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

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Leopoldo Gomez - Floral Interiorism

 Leopoldo Gomez is a renowned international teacher of Floral Design.  He is the co-founder of Centro de Arte Floral located in Mexico City which provides an in depth curriculum of floral design classes.   City College of San Francisco's Environmental Horticulture/Floristry Department and the American Institute of Floral Designers North West Region partnered together to host and coordinate an amazing program that featured this exceptional new talent who is rising quickly in the Floral Industry.  The program was sponsored by the Master Florists Association, City College of San Francisco, United Wholesale Flowers and Accent Decor, Inc.   Many thanks to these wonderful industry sponsors for the beautiful fresh product, unique containers and supplies.
Floral Interiorism was the program topic which is described as "Creating multi-use designs that your customers can enjoy again and again.  Leopoldo explored this topic using his striking color palettes, vivid combinations of textures and masterfully-crafted armatures and structures.  Many of Leopoldo's designs are influenced and inspired by the culture of Mexico where he lives. 
The stunning Aura Planter from Accent Decor, Inc. above was used for a featured design in the program. Wooden dowels were inserted and glued into styrofoam and then floral foam was placed on top for the water source.  Emil Yanos AIFD assisted by creating a band of woven raffia to compliment the texture of the planter.  Leopoldo completed the design by adding gorgeous snowball viburnum harvested from the department gardens.
Susan Ishkanian AIFD glued, stacked and layered beautiful Wood Slices from Accent Decor, Inc.  The green vase was used as a mold to create the shape for this unique container.
Water tubes are wired to structure for the water source. 

Susan and SAIFD student Jungwa Han created water tubes from hot wax and then added crayons for striking color effects.

Leopoldo completed the design with stunning materials provided by United Wholesale Flowers, Repetto Nursery, Blossom Valley Floral, Inc. and Mt. Eden Floral Company.  Thank you sponsors!!
SAIFD student Dahee Han gluing marbles on a glass mold to create a unique container.
Water tubes are hot glued inside for water source. 
Leopoldo creates dancing flowers. 
CCSF Alumni Imelda Iraeta created a container designed with Leopoldo's custom chicken wire technique.  This was achieved by twisting and shaping bale wire. The Reclaimed Wood Base is from Accent Decor's collection.  Orchid grass was adhered with wood glue to complete the container.
Water tubes covered with orchid grass and gold wire is the technique for the water source.  Tubes were glued into container with oasis glue.

 SAIFD student Sohyun Kwak assisting with Leopoldo's creation.  Pencils were used to achieve order in disorder.
Leopoldo explaining above the mechanics for his design concept.  Attendees worked in groups for the hands on part of the program.
Attendees enjoying working together on the group projects.  Great learning atmosphere. The Riva Tray by Accent Decor was use as a water source and base to this design.  12 gauge aluminum wire was used to bind birch branches together. 
Leopoldo explaining a group project using galax leaves and a Reclaimed Hollow Stump from Accent Decor's collection.  Holes were drilled into four large dowels then galax leaves were wired with binding wire and inserted into holes.   Water tubes with flowers were added.
Great job Ruth, Grace and Armando!

Design created with bale wire, newspaper and water tubes.

Technique using nails, yarn and water tubes.

Attendees learning lots of new techniques.
Christmas ornaments covered with pine shavings and used as a decorative water source.

City College Student So-yeon Kim creating one of Leopoldo's designs by gluing tiny branches into flat cane.
Many thanks to Leopoldo, Sponsors, Steven Brown AIFD, Katie McCormick AIFD, AIFD NW and all assistants for making an amazing program come to life.  You and the attendees created the most wonderful learning environment. I wish great things for you in our industry!! 
Jenny Tabarracci AIFD


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Accent Decor Inspires Floristry Students

Best Overall Composition awarded to Armando de Loera Mejia

The fall semester at City College of San Francisco ended with an exciting and inspirational floral design competition in the special events class.  We were thrilled and excited to collaborate with Accent Décor  on this fun and challenging project.  Accent Décor provides such diversity and beauty to our industry with their vast selection of vases, containers and all the must haves for styling and decorating in the design world.  I highly encourage you to visit their website and blog.  It's a great resource to see what's trending in the industry.

The students were assigned to create a floral arrangement in the Accent Décor  Lush Vase 6" x 7" shown below. The style and materials used for the arrangements were Designers Choice.  The designs had to include some type of floral material and must be deliverable.  The students were able to completed the designs at home and bring to the classroom for judging.  Steven Brown AIFD (Department Chair of Environmental Horticulture/Floristry) judged the competition.  There were seven categories that the students were judged on:  Best Overall Composition, Best Use of Color, Best Artistic Inventiveness and Originality ("Creativity"), Best Use of Container, Best Sellable Appeal, Best in Trending, and Best Production Design.  The categories were chosen to go along with some of the topics that were taught through out the semester.  The competition was held on November 19th, 2016 at City College of San Francisco and 20 students participated.

 I explained ways to begin this creative process, showed sources for inspiration and emphasized the importance of mechanics.  I demonstrated a sample for a point of reference and encourage the students to explore their own style. The students had a chance to experiment with the vase and develop their ideas weeks before the competition.  We critiqued and collaborated as a class on many options for each student before the competition.  Below is the demo and the construction process that was presented to the class.   I explained how the demo design could fall into any of the competition categories.
Styrofoam, banking pins and magnolia leaves used for construction of  demo design.
Finished demo design by Jenny Tabarracci AIFD using floral foam as the water source for first layer of fresh materials.  First layer of materials were designed in a curved fashion around the perimeter of  styrofoam with stems inserted into foam initially.   Mini cymbidium orchids and pepper berries were then glued to construction.  Angle hair was woven in the design for light contrasting accents.
 Sohyun Kwak practicing her design.
 Diane Graham practicing her design.
Minna Lim practicing her design.
Class at San Francisco Flower Market selecting their design product.  Many thanks to Roy from Brannan Street Wholesale for all his expertise and support!!

Julia loving the San Francisco Flower Market!

Steven Brown Department Chair of  Environmental Horticulture/Floristry judged the competition.  Steven scored each students arrangement and then gave results to instructor/coordinator Jenny Tabarracci AIFD.  Steven announced the results to patiently waiting students.  Students received monetary awards and ribbons.  Congratulations to all the students!!  Below are the results of all competition categories.
Junghwa Han received the award for Best Use of Container
So Yeon Kim received award for Best Artistic Inventiveness and Originality ("Creativity")

Victor Castillo received award for Best Sellable Appeal
Joana Ferran received award for Best in Trending

Katsiaryna Baradauka received award Best Production Design

Luciana Soares Da Silva Edwards received award for Best Use of Color

Armando de Loera Mejia received award Best Overall Composition
   Design by Youbin Kim
Design by Minna Lim
Design by Julia Conner
Design by Grace De Guzman
Design by Sohyun Kwak
Design by Diane Graham
Design by Irasema Carranza
Design by Ron Castagnetti
Design by Qian Chen
Design by Dahee Han
Design by Ying Gu Pressman
Design by Celia Hamilton

Congratulations to everyone on an outstanding job!  So proud of you all.  I know this was the first competition experience for many of you and remember it's just a learning experience that you can grow from.  I hope it inspired you to design more and maybe even enter a competition or show.  It was a pleasure being your instructor and watching you grow through the process.  Many thanks to Accent Décor for providing their wonderful containers, resource materials and beautiful bags.  Thanks to Steven Brown AIFD for his leadership, expertise and judging the competition.  Also thank you Katie Gelardi for providing many of the beautiful photos.  Happy Holidays to all and hope to see you in the 2017 spring semester.