Monday, April 29, 2013

Shane Connolly Meets The Dutch Masters

I had the honor of meeting Shane Connolly (an Irishman living in London), this past weekend while taking his floral design class at the MFA during Art in Bloom 2013. Shane (we're on a first name basis now), was most recently chosen by William and Kate to design their Wedding at Westminster Abbey. You know the infamous Field Maple Trees, and the Lily of the Valley bouquet? Yup, that's him.

Shane was engaging and unassuming, as he spoke to the group. He asked to remain in the next room during his formal introduction, not wanting to hear all the wonderful accolades being spoken about him. Following his demonstration he spent the remaining time walking around helping to guide, and compliment us. I really enjoyed his teaching style.

With the current trend in floral design being of a natural and organic nature, it wasn't hard to identify with his particular design style. We would be making a mantel design for a formal space, not unlike a Dutch Masters design in both style and color. His instructions were to throw caution to the wind, and get a little wild. He encouraged us to follow our own design course, and that rules need not apply in this case. Since that's the way I like to roll, I had no issue with the plan.

We used varieties of fruits and veggies which were fun to work with. The brown fruit on stems are called Longan, which grow in tropical parts of Asia. A fruit of which I was not familiar with, but one that I would definitely use again for its draping effect.

I learned some great mechanical techniques about how to make a tower-like design, strong and supported. I ran into Jeff Sawyer of Verde Floral Design in Mashpee, who I had met (and sat beside) last year, at the Paula Pryke class. 

This is my design after a hot, and bumpy ride home from Boston. It really makes a nice presentation (love the height), don't you think? I will definitely use the techniques that I learned from Shane, and incorporated them into future designs. Thanks, Shane. 

Until next time...L.

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