Flower Power

Chicago School of Flower Design

You know how I feel about flowers? They’re lovely ways to add color to your home, but I really don’t know what makes them beautiful together. A few days ago, if you asked me to go to a farmer’s market and put together a bouquet, I’d have been stumped. I wouldn’t know what colors complement each other, which size vases to use with which flowers, etc. That’s why I am still in disbelief that I made three bouquets Monday night in three hours! Granted, I made these in a class that provided me with step-by-step instructions and flowers, but now I’ve walked away with more knowledge from that one night than multiple years of me staring at bouquets in markets. I just had to share my excitement about the Chicago Flower School of Design (and *humblebrag* with photos of these bouquets).

Chicago School of Flower Design

Steve signed me up for the flower school as a Christmas gift. I’m DIYing our wedding flowers (with supervision from a professional), so he thought the class would be good practice for me. And he was right. The School of Flower Design is led by Michael Gaffney, a renowned floral designer who shared plenty of stories from elaborate weddings and catering to the stars. He opened the class explaining that flower design is like cooking. It’s about 10% creativity, and the rest is sticking to a “recipe.” Sure, the flowers or colors in a bouquet might change, but the key elements need to be there for it to be pleasing to the eye. Once he explained it like that, I was better able to follow his directions for the three bouquets we learned that night.

Chicago School of Flower Design

The bouquet of roses was probably the most difficult to make, but also the best way to learn the dome technique. I had to start over three times before I got it right because there is a method to putting together this look, and it doesn’t include just gathering a bunch of flowers in your hand and tying ribbon around it.

Chicago School of Flower DesignChicago School of Flower Design

The bouquet I enjoyed making the most was the one with a collar of greenery around the roses. Everyone began the same – with a center of six roses – but our bouquets quickly all took on distinct looks. We admired one another’s creations and discussed which elements we liked from each one.

Chicago School of Flower Design

Beyond learning techniques for different types of bouquets, the instructor sent us home with his book “Flower Power: Lessons from the Los Angeles School of Flower Design.” I haven’t read a DIY book in a long time (hello, that’s what Pinterest is for), but I can’t stop leafing through it! The photos of Michael Gaffney’s step-by-step creations are amazing, and it also has great inspiration for unique vases. I am considering signing up for the next time he’s in town – in June – and taking the week long course! Until then, I envision many trips to the flower market.

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Category: DIY

One Response to Flower Power

  1. Sarah Lagen says:

    This is so cool Jennie! I didn’t realize that much when into make bouquets! I kind of thought that you grabbed some stuff that looked good together and that was it– this is so interesting! You did such a good job! I can’t wait to see what you do for your wedding!

    xo, Sarah

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