Do You Need To Be Certified to Become a Florist?
The Short Answer is: “No, but.…”
By Kit Wertz
In our design workshops, we’ve offered at our studio and online, we are often asked by students if we grant a certification for our courses.
We do not provide certificates because it is not a requirement to become a “floral designer.” Unlike other professions like hairstylists and aestheticians which require hours of classes, tests, and certifications, floral designers in the U.S. are not required to show any proof of coursework to offer services.
Having said that, we strongly encourage people who want to learn the floral trade to attend in-person classes throughout their career…from when they have a small inkling to try something new, to twenty years into their career.
Kit leading a class at the 2016 San Francisco Flower & Garden Show.
Why Take Classes? Here are just a few Reasons.
- You will learn how to handle the products. Fresh flowers are highly perishable. Taking classes from a pro will help you learn how to keep your flowers fresh and prevent you from wasting money on flowers that wilt too soon!
- You will learn how to process flowers. There are fast and slow ways to do any task. It’s important to prep, design and box flowers fast so you can keep labor costs down. The best way to learn this is from someone who knows how to do those things.
- You will learn how to keep flowers in a vase/garland/spray/etc.…the right way. Don’t risk that bridal bouquet losing stems from the middle of the hand-tie! Learn from a master designer the way to make it work when it’s been out of the vase for a few hours for those pre-wedding photo sessions.
When to Take A Certification Course
Here is a design at the AIFD Symposium 2018 in Washington, D.C. this summer. Notice the Hogarth Curve? Don’t know what that is? Take a basic floral design class soon! Photo by Kit Wertz.
If there is a floral shop which requires a certification, then find out which certification will help you land that job. Find out how much it pays if you have a certification because there are many thousands of dollars that go into securing and maintaining a professional floral certification. The two most widely recognized certifications are Certified Floral Designer (CFD) and American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD).
These two certifications are offered by a trade association known by the same abbreviation, AIFD. Its mission statement is: “Established in 1965, the American Institute of Floral Designers is, today, the floral industry’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to establishing, maintaining and recognizing the highest standard of professional floral design.”
While AIFD offers amazing courses, symposiums and standards for floral designers to aspire to, being certified is not the best fit for all designers. Certification is not a requirement to be a designer, but taking classes from professionals is a very good idea indeed.
It’s All About the Vase — No Trouble!
How to Improve Your Design by Changing the Vase
By Kit Wertz
Vases by Pottery Barn
The kids are in a math camp this week to help them get ready for the next grade level and the camp is being held at my neighbor’s house. So, at the last minute, I thought it would be nice to make a quick floral “Hostess Gift” to bring over as a thank you for sponsoring their home to all the kids!
Off to my local grocery store to pick up two bunches of flowers. I chose five stems of summery Sunflowers and five stems of wide open yellow Alstroemeria.
Two bunches of sunny yellow flowers from my local grocery store. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Then, I was into my garage to look for a vase and settled on a basic gathering vase.
Once I had put the flowers into the basic vase, I wasn’t that impressed with the results. We have a saying in our classes. “There are no bad flower arrangers, only bad vases.” In this particular case when I had about 5 minutes to put this design together, my vase was not cooperating.
First, I put them in a basic gathering vase and was not impressed with my efforts! I went back to the garage to look for a better vase to showcase the flowers and add more value as a hostess gift for my neighbor. Photo by Kit Wertz.
So, back on search, I found a cute short white cylinder that was sitting on a shelf, not being used. I remembered buying it for flowers a long time ago and felt it would be a nice way to make this basic summer flower design a little more classy with a nice ceramic container.
I was right! I had achieved an instant improvement in aesthetics just by shortening the stems and popping them into a clean, modern vase.
Remember…flowers are pretty and they don’t always need a fancy vase. But you must use the “RIGHT VASE” for every design!
Always use the flower food to help your flowers last! Photo by Kit Wertz
Since the new vase I chose was shorter with a wide top, I needed to secure the stems. I re-used the rubber band that came with the flowers to secure a small posy and then cut the stems short to fit into the vase nicely. Photo by Kit Wertz
The flowers looked much better in the cute ceramic vase, but I felt it could use a bit more pizazz. Photo by Kit Wertz
Adding some greenery and succulents gave the design a bit more texture and depth. Photo by Kit Wertz
A few notes to help this design were:
1 — Always use the flower food that comes with the flowers. Read the package to see the right ratio of water to flower food.
2 — I re-used the rubber band that held the bunch of Alstroemeria together to bundle my stems to help the design stay more stable in the shorter vase. Since the vase was opaque, I did not have to worry about anyone seeing my rubber band.
3 — I added a few stems of greenery from my garden to make this design stand out from a “grocery store” design. By adding a few stems of Aeonium succulents and five stems of Camellia leaves, I was able to up the ante of the design.
