Floral Design Day was Feb. 28th.
It seems like just yesterday that Gov. Weld proclaimed ”Floral Design Day,” in 1995. It’s been fifteen years. Although there have been many changes in our society the course of time has not altered certain ideals and lessons……
My concept behind Floral Design Day was to celebrate a special birthday of my Dad, Carl Rittner.
Before my folks started Rittners Floral School, the mainstream way of learning floral art was through lengthy and unpleasant apprenticeship approaches. Dad introduced the application of modern educational techniques and theory to teaching floral designing as an art form over sixty years ago.
Looking at it with advanced degrees in education of my own, I am amazed at just how far ahead of their time Dad and Mom were….
What better way to celebrate Carl Rittner, than to also celebrate the art form that he loved so much…..Flowers and art were always such an intricate part of our family life. Floral design theory and floral industry issues were just as much a part of dinner conversation as the local or national news…..
Today an oddball economy, an increasingly complex distribution chain and all kinds of changes in our lifestyles due to technology and social changes are the norm…..and challenge floral designers…..
Yet the natural beauty of flowers is still as strong as ever. Their design can can be both intricate and incredibly satisfying….. And there is still a difference between a floral designer who really knows what s/he is doing, and the hobbyist who is simply dropping a few stems into a vase.
Floral art remains an incredibly vital and dynamic way to express feelings and to shape space and create atmosphere. Important events in our life such as courtship and marriage and the various holidays of the year, rely upon floral design to make them extra special.
An impressive body of knowledge has been accumulating, proving empirically that flowers are not just a luxury. Indeed, they have very tangible benefits for human well being such as decreasing anxiety, reducing depression, and making people feel so much better.
At Rittners Floral School we have found that even the process of learning floral designing can be therapeutic in its own right…..
There is an increased realization that many very different styles, approaches and techniques found in floral designing can not only co-exist but be equally valid. At Rittners Floral School in Boston, we find that floral designing that was done thousands of years ago, (eg. floral crowns) floral designing done hundreds of years ago ( eg.The round tight bouquet of flowers with the stems) and floral art that is literally cutting edge (eg. water based designing with flowers under the water level), can and should co-exist for people have different tastes and needs.
My folks left me with many lessons that I live with each day. They never put excessive efforts into self promotion, believing that most of your energies should be aimed at creating the finest learning experiences possible for your students, not in self aggrandizement.
The many lessons that I learned guide me constantly. Here are just a few…. Provide folks the kind of courses that you would provide for family and friends …..Teaching floral art is not just an “extra” or a sideline. It is a passion that deserves your finest effort…..Use every new technology creatively in teaching but never let the technology become more important than the content…..Keep evolving both as a floral designer and as an educator……Try the new stuff, but just because it’s new doesn’t mean it’s better…..Always keep a perspective… And most importantly always keep a sense of humor!
For these lessons and many more, a profound sense of thanks to Carl and Eunice Rittner mentors as well as parents…….. And Happy Floral Design Day!