Last night I competed in the Iron Designer Competition held at the Miami Convention Center in South Beach, FL alongside 7 other beautiful designers. The days leading up to the show my mind was consumed with so much worry not just because this would be my first LIVE competition, but I was not prepared to show my face to the floral industry after an incident that occurred a couple of months ago. I found myself needing a big mental break so I took a 3 day trip to Nick’s mom and step-fathers house for a little relaxation and bonding time.
My days spent in Port Richey, FL I went to Faith’s yoga studio while she taught, listening to the beats and flow of the music playing in the background followed by a yoga class or two which helped me out tremendously. In addition, a nap under a palm tree by the Bayou, bike ride with John and a couple glasses of wine did me good! Now I was officially mentally prepared and was in more control of my breathing so I could strive to be less stressed and have less anxiety running through my body.
Mentally prepared: CHECK ! Physically prepared: NOT SO MUCH. The competitors did not know what the theme was till the day of the show so my practice pieces at home were simple arrangements that could be sold in a floral shop or grocery store. Rainbow foam, colorful spring-like flowers, Line, Focal and a little sheltering.
Yesterday I drove to the convention, met up with Eileen Chung from Blossom Street Florist and we walked around the trade show chatting, listening and learning to all the wholesalers and floral designers. The biggest questions I was asked all day was : Do you work for someone, have your own business and how did you get here ?! My simple answer is, no I do not work for someone or have my own business , just a floral blog if you care to read… I was there to listen and learn like many others and also to compete which I’m very grateful for the experience. After all, I am extremely passionate about floristry even though I am not in a shop or studio 24/7 like before.
4:30 p.m came and it was time to meet at Center Stage to go over the Toolbox list which was followed by a glass of wine with the two narrators of the show. Jacob McCall, past Iron Designer Winner and Pieter Landman were amazing narrators and made the competition light and fun for everyone.
We were given numerous products that were provided by Ball and Kendall Farms, container(s) by Burton & Burton, Floral life and Temkin. Task was to create an EXTREME BOUQUET IN 20 MINUTES, using ANY of the materials provided. No pressure in front of a live audience right ? I’m so happy and grateful for those who made it a fun experience 🙂 From 20 minutes to 15, I found myself grouping my tropicals and binding with wire, than gathering up my other materials for the largest bouquet I could possibly fit in my left hand.
Once the 5 minute mark came, I saw a nice space in the front of the bouquet which then I decided to have Eucalyptus and bear grass cascading from the front like a waterfall. I bounded my bouquet together, cut the stems, set it gently in a small cylinder and wiped down my table as quickly as possible. With 2 minutes remaining, I cut a bunch of sunflowers, scattered the blooms and dumped my marbles all over the table for a little added presentation and interest for the judges 🙂
In the end all went well as I took 4th place and was so happy to be surrounded by many talented designers and to expose myself and my talent. J Schwanke of uBloom took 1st place and I couldn’t be more happy for him and everyone.