Monday, May 15, 2017

Mercedes Pilgrim - CCSF Featured Alumni

The Special Events class (RF 88) at City College of San Francisco was delighted to have Mercedes Pilgrim present a program on Wednesday, May 10th, 2017.  Mercedes is an alumni from the Retail Floristry Department at City College of San Francisco.  She was an award winning SAIFD member who competed on the college's floral design team.  Mercedes was an outstanding student in all aspects during her time in the department.  She also completed the European Master Certification program with Tomas De Bruyne and Hitomi Gilliam AIFD  Mercedes is now the Floral Department Manager at McCalls Catering & Events  McCall's is a leading catering and event management company located in the San Francisco Bay area that provides in-house floral and event design specialists.

Mercedes spoke about her career path beginning as a CCSF student and now working in the industry for several years.  She explained  the benefits and importance of freelancing for different event companies to keep busy, learn the business and eventually working with a regular team of designers.  She discussed the current wages in San Francisco for a freelance floral designer.  Mercedes described her current job operations from consultations and pricing to the logistics of setting up and striking an event.

Designing an elevated centerpiece for a themed event is each students final semester project. Mercedes presented many different themed designs the company does in popular venues through out the Bay Area. She explained the hot trend of "Futuristic Tech Events".  Her expertise inspired the students further for their final projects and gave them more insight into this type of designing.

Mercedes explained how this centerpiece has a mushroom shape which is currently popular with brides. The flowers are designed in a lomey designer dish that is attached on top of the vase.  The mechanics are floral foam, chicken wire and waterproof bowl tape.
Mercedes gave tips on  how to transport/deliver elevated arrangements by using mache containers upside down.  Then placing arrangement inside a custom wooden delivery box.  The arrangement is initially attached with floral clay to the mache.
The popularity and effectiveness of Illuminated designs was discussed and how this design works well for cocktail tables. 
Floating flowers are another quick and simple way to decorate an event.  The cymbidium orchids are inserted with 12 gauge aluminum wire and reinforced with decorative wire.
This Futuristic Event prop can be used  with or without flowers.
Themed centerpiece design for a fundraiser at the San Francisco Zoo.  Mercedes explained how the arrangement coordinated with the animal print linens on the guest tables.
"Yosemite National Park" themed centerpiece design.  Christmas greens, rocks, lichen branches, hydrangea, hypericum berries, feverfew and tiny clusters of waxflower are used to achieve the environmental look of that area.
Mercedes gave tips on making handtied bouquets and rubber banding them so the flowers don't fall out on delivery or set up.  She also discussed using waterproof faux greenery to cover the mechanics in a clear vase.  The faux greenery does not create bacteria and is reusable.
 Mercedes plans to attend the American Institute of Floral Designers National Symposium in July.  She was invited to test for their PFDE.  This is the on site process/step to become an AIFD member.  We applaud and congratulate her on the beginning of this great journey and all of her remarkable accomplishments.  Thanks Mercedes, for presenting and visiting us. We wish you great things with all your future endeavors.
Jenny Tabarracci AIFD