For the Chinese state visit to the UK, the Academy of Floral Art went through the famous doors of No 10 Downing Street to dress some tables in readiness. The British Floristry Association (BFA), were recently approached by No 10 offering the opportunity for Floristry students to design something special for the Chinese visit.

Academy of Floral Art Students outside No 10

Academy of Floral Art Students outside No 10

The BFA then decided upon asking the students of the Academy of Floral Art by democratically pulling the School’s name out of a hat. Tina Parkes, one of the schools Directors visited No 10 last week to hear the brief and ascertain the number of arrangements required and while she was there was given a private tour by Mr Robert Alexander OBE and Carol Kempton who is head of internal events at Downing Street.

The students that delivered the designs to No 10, were Victoria Lawrence-Turner and Caitlin Anning who are both in the UK final of the World Skills competition and Dao Thorne and Jacalyn Dobson, who are level 4 City & Guild students at the Academy. However, the whole of the Level 4 class took part in the planning of the arrangements, deciding to create seasonal designs using British grown flowers and the colours red, orange and yellow which are considered lucky and auspicious in China.

Academy Students at West Town Farm

Choosing the Pumpkins at West Town Farm, Ide

Among the ten different designs created, the brief required small items for the table that could be moved easily. The students decided to use pumpkins and the smaller gourds as seasonal containers for their designs. They visited West Town Farm in Ide, Devon to choose organically grown pumpkins and gourds of various shapes and colours filling them with flowers from BJ Richards, a British Flower Grower in Cornwall, and incorporating all the latest floral techniques to add interest.

In the classroom preparing the pumpkins.

In the classroom preparing the pumpkins.

The Academy of Floral Art welcomes the opportunity for their students to design for such prestigious events and are now looking forward to the UK World Skills final this November.

Some of the Pumpkin designs.

Some of the Pumpkin designs.

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