs were created by Carol Mann of  Brambles and Bittersweet  in Mystic, CT.  (And yeah, candy does help when you’re nervous.)

Adorable sisters. These designs were created by Carol Mann of Brambles and Bittersweet in Mystic, CT. (And yeah, candy does help when you’re nervous.)

Cathy Seeliger of  Roses & Rice  in East Quogue, NY made this incredible parasol. I don’t know how she did it, but  I love it!

Cathy Seeliger of Roses & Rice in East Quogue, NY made this incredible parasol. I don’t know how she did it, but I love it!

Gregor Lersch makes completely unique designs, unlike anything I had ever seen before and unlike anything most people in Indiana have probably ever seen. Before the flowers were ever touched, Gregor spent hours crafting the intricate wire armature that makes the base of this bouquet.

Gregor Lersch makes completely unique designs, unlike anything I had ever seen before and unlike anything most people in Indiana have probably ever seen. Before the flowers were ever touched, Gregor spent hours crafting the intricate wire armature that makes the base of this bouquet.

The main event. Our models, the ones whose strength we celebrated. The end. <3

The main event. Our models, the ones whose strength we celebrated. The end. <3

Angela StoffregenComment