Blooming on a Stamp
United States Postal Museum Exhibition Displays Flower Art
By Kit Wertz
In July, I had the pleasure of visiting the Smithsonian National Postal Museum in Washington, D.C. with my father and two kids. This is a gem of a visit near the US Capitol building and Union Station. It was very close to a Metro stop which made it attractive to visit on a hot summer day!
What brought us there was more than a love of stamps! There was an exhibit about flora on US Stamps!
Beautiful Blooms: Flowering Plants on Stamps is open from October 20, 2017 — July 14, 2019. It was described as:
“Stamp art featuring flowers and diverse elements of a garden, such as birds and flowering trees, represent some of the most attractive artwork in the Postmaster General’s Collection. This exhibition focuses on the issuance of United States stamps that acknowledge nature’s most colorful and beautiful living botanicals found throughout the American landscape, from sea to shining sea.”
Here is one of my favorite collections on view…the original art and then the stamps:
The most interesting item about the pieces is how small the original art actually is…I always thought it was a big poster shrunk down to size. But in reality, the stamp “art” is almost as small as the stamp!
These artists are amazing!
If you have kids, it’s fun to visit the mail train exhibit, see the authentic stage coach and sit in a big rig pretending to haul the mail. You can also design your own stamp and send a free postcard from the museum!!!
Here is my stamp I created at the National Postal Museum! Notice the two flowers for “Flower Duet?” Ha Ha. Design by Kit Wertz
All in a beautiful building I had never been to in all my youth growing up just 15 minutes from downtown Washington. This museum is worth a visit…with flower stamps or not!
This is the main hall of the National Postal Museum. It’s really gorgeous. Photo by Kit Wertz.
Real stagecoach at the National Postal Museum. Photo by Kit Wertz
Airplanes on display above you in the 1st-floor gallery at the National Postal Museum in D.C. — part of the wonderful Smithsonian collection. Photo by Kit Wertz
Also…if you are an Alexander Hamilton fan, there is an exhibit on him at the Postal Museum now, too!
Free Online Flower Class: Make a Floral Lei
Learn the ins and outs of how to make a basic floral lei! Photo by Kit Wertz
In this Fresh Floral Lei mini-workshop, Kit will show you the traditional way to make a flower lei using fresh cut flowers. Join us for this FREE workshop this month and then we’ll know you’ll want to join us every week for new classes!
What you’ll learn in this course:
- 5 videos
- PDF downloadable file of all supplies used
- Plus a tip on how to keep flower leis fresh!
To take this class, please enroll in Flower Arranging Fridays Forever for only $8 per month and you can access this lesson and all our past Flower Arranging Fridays Courses! That’s 52 Courses over the year.…for a low monthly subscription!!!!
If you want a classic book on how to create amazing pressed flower art, this book, “Pressed Flower Art” by W. Eugene Burkhart is a wonderful choice for your floral design or craft library.
“The art of using pressed and dried flower materials to create pictures and designs has been popular throughout history in cultures around the world. Acclaimed artist W. Eugene Burkhart Jr. passes the craft on in this comprehensive, full-color, how-to guide, sharing information on tools and materials, detailed step-by-step instructions and close-up photographs, and an assortment of projects, patterns, and design ideas for making botanicals, whole flower designs, and intricate cutwork pictures.”
If you want keen guidance on how to press fresh flowers to preserve them and then, design art pieces, this is a wonderful book. From greeting cards to wall pieces, Mr. Burkart’s book has it covered.
We spent the end of July in the mountains in the Eastern Sierra mountains and enjoyed hiking through a plethora of wildflowers! What joy to walk through the fields and think of how I could capture the joy of wildflowers beyond a few lovely photos from my handy mobile phone.
Yellow wildflowers are given a visit by a moth at 11,000 feet above sea level at Mammoth Resort in California. We saw lots of wildflowers in the mountains last week. All ripe for pressing! Photo by Kit Wertz
I thought back to my youth and girl scouts and pressing flowers. We used to literally press them in between sheets of wax paper to preserve them. Modern artists are pressing flowers naturally and then gluing pieces to paper to create bouquets or compositions that are amazing to behold!
The Microfleur flower press is a great invention to help with our “hurry up” society to speed the flower drying and pressing process. Normally, one would take a flower head (dry…not damp), place it in between some blotting paper (like parchment or tissue paper) and sandwich the flower into some pages of a heavy, unused book…like your well-worn Jane Austin anthology (yes…I actually have one of these which must weigh at least two pounds) and then wait 4–6 weeks.
This flower press uses the magic of the microwave to speed up most of the waiting time to drying and pressing your flowers. You will still need to wait a few days after the microwave process to ensure a properly prepared flower, but then, you are ready to design!
Once you’ve gathered your pressed flowers, it’s time to make beautiful “flat” arrangements on paper. What a wonderful way to express your floral design ways.