Over the past few years I have hosted many floral design workshops around the world, and I've come to the conclusion that I want these classes to be more than just about learning the art of floral design. At their core, they are about a uniquely beautiful experience getting to know like minded people - often in wonderful locations, with lovely muses (both flowers and models), new friends made, new portfolio images, and new skills learned. Ultimately, what I hope that people walk away with is an overwhelming sense that they can achieve more than they might have imagined coming in.
For all international workshops, we do an editorial shoot on day two, and creating a gorgeous editorial has to have the right photographer. Corbin Gurkin is more than just a photographer, she is a scene creator and harnesser, wringing light out of darkness and capturing beauty in a way that few can accomplish. She is, in a word, a rarity. I love it when I get to work with Corbin, and we brainstorm ideas and bring the best out in each other in a very effortless sort of way. Plus, she'll go to the ends of the earth to get the shot.
For this particular workshop in Victoria, I asked Corbin if she had anything in particular that she had been wanting to do, and she said that she had been wanting to shoot some "pattern on pattern”. I loved the idea, and so we decided to pick some monochromatic color themes for the flowers, ultimately creating four different vignettes.
I will readily admit, as gorgeous as Victoria was, it was not easy for me to pull it off, as acquiring flowers was a bit of nightmare. While there are some lovely locally grown varieties, most flowers are imported, and tend to be very expensive. To achieve the style and abundance that goes into one of my workshops, I ended up picking up gorgeous ranunculus and anemones from Erin at Floret Flower Farm in Washington, ordering from New York and California, visiting local flower shops and nurseries, and smuggling flowers in my suitcase. There were some import issues, and half of the shipment arrived on the morning of the first day of the workshop, which was a bit stressful. However, in the end, it all came together beautifully. That said, I couldn’t have pulled it off without a couple of key people - Polina from Studio Floretta in Vancouver for hours and hours of preparation and assistance, and Vanessa of Verbena Floral Design in Victoria for amazing support during the class and for acquiring a bunch of local varieties to fill out the floral beauty.
The venue: Villa Marco Polo
I visited this gorgeous little villa about 10 years ago with my husband for a babymoon, and had a lovely time, so when the time came to pick a venue, there was no other consideration to be had. The villa and gardens are beautiful - ornate and lush. We had the workshop in the garden, but did most of our editorial shooting inside. If you have the chance to visit Victoria, I highly recommend it - and it is sure to be the penultimate bed and breakfast experience for you - with Diana and Alex, the innkeepers, taking care of you just as they did our eclectic group.
In the end, there were 22 of us at the most beautiful venue, with perfect weather and flowers, delicious food and even a sweet little baby boy (Corbin’s baby Emerson) to keep us all entertained. I couldn't have asked for a better outcome - as these images will surely show!
My demo arrangement in red.
Beautiful student work.
More beautiful student work.
My statement piece demo.
Beautiful Marco Polo Inn.
Maybelle Imasa can do no wrong.
My demo bouquet.
Every room at the Inn tells a different story.
Beautiful student work by Polina of Studio Floretta.
Gorgeous Claire with Clematis Montana.
- Red: @katemcdonaldbridal @zimmermann @kristinhayesjewelry
- Blue: @heidielnora
- Green: @sabrinadahan @katemcdonaldbridal
- Yellow: @houghtonnyc @lohobride