Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of watching six of Minnesota’s top floral designers compete in the 18th Annual Koehler and Dramm Floral Designer of the Year competition, which was held at the Home and Garden Show at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
As many of you already know, the designers who make it to the final round have no idea what product they will get or what assignment they will receive. This can be intimidating, but to me, competing is just a bit more intense than your last-minute funeral order, which we florists embrace every day! I always tell my crew that last-minute orders are just practice for the Sylvia Cup, the longest running and highest-level design competition in the United States. It is put on by the Society of American Florists (www.saf.com).
I love competitions like this because it is a time for others to see what we as florists do daily: create something of beauty, with a limited amount of product, in a short amount of time. But an added benefit that we don’t often get is that there is no math in this phase of the competition, which is a rare delight in the life of a florist! It is also an opportunity to see how different people interpret a theme, and to see what techniques others are using.
The feedback from judges is given anonymously, and I have found it beneficial when I have competed in the past. The judges score you on a points scale in seven categories. The points are then added together for a final score out of 100 points possible. There is also additional room for judges to write in their own comments about your design. I have always learned something from my score sheet, and so have my fellow competitors. We all share a common ground of taking the risk and putting our art out there in front of everyone to judge. You are forever bonded with those who take such a risk.
Entering contests are an excellent way to exercise your design muscles, step out of your comfort zone, and learn more about yourself as an artist. I encourage fellow designers to enter competitions, not only for development of their art, but for the overall experience. which includes theme, mechanics, flower quality, aesthetic value, color, texture, balance, f