I love flowers.
Not in the “I’d love my boyfriend to buy me flowers” way, no no. I love picking up a bunch of newly bound daffodils for £1 in the supermarket from the second I spot them on the shelves, I love scouring Tynemouth Market for the “flower lady” who makes the most elegant bouquets and wraps them in the dusky pink newsprint of the Financial Times. I love wandering around National Trust gardens and admiring their clever displays and dragging my feet past Fenwicks’ resident florist Diana Kaye’s on Newcastle’s Northumberland Street so I can stop and take in each and every display…
I think you get the picture.
As much as I love flowers, I’ve struggled to find anywhere that will let me loose with some florist’s foam and a pair of scissors at a Flower Arranging Workshop. In between half day professional courses for £250 and sitting at the kitchen table arranging some supermarket bouquet into something a little more er, interesting I began to get annoyed at the lack of amateur-total-beginner-don’t-laugh-if-i’m-rubbish floristry workshops here in the North East.
The only consistent workshops that came up in my Google search were Floristry Workshops for £25 a session at TyneMet College. The website isn’t very informative, and I was passed from pillar to post when I tried to ring up and nervously ask if it was the kind of thing for me. Eventually though, I managed to enroll myself on one of their 2 hour early evening courses and set off for a 4.30pm start, unsure of quite what to expect.
Flourish is the college’s on-site florist and classroom space. While it wasn’t the Pinterest/Instagram vision I’d daydreamed of, it was spacious, well-equipped and smelled divine. We met our teacher (who’s name I’m afraid evades me) and I sat next to my fellow students eager to listen and learn.
I’m not shy, and it didn’t bother me at all that I was the youngest here by 10 years or so, the three ladies I sat with were lovely and spoke very highly of similar workshops at the college they’d been to before. We were taken through two designs by our teacher and given a bucket each with the relevant “ingredients” and let loose. The two hours absolutely raced by, I was pretty disappointed to see it was 6pm already.
Difficulty of workshop: 3/5
Other than a few nifty wire twisting tactics and some leaf folding guidance, I could do everything that was asked of me.
Quality of teaching and materials: 5/5
Our teacher was so friendly and helpful, she was more than happy to answer all of our questions (including the age-old “how did you become a florist?” All of the materials supplied were plentiful, fresh and intriguing – such as our unusual “Miss Piggy” roses.
Value for money: 5/5
For £25, we got 2 hours’ worth of teaching, all of the materials supplied and got to take everything home.
Other than adding a glass of wine and some nibbles into the mix, I found the workshop incredibly relaxing and I’m really glad I signed up. There are monthly workshops held at the college (see more here), I only wish they were weekly! I had so much fun it made me want to do it every day.
My two completed designs – not bad for a beginner!!