Inspirational storyAug 09, 2023
A Flourishing Journey in Floral Creativity
with Andra Iosipescu, student of EMC program
The efforts and dedication of our students are highly valued by the education team and the entire support staff. We understand the hard work that every student puts into their studies and personal growth, and we are committed to creating an environment where everyone feels appreciated and acknowledged. Each student brings their own strengths, passions, and growth to our program, and we deeply respect the commitment that everyone shows. We feature occasionally these stories on the blog to highlight the unique experiences and achievements of one student, hoping it becomes a source of inspiration for others as well.
Andra Fiser completed her Foundation course in 2022 and has recently completed her Practicum, clearly demonstrating that she is discovering the joy of challenging herself to ‘think outside the box’ and learning to express herself in her creativity, whilst almost establishing her own signature style at a relatively early stage. We are delighted that she has been willing to tell us a little of her story so far.
Looking back into my past, I think I know where it all began. The generation of Romanian kids of my age grew up in the countryside, together with their grandparents. I was one of these children. Every evening, my grandmother would take a moment to herself to look at her garden and to enjoy her flowers that she worked with during the day. My huge interest in agriculture started there. When the time came for me to go to college, I decided to study in the Faculty of Landscape & Architecture in Cluj-Napoca. Studying here was also the launch pad for me to discover the meanings and difference between trees, shrubs, and flowers. The semester devoted to floral art turned my whole life upside down! I even learnt how flowers can hydrate in a floral foam and so on. Romania, from a floristic point of view, is quite behind when it comes to floral art, techniques and education, and the application of knowledge. We are all really self-taught and we tend to discover by ourselves all the techniques, by applying basic principles and searching on Google for EVERYTHING! The Internet is the biggest help, but it has limits when it comes to information because what you find and read is not always correct. People should pay attention and make certain that what they are seeing is good practice when they apply and use what they read or watch on Google or other search engines.
Like myself, a lot of Romanians nowadays are eager to learn and study. They are thirsty for information, as was I, and this is how and why I started down this path of being guided by someone with real experience. Going back to the start of it all, in 2017 I and my best friend from childhood – Andreea, launched Brotherie – a floral shop designed for events and floral concepts, to which we added the floral gifts section when we moved to Sighisoara, in 2021. We decided on the name Brotherie as it comes from the word ‘brothers’ combined with ‘embroidery’ showing how we create beautiful stories with flowers and great descriptive words for the concepts!
Our business is based 10km from Sighisoara, in a very quiet house. We started from nothing and with no money. I wanted to create, to discover flowers, she wanted to develop her communication skills and be a planner, so we thought ‘Let’s do this together in our hometown!’ In our idealist world we could split work between the practical execution and management. But guess what? We quickly needed more hands than just the two of us, and we really needed a team to cover everything! In 2022 a new colleague arrived, Anca, who is also at the Filomena Flower School in Romania, and we all want to speak the same language of flowers! Now we are just like the AAA+ batteries!
This course is one of the very few things I have done just for myself in my entire life! I am quite a strong woman and almost always put others first, but I decided to do the EMC for myself, for my knowledge and creativity, and for my pleasure! Diplomas and documents mean nothing to me, but the knowledge and experience gained means a lot! I am quite ambitious, and I never quit when I start something, so I have to give zero chance to anyone to surprise me with information that I do not know – so I know I must study!
I must mention here that all this knowledge is important for me to apply to our daily work with floristry and floral design. I am not just going to national and international competitions and do floral art there. I want to apply everything to my own business!
I learnt about EMC from my colleague and good friend, Maria Bunea, and then I continued looking at EMC pages and other international florists’ pages connected to EMC. To be honest, I did my own research regarding floral design schools in Europe, and the only reason I could find against choosing the EMC was the fact that it was done online. The online life is a very different world for me. I am not an ‘online lady’ at all, so new tasks online and different forms of technology was a huge thing for me to consider! However, I did choose EMC, and once I had started it, I became more confident because the system and the application are really easy to handle. You can start and pause if you need to think twice about the information you get, in order to understand and memorise it. The Information and knowledge are very good. The section on colour is ‘wow’ but I still find this quite difficult. Perhaps after more practise I will find it easier to understand and work with. When I am asked about online courses these days, I totally recommend them, especially if the system has a good structure and you really want to learn!
