Are you sitting comfortably? This a very special blog post brimming full of beautiful images by photographer Amanda Dumouchelle from the recent Chapel Designers Conference at Brixton East in London.
The brainchild of Holly Chapple from Holly Heider Chapple and co-hosted by Nick Priestly from Mood Flowers/Flower School Glasgow, this is the second time that the conference has taken place on British shores. And oh my, what an incredible three days! I was invited to the conference on the first day to do a presentation on social media and a dinner on the second day.
Florists from the UK and Ireland, plus as far afield as America, Canada, Romania and Russia were in attendance and the conference opened with introductions from Holly and her husband Evan…
…followed by Nick.
Then it was my turn to give the delegates a 90 minute presentation about social media. I was very aware that many of the florists had attended my own Social Media for Florists workshop and also come to the Chapel Designers Conference the previous year. So, bearing this in mind, as well as lots of general hints and tips, I also covered new content which I’d not featured before including recent social media trends and developments. (By the way, I’m planning on announcing the dates for our next Flowerona workshops next week!)
Here’s Holly, Nick and I below. It was so lovely to see them again and catch up on all their news. I know the amount of work which goes into running workshops and could see how much time and energy they’d put into the event. They’re both such ambassadors for the floristry industry and so very generous in sharing their vast knowledge and experience.
After lunch, there was a demonstration by Athena and Mairead from Rebel Rebel and they recounted their floral journey with the delegates, whilst they worked. Below is Athena in the process of making a ‘Bouquet on Legs’, which is one of their signature designs.
They then showed us how to make a floral trough using a variety of difference foliage and a rainbow colour palette of flowers.
Next up it was the delegates’ turn to get into teams and make four troughs of each colour of the rainbow.
Here are the troughs being placed outside in a line. They caused a lovely commotion with passers-by. One man even started singing ‘I can sing a rainbow’ as he strolled down the street!
Here’s the finished design…a floral masterpiece.
Not surprisingly, my favourite part was the purple element!
The second day of the conference started with a freeform bouquet demonstration by Holly…
…and these are two of the stunning designs she created, held by a model in a beautiful dress by Joyce Young Collections.
Then the delegates created their own bouquets using this stunning selection of flowers from New Covent Garden Flower Market. Can you spot the exquisite double hellebores in the middle?
Now, you may remember this amazing suspended design which Nick made at his flower school in Glasgow? Well, tying in with this theme of a floral design above a table, Nick ingeniously conjured up the mechanics for a design which could be created without the need for hanging wire from the ceiling. He used planks of wood, plastic dishes…
…tall glass vases and floral foam.
The delegates started greening up…
…and then added flowers, including different types of Avalanche roses from Meijers Roses. (You’ll see the finished design in situ for the dinner that evening as you scroll further down.)
On the afternoon of Day 2, there was a floristry demonstration by Paula Pryke.
Using jasmine, astrantia…
..sweet peas, lilac and ranunculus, Paula created this lovely vase arrangement.
Then she made this design which has featured in her books, a floral birthday cake.
And as a finale, she created this gorgeous urn arrangement.
So…here’s the table installation in place upstairs at Brixton East. Doesn’t it look absolutely stunning?!
And here we all are that evening enjoying a delicious three course meal by Four Gables Food.
It was such a special evening! Pictured left to right are Mairead, Nick, myself, Evan, Holly, Paula, Shane and Athena.
The final day of the conference started with a tour of New Covent Garden Flower Market by Mairead…
The delegates visited The Floral Angels, who are based there, and helped out with making up posies from donated flowers.
Then, in the afternoon, they were treated to a fabulous floral demonstration by Shane Connolly…
The Chapel Designers Conference is such a great way for florists to learn new skills, as well as network. And the atmosphere is one of sharing, helping each other and building friendships. Nick tells me that they’re planning on holding the next conference in London next spring.
Thank you so much to Holly and Nick for inviting me to this year’s conference. I felt very honoured to be part of it. It was lovely to see so many familiar faces amongst the florists and also meet lots of new people, some of whom I felt I already ‘knew’ from social media.
(Images : Amanda Dumouchelle Photography)