Monday, 30 March 2015

Contemporary Floral Design with Paula Pryke course review

 I had the chance to join one of the My Garden School courses, Contemporary Floral Design with Paula Pryke and was hugely excited as I had started a floristry course when my son was young but had to give it up. So this online course gave me the opportunity to pick up my florists scissors, tape and foam and have another go.
yellow tulips and purple iris

Paula Pryke is very highly regarded as a floral designer and has written many books (I have a few) on the subject, so to be able to join a course taught by Paula was fantastic. The course is run over 4 weeks and presented as video lectures that you can watch in your own time which was great for me as sometime life is a bit chaotic and time to do my own thing can be rather sporadic.

Every Saturday a new video is available in the online classroom which also has a message board where you can interact with other students and Paula herself.

The course covers key aspects of floral design. Hand tied bouquets are an important skill and I learnt how to spiral the flower stems into arrangements from mixed bouquets to rose domes used as wedding bouquets. It was so enjoyable to revisit this art as a few years back I was making bouquets for myself and family or friends. I used to go to a wholesalers and buy beautiful Avalanche roses and put together my own gifts. The course will show you how to do that and give you so much inspiration.
hand-tied mixed bouquet

The weeks that followed covered floral foam arrangements using quirky materials as a container, such as cabbage leaves and holistic design that incorporate nature into your arrangement. Each video lesson is around 30-40 minutes and of course you can pause and go through completely at your own pace.

Paula explains each process in a very easy to understand, enjoyable way alongside the materials being shown and crafted for you to clearly see. What I enjoyed about the course was the ability to take my time.  For me, Contemporary Floral Design with Paula Pryke was better than the college floristry course I had attended several years ago where I was frequently in a right old state as I didn't have my materials organised or there was a queue for the sink to soak the floral foam or I hadn't heard a step from the tutor. I very much prefer having my own learning space but the ability to interact with others if I need to.

The message board for the course was also helpful, seeing the designs that others had put together was inspiring and great to browse through. Paula also answers any questions promptly and of interest were the questions posed around how floral designers cost bouquets as this was a useful insight into the industry. The course covers plenty, enough for the keen enthusiast and would be appropriate as a taster into the world of floral design whether as a profession, career changer or doing your own or community flowers.

It would be helpful to have a basic florists kit available and an idea of where you are going to source your flowers from. Also, lots of foliage! This is where I struggled as I did not have much greenery in my garden and due to time I ended up using supermarket flowers which aren't always the best. So, in addition to the course cost of £145, please do budget for equipment, flowers and extras like cellophane and ribbon. I might have preferred to take the course in summer when my allotment cutting garden will hopefully provide wonderful flowers. Do find out where your nearest flower market or wholesaler is as using them will be cheaper and offer a better variety.

The course is hugely descriptive; you will learn the different varieties of flowers, how best to prepare and use them, Paula's floral design hints like colour combination and of course how to make a large number of arrangements. As well as the video, the notes are available to download and each week you can submit an assignment with a course completion certificate at the end.

You can continue to access the course which is great for me as I like to go over and over new skills and as my garden offers more flowers in the warmer months,  I would like to try the arrangements again. A super informative course, all in the convenience of being at home especially as there are not that many local colleges offering courses such as floral design. You can find our more about Contemporary Floral Design with Paula Pryke  here.

* I was able to take part in the course for the purposes of the review, all comments are my own honest opinion*


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