In October 2013, I had a dream come true. I went to Portland and sat at across the table from Francoise Weeks! Any floral designer worth their weight knows her work. She's an amazing European designer leading the world in woodland design. She doesn't need flowers to make something fantastic. Her work is so detailed and textural it's incredible. Learning from her was an absolute pleasure and I am so incredibly thankful for talented designers like her who teach the good stuff to us youngin's!
We took the train down to Portland right after I finished up a wedding. I was able to bring my wonderful husband and beyond cute daughter with me. It was such a joy to have them on this adventure with me. I was on the train, on my way to learn from a master craftsman and I was so excited and nervous. I felt like I was on my way to Hogwarts! Nerdy but so true!!
Francoise's studio is amazing. We all arrived, excited as always and talked about business practices, caring for flowers, etc. When I get really excited I can be one of two ways: very quiet or overly loud. I have no in between. Today, I was pretty quiet. We dug in and made our very first centerpieces. One square and one long. Woodland design is like nothing else I've done. I had no idea how it would turn out, I had a rough idea, but just went for it. I wanted to make a little world, like something you might see on a stroll through the woods. I felt so free designing this way. Each of us created a little treasure!
Day 2: This day was a lot of fun! Francoise makes these amazing bouquets out of special holders. Before they started making the holders, she made her own. She knew what she wanted and figured out a way to make it happen. Creating your own bouquet holder out of foam and zip ties and have it look and work well takes a lot of creativity and innovation.
I really wanted to make something that would push my limits as a designer. I spotted some tomatillo vines and set out to make a fantasty cascading bouquet. If there was anywhere to make a mistake or let loose push my creative bounds, this was it. The back of the holder I covered with leaves in a fun pattern which set the tone for the front Ranunculus, tomotillos, bark, dahlias, kiwi vine, celiosa, various kinds of ferns all came together to make this dramatically fun bouquet!
After the bouquets we made flower girl purses. I thought of my little nugget and what she would like to carry and came up with a bag that was as colorful, fun and cute as she was. This was my favorite project of the workshop!
Day 3: The 3rd and final day we made pew cones and compote designs. The pew cones were so fun and versatile. They could be a flower girl purse, be line the aisle, mark a special guests chair, they were so fun!
The compote I had to hurry along, which is unfortunate. I would have loved to take my time, but we had to catch the bus to the train station with a hungry toddler. I wanted to have a large branch through the arrangement with various succulents, foliage and flowers growing over it. It was large arrangement and would have looked amazing on a mantle or escort table!