I’m delighted today to share with you an interview with floral designer Shane Connolly about his new online course, The Art of Environmental Floristry.
Who is the course suitable for?
Enthusiasts, career changes, complete beginners, right through to professional floral designers who would like to understand more about environmental floristry. Most of all, it’s suitable for people with enquiring minds, a love of flowers and an enthusiasm to learn and share.
This course is also being used to teach practising florists and enthusiasts alike how to practise floristry with the very latest natural and environmentally friendly techniques, which are woven throughout both the demonstration, practice and thinking in the lessons. And the assignments will challenge students to develop their own style with these influences. I don’t want people to copy me, but to become their own unique artist.
What will students learn?
What’s particularly special about the techniques and insights the students will learn, working closely with me, is the environmental sensitivity used to create seasonal, nature-led floral art.
I’m passionate about pioneering sustainable techniques. And throughout this course, I’ve tried to show that floral foam is not a part of sustainable floristry and help lead the next wave of environmental florists to adopt foam free techniques. Plus begin to work out their own techniques too, which is VITAL in my opinion. I want to inspire people to think more about the choices they make and be informed, intelligent artists and designers.
Could you tell us more background about the course?
This course particularly focuses on context and the current environmental thinking that I use to create artistic beauty with flowers. Throughout the course, I reference their natural context within the environment and its relevance to the designs.
Students will not only learn from me though as we also filmed days with Polly Nicholson at Bayntun Flowers and Bridget and Henrietta, The Land Gardeners, who share their philosophies as growers and cut flower experts. So students will begin to understand the whole process….from soil to vase, as it were.
No floral design will be too big or too small. This course covers the very simple right through to challenging and sophisticated displays. Most scales of design are covered and students will be ready to work out their own solutions to anything that isn’t.
I hope students will find my style of teaching to be both down to earth and pragmatic, whilst being approachable and non judgemental. Basically, if someone feels like they need some inspiration and insights on how to refresh, invigorate and develop their own style using seasonal, home-grown and environmentally friendly flowers, then this is the perfect course.
What is the structure of the course?
There are 5 lessons:
In this lesson, you’ll get unique footage to help you understand how my artistic process works for design in floristry. This is a deeply personal aspect of design, one which enables you to use your own unique environment to inspire and influence the choices you make. You’ll be taken on location during the video lecture with me, on an intimate journey to places of inspiration and natural settings for flowers. Here I share my own passion and thinking processes for how you will begin your own design process. By the end of this lesson, you’ll have learnt how to tap into your own design inspiration, using your own environment.
Environmental Flower Choices
Here I share how I make choices about flowers based on sustainability. In this lesson, context and the environment play a very important part in the choices that I make. You’re encouraged to do the same, wherever you are in the world. This is where you will start to understand why you’re making the floral choices you are, depending on your own context, client needs, flower and foliage availability and personal style.
In this lesson, rather than prescriptively telling you what to design, I talk you through several of my own designs, which are followed through from the inspiration stage shared in the first lesson. You’ll learn some ideas and techniques on how to translate your creative inspiration into a practical reality using only environmentally friendly techniques.
Finally, now you have understood and are beginning to own your personal style, I talk you through my own favourite designs from my own floral work and others.
Why is the art of environmental floristry so important?
We’re at a critical time in the battle to protect the environment. I believe flowers and plants are many peoples’ only connection to nature in their busy urban lives. So we as florists and floral designers have a unique opportunity to make them see nature in a deeply respectful, pure way. And help them connect with seasonality and the earth. This is a very powerful responsibility and one I take very seriously, as we owe nature everything. She is our base and our origin. So we need to respect and protect her.
What’s the difference between Peer and Expert level?
Peer level is all about the power of combined learning. You’ll be in a virtual classroom with up to 20 students and are encouraged to share thoughts, questions or images. The sense of community this creates is incredible. You could end up with students from all over the world! You’ll have access to Shane’s fantastic video tutorials as well as downloadable lesson notes.
At Expert level, you’ll have access to all of the above and more! You’ll have the opportunity to interact with me directly. You can ask me any question you’d like, be it on your own arrangements or any general point of interest. I’ll also mark your assignments.
Why do you like teaching at Learning with Experts? What’s different about it?
It’s been so insightful already, teaching students from different backgrounds and with different levels of experience from all over the world. It’s a very innovative and creative way for people to learn floristry together. And for me it’s vital that we spread the word about environmental floristry globally so people can learn what is possible. I’d recommend studying in this way, because it enables us to learn from (and teach) each other in intimate groups.
Learning with Experts has developed a creative learning environment online which is conducive to demonstrating, sharing and learning about floral design, in an in-depth yet enjoyable way. It’s partly because you’re learning with people with different experiences from different countries. But it’s also because it’s easy to use, and very visual in the way the classroom has been designed to help you share and critique each others’ work.
The Learning with Experts Team are very excited that they’ll soon be adding a fifth floristry class for their past, current and future students, which will be the perfect revision of all they will have learnt throughout the course! Keep your eyes peeled as this will be released soon!
Shane Connolly & Company has been creating timeless, artisan, floral decorations for over twenty years. Shane has built an enviable reputation as a floral designer with a small, dedicated and talented team from offices and a studio in North Kensington.
He holds Royal Warrants of Appointment to both HM The Queen and HRH The Prince of Wales. But he is perhaps best known for designing the beautiful wedding flowers for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. Shane is passionate about environmental floristry. And through his course with Learning with Experts, he hopes to pass down some of his wisdom and help us reconnect to nature.
If you’d like to take part in The Art of Environmental Floristry online course with Shane as either a Peer or an Expert, simply head over to the Learning with Experts website to secure your place.
Thank you so much to Shane for this wonderful interview about his new course and environmental floristry in general. And if you’d like to find out more details about the other online floristry courses available from Learning with Experts, please visit their website.*
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