So, when I discovered last year that she was holding a floristry workshop in the UK in collaboration with the wedding blog Wedding Sparrow, I just had to get into contact with Katie to see if I could pop in. I was thrilled when she agreed and we arranged for me to visit on Day 3 of the four day floral extravaganza. And oh my…was I in for a very special treat!
Nestled in the tranquil Dorset countryside was the magnificent venue where the workshop was held…St Giles House in Wimborne St Giles.
And to follow are images of Katie and the workshop delegates foraging in the grounds…
On the day before I visited, Katie demonstrated hand-tied bouquet design. And then it was the turn of the attendees to create their bouquets, using their foraged foliage and flowers from New Covent Garden Flower Market and The Electric Daisy Flower Farm.
And here are the completed designs…stunningly captured by photographer Maria Lamb.
When I arrived, Katie was demonstrating how to create a compote design. And what an inspirational setting the delegates had, being based in the library with a view over the wonderful gardens.
By limiting the workshop to 12 attendees who had travelled from all four corners of the globe, Katie was able to give a great deal of attention, help and feedback to everyone individually whilst they were making their floral designs.
After a delicious lunch, Sara from the Wedding Sparrow shared her story on how she started her business, talked in depth about branding and touched also on social media. Then, the delegates had the opportunity of having their compote designs photographed for their portfolio by Maria.
Styled with fruit and feathers, the floral arrangements looked so reminiscent of Dutch Masters paintings. Plus the addition of the owner of St Giles House’s extremely cute Bengal kitten made it a photo shoot like no other I’d ever seen!
A very interesting chat about the floristry profession and the titles which people give themselves took place between Katie and I. During the workshop, she had had various discussions with the delegates as she tried to help them realise that as well as being floral designers/florists, that they were also artists.
She told me that several attendees had struggled with this concept. So, she tried to help them grasp the notion by pointing out that painters don’t have a problem with calling themselves artists. Instead of paint, the delegates were simply using a different medium – flowers. Further discussion followed and after, in some cases, a tear or two, the concept of being an artist became something which sat more comfortably with the attendees.
From our prior email communication, I had sensed that Katie would be a wonderfully warm person, but I was completely blown away on actually meeting her. She really could not have been more charming and I had a truly wonderful time at the workshop.
I’m so thrilled that she’s returning to the UK this autumn with a workshop at Butley Priory in Suffolk. It’s taking place from September 18th-22nd and full details can be found on the Ponderosa & Thyme website. I understand that there are only a few places remaining. So do book soon, if you’d like to attend!
(Credits – Photographer: Maria Lamb | Film Scans: Photo Vision | Models: Maja Rohling & Maisy Taylor | Hair & Makeup: Catherine Howard | Dress: Lady Evelyn | Silk and Runners: Silk & Willow | Assistants: Sarah Statham/Simply by Arrangement & Holly Marsden/Sea Holly Flowers)