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EMC and Lehner Wolle teams meet up

emc designer floral education trends May 23, 2022

Explosion of Creativity in Austria

Every year, the EMC educational team endeavour to go on a trip to reconnect and strengthen the underlying principles of why we teach as we do and to remember the core purpose of our educational work.  It was with that in mind, we visited the Lehner organisation site in a beautiful part of Austria, just as the spring flowers started to come out.

After more than two years that have been very challenging for everyone, choosing to visit this particular company could not have been more successful. Speaking of Lehner and its wool production cannot be just about the products. It has to include the whole ethos behind the company. It is a family business, with its products unique in both quality and originality; and since its inception has effectively practised the principles of sustainability; constantly researching for new elements, aspiring to growth and expansion, whilst maintaining its original fundamental perspective.

The family business is run today by Felicitas Lehner, her husband, and her daughter, Miri. However, the family feeling is extended to include, like the heart that is part of its logo, the entire team of people who work for the company.  It is a team that, like our own EMC family, embraces and demonstrates the importance of the diversity of all those involved, because being diverse means we grow. The mix of different generations, different cultural backgrounds, different ways of thinking and living, whilst believing in a common project that brings us together and we work with a shared passion towards a common goal. 

In the words of our EMC coaches:

My personal experience from the moment I arrived at Lehner Wolle was seeing how organised the company is and how well they treat their employees, it’s a family-run business that makes everyone feel that they are part of the family.” Jorge Uribe

“I knew this company was extraordinary based on that first collaboration. I experienced it first-hand the moment Felicitas Lehner welcomed the EMC Education team at Vienna Airport. Meeting the Lehner family and employees, touring the facility, working with the products, and witnessing the ingenuity provided inspiration.” Patti Bowman

They work with natural fibres, showing a deep respect for the environment from which the resource comes, as well as ensuring sustainability is considered in each step of the production chain and this is fundamental to their philosophy.  This is something that we were able to experience from the first day when we had the privilege of touring the facilities.  We witnessed the amazing transformation from the initial product, the wool which still retained some of the hay entangled in it, following the step-by-step process, with the same delicate care usually shown in handmade work, until it becomes exclusive felts with patterns, unique textures, wool with wires inside, through to colours and combinations that exceed even your wildest dreams.

“The chance to see how it was made was extraordinarily exciting and added to my admiration and respect for the brand. I wasn’t aware of how sustainably-made their products are, and was very impressed that it is a way of life for their company.  To be able to see how  sustainability and quality are key to Lehner products has given me a whole new level of respect and admiration for them. Now I know why no other wool products have appealed to me the way Lehner Wolle has.” Keith Stanley

As Keith mentions, admiration and respect is what, I am clear, we were all agreed on after the tour. Respect for the seriousness and commitment of each member in each of the links in the production chain, with all sharing the same passion and professionalism.

In the words of Diana Toma, EMC coach: “I was most impressed by the amount of technical and business creativity that is involved in the process of creating such a product line.  Lehner Wolle truly walks the talk. Every decision they make  has to support the sustainability concept. All that is happening at the premises of the company gives a constant feeling of well-being. It’s truly what a successful family business should feel like”.

Without a doubt, what allowed us to live a week of intense and true synergy was that characteristic that both Lehner and EMC have in common, the constant creative disposition of such strength that it allows us to challenge ourselves all the time to see the potential in everything we do.

I speak of synergy as that force that is generated by acting together, with the result being, in collaboration, so much greater than the sum of its individual results. This is precisely what happened during our days at Lehner. We overlap, EMC and Lehner, converging in this special environment; each of us from differing areas of development but directed on a common, creative process. With the same open mindset and the focus on perceiving and achieving the greatest potential possible in every aspect. This allowed us, without any doubt, to have a fluid and prolific sense of cooperation. Having already immersed ourselves in their products and production process, we got down to work to integrate both worlds. It was time to incorporate our flowers, with their beauty and colour, into the equation, finding the best way to make each element shine.

In the words of Jorge Uribe: “I was blown away by the diversity of colours, patterns, textures, and designs that help your creativity go far and beyond, discovering new ways to implement their products, blending them with flowers, foliages and natural elements.”

If one thing became very clear to us, it was that the naturalness of the wool, and its aesthetic and functional characteristics, are a perfect match when designing with flowers.

In this task, each one of us experienced his or her personal challenge.  As Sherene said, “I am used to getting my inspiration from Nature, using botanical materials in my designs. When we were asked to create a floral  design showcasing the wool products, the first thing that came into my mind was how could I incorporate wool into my nature-inspired design. Understanding that all the wool products at Lehner Wolle are natural, including the dye used for the wool, I was able to design with ease as I knew I did not have to design at the expense of giving up my nature-inspired design style.”

Within this truly creative explosion, our guides were the trends set by Lehner which, it is not a surprise to know, coincided with those that we ourselves have established from our area of floral design. With both sets of trendsetters working together, you can already imagine the result! Each and every one of the designs we created, both individually and as a team, were the result of all the similarities that we had found during our collaboration. Each one of us from the EMC team, each member of the Lehner team, each person who made us feel so comfortable and warm during our stay and gave us the ideal atmosphere in which to create, were decisive factors in the undoubted success of this adventure.

If we can guarantee anything from this trip, it is that by learning from each other, we are definitely stronger and better!

blog by Francisca Perez

photos by Jorge Uribe


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