Floral design can be fun and whimsical, a fulfilling pastime. Designing with flowers makes you feel good! It’s calming and produces results that satisfy the maker, a product and a happier attitude that can be shared with others.
It is also scholarly, with roots in the humanities, science, agriculture, art and design. Floral design is a decorative art. It offers another way of exploring design principles and elements present in interior design, architecture, landscape architecture, apparel and more.
As a profession, it has few rivals because florists create objects of great beauty and meaning. Putting a big smile on the face of a bride or comforting a bereaved family gives a deeply satisfying feeling to a successful florist. Flowers are expressive and are able to convey emotions not easily expressed. The business of floristry is not simple. Indeed, it can be exhausting and new businesses can easily succumb to financial failure. Those with a head for business and eye for design, along with marketing acumen and respect for horticultural science can do very well.
In my 38-year career, I have explored professional floristry (design, management), floral design teaching in higher education, marketing, product development, judging/evaluating, and publishing. As a high school student, I started a floral business in our family’s home. Since then, I’ve traveled throughout the US and Canada teaching floral design. Exhibitions and demonstrations in Korea and France are some of my career highlights and the journey is not finished.
I have developed and implemented the first floral design certificate program ever in Cooperative Extension with the Mississippi State University Extension Service. A Laureate Member of the American Institute of Floral Designers, in 2016 I was honored with the Award of Distinguished Service to the Floral Industry. Only 36 professional florists have been bestowed this honor.
My teaching style is lively, full of helpful tips, commentary and action. I am at home in museum settings, wholesale floral companies, garden clubs and wherever people are interested in flowers. I am an expert in American floristry as well as 19th century floral design. I have been a consultant and designer for The New Orleans Museum of Art, George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum, Springfield, Massachusetts, and numerous museums, corporate and private clients.
I reside in Coastal Mississippi and Louisiana, and am interested in delivering programs beyond home. Meaningful content that provides audiences with enriching messages is more important to me than the fee. Let’s talk.
Education and Experience
- Ph.D., Agricultural and Extension Education, Mississippi State University. Extensive research in 19th century floral design.
- M.S., Agricultural Education, The Ohio State University. Extensive research in retail florists educational needs.
- B.S., Horticulture, The Ohio State University
- A.A.S., Floral Design and Marketing, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute.
- Research fellowships, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC; Winterthur, Wilmington, Delaware. Extensive research in 19th century floral containers and decorative arts.