Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Working Designer Wednesday: Visiting Françoise Weeks’ Workshop

On July 1st, Laurie from Fleurie won the chance to attend a three day wedding workshop taught by Françoise Weeks at her enchanting studio on Portland, Oregon. I asked Laurie to document her trip and she did an amazing job of providing us with a glimpse into the magical world of Françoise Weeks. Get ready for a treat! Welcome Laurie…

Hi Botanical Brouhaha readers! It's Laurie, from Fleurie- flowers by L Garza. I was the lucky winner
in the drawing for the Francoise Weeks wedding workshop. My head is still in the clouds and
spinning with new ideas about my recent visit to her studio in Portland, Oregon. Upon meeting
Francoise, I knew I would have a wonderful three days of learning.

When I was notified of my win, I sat there for a few minutes, tears forming. My husband
came in the room, I managed to say I had won the drawing and was going to the workshop.
I had wanted to attend since I first started reading Françoise's blog and became fascinated with her
work. But, having a new business and other obligations, it wasn't going to be right away, it would
wait. I could wait until a better time. Someday. Well my someday came, and I couldn't have been
happier. Started making plans right away. My dear nephew sent me a coupon for a discounted plane ticket. Great! Next was lodging and transportation. I did an internet search for lodging close
to the studio. Bingo! 5 minutes walking distance. Very affordable room. No rental car needed! Now,
how to get there from the airport? Cab, hmmm, maybe. Public transportation? Not much experience
with that, but being frugal, I thought, why not? It turned out to be very easy to get to the B & B that
I chose. Many choices for food very nearby as well. A fun, safe and active neighborhood. A nice little
walk to the studio.

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My first peek into the studio on Day 1

The selection of plants, flowers and foliage was wonderful! The variety of materials to choose from
was more than I had ever seen in one place. Not only flowers, but plants, fruit, vegetables, wood,
bark, a bundle of green mossy sticks (which I may or may not have hugged at some point), lichen,
flats of succulents, seed pods, grasses and more.

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After getting to know the other students and our teacher a bit, Françoise went to work. We took
notes as she gave us many tips and tricks for being efficient with time, while still having a unique look.

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Using aspidistra leaves to cover a plain container, she used a template and a utility knife to make
even strips, then used Oasis glue to attach leaf sections.

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Another way to dress up an ordinary container. Francoise layered on mosses, lichen and thin
bark.

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She demonstrated using bark as a base for a woodland arrangement.

As she works, she shares so many tips for using ordinary containers, and covering them with layers
of leaves, mosses, bark, even artichokes! After several methods were demonstrated, we got to
choose what we would make for our project. I made a woodland floral arrangement with a hollow log attached to a pedestal.

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The sticks are contorted filbert. The flowers included Cockscomb Celosia, Dianthus, several
types of Eucalyptus seeds and blooms, Eryngium, Allium, Astrantia, and mushrooms.

After a lunch break, we were back to the studio to learn more valuable techniques and fun designs.

Several examples of quick centerpieces demonstrated were:

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…the living topiary, made with roses
and monarda, in a recycled container covered with moss, its base yet to be adorned…

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…a square glass
vase, with a terrarium effect, using small pieces of floral foam and rocks, with minimal flowers and
little bits of greenery (lower right)…

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…and another taller square vase, with fruit in the bottom, and a small round
cage holder for the flowers.

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Centerpiece

I fell in love with the paper thin bark that spills out from the front of the arrangement. It was just
such a pretty color, and seemed to go with everything. Add that to my list of must-haves.

To be continued…

Drop by tomorrow to hear about Days 2 & 3!

3 comments:

Chuck Graham said...

OMG! Amazing

Amanda Mae said...

Looks like such a great time! Thanks for documenting it! I am sooooo looking forward to seeing days 2 & 3. I've been keeping a very close eye on her online class schedule - I am eagerly waiting for 2012 classes to come up. Come January I'll have vacation time available again and I can think of no better vacation than spending a few days submersed in woodland floral gorgeousness! =)

Wildstyle Designs said...

So great to hear about this!!! I can't wait to read more tomorrow...