Maui Workshop 2012


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 After years of dragging my feet, and due in large part to the pushing, prodding and technical expertise of a few key players, I am finally launching this here blog. As most of you know, I have been happily immersed in the world of  flowers for the past 18 years. I couldn’t wish for more. My job is to create beautiful spaces and my medium is flowers- I LOVE what I do.

A few years ago I was approached by Eileen Johnson of Flower School New York who invited me to teach at her excellent school.  I’ve taught a handful of times over the past few years during which I’ve discovered a new love; teaching. What a  joy to watch someone “get it” and thus share in  that moment of pleasure and accomplishment. Sure, on the one hand we’re all just putting flowers in a vase but on the other, it’s so much more.  When the planets align, and an unruly vine finds it’s rightful place tendrilling around that ornery but gorgeous branch, the feeling that all is right in the world is no small matter.

In the interest of delving deeper into this journey I organized my first workshop on the dreamy island of Maui. The goal was to teach in a space where all the senses are enlivened and where the materials in the immediate surrounds are abundant and inspiring. It was held at the Haiku Mill event space. We started our day with a yoga/movement hybrid,with Kalia Kelmenson then dove right into my favorite centerpiece, the good ole’ compote. Not only do I think that this shape is the most fun shape to arrange in, it also happens to be the one that anyone! can succeed at and create something truly lovely. It’s safe to say that not only are the results reliably beautiful, but it is also reliably user friendly. People always seem delighted that what appears to be rather intricate and complicated is surprisingly accessible.

We created bridal bouquets, personal flowers and  tall arrangements. I shared my thoughts on running a successful business, navigating difficult situations, and charging what you are worth. (For any of you women out there who haven’t, read this book, “Women Don’t Ask”).  We discussed color theory and delved briefly into it’s larger implications with the wise and deeply insightful Michele La Croix. We visited Maui Tropicals and Foliage and tromped around with David Brown. What a sight it was to see those insane tropical flowers growing like mad in their world.  I have always found  so little point of reference for tropicals, but seeing them like this changed everything.

On the last day we all designed a table and embellished the immediate surrounds. We used a linen from La Tavola and some additional pretty props. We went home, dressed up and returned to enjoy a marvelous meal under the stars provided by Dan Fiske with divine cocktails from Steph at Garnish Events. I don’t know about all of you, but how often do we designers actually get to enjoy the space that we’ve created? And even if we are invited, the thought alone might reduce even the hardiest of us to tears.

What follows are some images of from that workshop. All the arrangements pictured were created by the students.

 
Photo Credit: Meg Smith

Photo Credit: Meg Smith

Photo Credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo Credit: Courtney Kelly

Hunting the reclusive tropical heffalump. Photo Credit: Courtney Kelly

Hunting the reclusive tropical heffalump. Photo Credit: Courtney Kelly

Bridal bouquets. Photo Credit: Courtney Kelly    

Bridal bouquets. Photo Credit: Courtney Kelly

 

 

The lovely Reba and her beautiful bouquet. Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

The lovely Reba and her beautiful bouquet. Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

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Photo credit: Courtney Kelly

Photo credit: Courtney Kelly