I would like to say here that everything was made clear before I actually started! Any questions that I had were sent to Christi and the answers came back quickly and right on the topic! I love provocative tasks and being challenged! I never wanted to do school for ever but there are several reasons why I wanted to have a one-year break between the Foundation course and the Practicum.. I needed time to work with all the information, to understand how to apply it and to practise the application of it. My personal floristry style definitely changed, especially when it came to dimension and colour. I check the information each time I create a floral arrangement to make sure that I have chosen the colours correctly. Regarding Practicum, I felt that I was not producing my best work here. I can do more. Busy times in our floral shop, a full season of events, with all this I am proud of me and proud of my projects. I cannot say the same about the photos I took of them, but it is a continuous learning process! Diana gave me good advice to re-take the themes when I have more time and re-do the pictures as well. For sure the result will be different!
I am going in the right direction, I feel it! I feel no fear but only a big gap in my sleep, but I will continue. I will not lie! There have been times when I would have loved to have other botanicals more suitable for the themes that I was working on, but I did not want to buy many other species of flowers and get big invoices at the end of the month, as I had to think about my team resources as well. The funny thing is that each time I finished one theme I realised that those flowers were suitable for the next ones and so on. When it comes to the non-botanical materials we re-use a lot of things and through the EMC assignments I started to re-consider many forgotten objects in our floral shop and bring them back to life by using them in a different way.
One of the things that I have found very useful to me personally and to the business is the way EMC makes you consider the outcome first! You gain more time and lose less resources. It is better to think for two hours and create a concept, then do a plan, and only then start working! Of course, there are always the unknown parts where you may need to reconsider decisions, but then we find ways to solve the problems each time. This is the big advantage when you work in a team and you are not alone.
Before my learning more with EMC, I used to work with lots of flowers, but not as many non-botanicals. You can work with only one flower if you put it the spotlight! Now I try my best to add value to what I have in the flower shop. I use nature more and I try to find my inspiration from the environment and not from buying big quantity of flowers. I do lot of research for our events, finding inspiration from what other big florists do, plus adding what I have learnt from my EMC experience to this, to make something that is successful!
Practicum has been a real challenge! I still have minuses but practising daily is definitely the key to success! I couldn’t wait for the Wednesday evening calls when I was filling my head with the feedback coming from the EMC team! After the calls were finished, I would pass on the feedback I had received to my colleagues, so this was also very constructive! The Sympathy section had a wreath practical assignment and I completed mine by doing a funeral arrangement. It was a round one but not a wreath, because it had no hole in the middle 😊I have definitely learnt from making that mistake. The best part of the EMC team giving you feedback is that you can see your project with different eyes. I truly enjoyed it!
Regarding the Nomenclature mentor to whom I can refer, I must say that I have emailed only twice, and have not needed to be in touch with them more. I had list of resources from Keith from Foundation which I also found on the website and on Circle. I have bought the books and started to take inspiration and knowledge from them. They are really helpful for the future too! About Fran and Diana, they are an awesome team and great teachers. I took notes about every feedback they gave me, and also the feedback they gave my fellow student, Wael!
Both of them are very professional, very calm and understanding, but also they know exactly how to give helpful feedback about our assignments.
There is still a long way until I can consider myself a true floral designer! I believe that hard work and perseverance will give me good results and take me to the final destination of knowledge and creativity that I want to reach. I am not there yet but I will persist! We are born to want more, right?
I would love to do the Advanced course in 2023 too, but I had to prioritise events in which I want to take part. I have enrolled to take part in the Romanian Floristry Cup Competition that takes place in November 2023; so, from a financial point of view, I cannot do more for this year. But I am confident I will eventually do all that I want!
Finally, I would like to say how grateful I am to all of you because you have really opened my creative mind through this EMC Core Program!
Andra is one of those students who excel in EMC, first and foremost due to the way they embrace the program and trust the learning process. She joined fully determined to succeed and found her pace and ability to follow the curriculum for her own growth. And it totally shows in her designs as well!
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