A student's perspectiveMar 14, 2023
Expand your creative horizons
Sofia Castignano - Switzerland, EMC student
Before every Foundation Course launch we encourage the florists who reach out to us to hop on a call with a member of the Educational Team of EMC in order to clarify all questions that might arise before joining the program. I remember Sofia and myself had that call and her enthusiasm was catchy just as her curiosity was to the roof. Besides the logistic related discussion we had, I could tell by the end of the conversation that Sofia was keen of jumping on the journey to unleash her creative potential, fully understanding that the EMC program is actually very much dependent on the personal and professional effort one decides to commit to.
During the past months, Sofia has been part of the Foundation Course and Practicum course, which she finished successfully by showcasing weekly assignments that really showed her growth as a designer. There's still a lot to take in and her journey is not over yet, as preparing for the Advanced Course that takes place in Brugge is an effort in itself, but we are all looking forward to see her succeed along side all the other students we have had who are eligible to join the final part of EMC. Sofia was willing to talk to us about how she perceives this entire experience so far and although it's still a long way from being over, we can see the determination and dedication she devoted to being and EMC student has paid off just by the change of mindset.
"This entire journey so far is like a roller coaster of emotion, and I mean that int he best way possible. You have to do a lot, you have to think a lot, you have to study a very comprehensive curriculum. In the beginning I had a few weeks where I really felt the struggle and I could feel that something was not working as good as I expected, as I didn’t know how to process everything that was coming. I took it step by step, though and now I am so much more confident in how I approach designing. I am sure that the insecurities I had in the beginning were vey much anchored in the fact that I don’t own a flower shop and I was working only from home, so the logistics were a little bit unfavourable for taking such a task. But I made it work.
I am fortunate to be able to commit to the program 100& and when I joined EMC I made a decision to not work during the weeks that I was engaged in the learning process. I am now in the process of building a little atelier for myself, which I started from zero. The lack of materials that I experienced in the beginning is no longer and issue and truthfully, taking part in this EMC experience has helped me sort out what I need to work on in this aspect as well, not just the designs themselves.
For the Foundation class I really was very lucky because the management of 5 starts hotel I work for was kind enough to offer me always the leftover flowers that they had after set-ups and because the curriculum is so focused on the theory in Foundation, I was able to execute my assignments without being so stressed about procuring the flowers. This situation though, as I was progressing, has also shown me how important it is to be able to see potential in materials but also to make decisions before and stick to them. The whole concept of designing with an outcome in mind started to make sense.
By the time I started Practicum I was already focused on a different approach and decided to go for the flowers I need, and not settle with what I can get for free. And it’s not like I have unlimited availability or that I wasn’t paying attention to the budget I invest, but choosing my flowers knowing what I have to design beforehand was a game-changer. I am now looking for colour, texture, lines in a botanical, rather than focusing on one particular flower and I can really see the change in my designs. Even when I purchase my flowers for the assignments, I find it so easy to drop one if it’s too expensive and figure out quick solutions to replace the elements I am looking for, because I know what I am doing beforehand.
Going from Foundation to Practicum I knew I had to raise my level and that mindset was what I needed. I really engaged in the concept of first sketching, analysing, seeing potential and only afterwards executing and the results are so much better. The works I put out, I am in control of them, and that feeling is amazing.
The challenges that I came across, I always found it very easy to talk about them during the Zoom calls we have on a weekly basis with the teachers and coaches. It’s a great space for me to address issues regarding the learning process and the feedback is always valuable. Now, during Practicum, it’s even better because we each have a personal mentor and gives me a new perspective over the process. All of the support the program offers, through the videos, the printable material, which is a lot, and the live input from the educational team really helps to make this experience a great one.
I was also very happy with how the theoretical curriculum is built up, how every concept is very well defined from a logical and practical perspective. This really makes it easy to learn and dive into details. I was familiar with some of the terminology from the floristic schools I have attended previously in Switzerland, but the true meaning of things I didn’t feel I was confident in before EMC. Here everything is taken to another level so in a sense, although I knew the names of certain elements and principles of design, I had to re-learn everything from a different perspective. Sometimes it is really really hard to change something that you have learned before and it takes commitment and practice, which is why the constant repetition during each week of the Course was so important for me. It really helped.
The main difference I noticed between the education I had before and EMC lies in the way I am able to think for myself. Yes, I am learning rules of design here, but I am never pushed into following patterns or creating pieces in a certain specific way. Rather, I am encouraged to find reason and rationality in the way I learn, I am pushed to take control of my design process and I feel very free in engaging in creative decisions that help me find my own style. That was so important to me.
EMC for me it's another level because although the program is as strict as you make it for yourself, there is no restriction in creativity. The course guides you through the learning process and week by week you can feel you are growing. I was really searching for something new to do in my floral career and I am very happy with the decision I made to follow the EMC program."
Sofia Castrignano, EMC student
The EMC mission states YOUR KNOWLEDGE – YOUR SUCCESS – OUR PASSION. We put passion into designing a complex curriculum, an outstanding learning process, and amazing guidance through it, but ultimately, EMC is all about YOU. EMC is your immense effort, you having to step out of your comfort zone, you reaching your infinite potential as a floral designer, your signature style, your growth, your hard work, your creativity pushed forward, your designs lifted, your success story, and your own personal experience enhanced.
blog by Diana Toma, EMC
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