So I may have a fair number of weddings and events under my floral belt but I’m a firm believer that you never stop learning, and so with that in mind I booked myself a 1-2-1 course with one of my flower idols Jay Archer at her studio in the Hampshire countryside.
These sessions are individually tailored to the students’ needs so I’d already been in touch with Jay to work out what we were going to cover so I arrived excited to learn about Jay’s approach, the flowers she uses and how to the big stuff! After being welcomed with a brew and a chat we went into the studio to discuss the ins and outs of creating large floral installations like flower bombs, chandelier hoops, hanging plank garlands and massive archways! I’ve created a couple of these before but Jay is the undisputed queen of the big stuff – ‘go big or go home’ so it was great to gain an insight into the best way to approach the designs, what mechanics to use and suitable flowers and foliage. Jay was totally generous with her knowledge, sharing advice on what works best. This year is going to include more of the big stuff for me so it was a really valuable and reassuring session.
After lunch at a local pub we returned back to the studio to chat through the benefits of using locally grown, British flowers, something that Jay is a passionate advocate for. I too love using seasonal, locally grown flowers but aside from growing a few my own it can prove hard to source locally from other growers in any quantity so Jay’s tips on seeking out new suppliers will enable me to use more beautiful unique flowers in my weddings over the coming year.
Jay had brought in a stunning selection of British flowers from Claire at Plant Passion for me to use and they were just fabulous, stunning fragrant tulips, delicate icelandic poppies, ruffled ranunculus, apple blossom and bright green foliages. These formed the ingredients for the second part of my lesson – creating a non-wired trailing bouquet. Again i’ve done a couple before but it’s not a style i’m asked for that often with brides preferring smaller, handtied posy-style bouquets. Having said that the looser, trailing bouquets are becoming more popular and it’s a design Jay is asked for regularly so has become somewhat a signature style. It was great to just have the creative space to pick and choose the flowers I was drawn to with no preconcieved idea of what the final bouquet was going to look like, just that it was going to be big, wild and trailing! Although my own style is very natural the really big free-form bouquets do take a bit of making, so it was a case of moving out of my comfort zone and really letting the flowers do their thing. I was pretty pleased with the end result, full of spring flowers and perfect for a bold bride wanting a statement bouquet.
Towards the end of the afternoon we put together a rustic arch with birch poles, willow twigs and foliage, as a mock-up for a wedding arch I’m planning for later in the year so no photo’s of this one but instead a few more of the beautiful British flowers I got to play with! I really had a great day learning from Jay, I came away feeling inspired and motivated for the season ahead and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend her courses; I’m already weighing up whether I can fit in another during the Autumn! Take a peek at Jay’s flower school website if you’ve been inspired to get creative and develop your floristry skills, you won’t regret it! www.jafdflowerschool.com