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Inspired To Inspire: Winter Botanicals

emc alumni floral design Oct 09, 2020

The story of a floral designer curating a book with global inspiration

With Julia Marie Schmitt AIFD, CFD, ICPF, EMC, PFCI

"An international collaboration of 19 floral designers, Winter Botanicals: Capturing the Spirit of the Season in Flowers is a beautiful pictorial instructional book.  Inspired by different cultures, geography and traditions, the expressions within these pages interweave the stories and passions of the floral artists through the medium of botanicals of the season.  Each design allows you to learn, in a step by step fashion, how to recreate the design as well as learn tips and techniques.  It will awaken your creativity to tell your stories with Winter Botanicals."



Julia Marie Schmitt is a dynamic and talented floral designer who started her career in the industry in 2008. Her passion and desire to grow let her to pursue an educational path in floristry and is now holding 5 international certifications from prestigious educational institutions: AIFD, CFD, ICPF, EMC, PFCI. Julia's presence on the international stages of different important floral events throughout the past five years is admirable and her beautiful personality transcends every project she takes on. 

With a 2020 calendar packed with travelling all around the world, Julia, as all of us, had to readjust to the new normal and the swipe off the initial plan of all the events she was supposed to participate in. She started devoting time to projects she dreamed of doing and curating a book was always on her bucket list.

"I think ever since I've been in the industry I’ve wanted to do a book as well. I had already been working with Florist Review on a couple of books that I took lead on as well. But I've always wanted to do something on my own and for this particular book, the idea came at the end of 2019, when it was still that time before Winter season.

I wanted to bring a whole international group on board and I had a vision of wanting this to be 100 instructional as I wanted it to be used as a teaching tool. I envisioned it so that people could see behind the designs and the one thing that I believed in strongly was it needed to be a pictorial so that you have the text and you have the pictures as well.

A lot of times the text is phenomenal, but even seasoned florists sometimes don't understand how differently people communicate their techniques. On that premises, by breaking the designs in  a step-by-step tutorial in pictures, in this book readers can physically see what the process was about so that they can recreate it if they wanted to recreate the design. Or if they wanted to go ahead and just do the techniques and just learn the techniques and apply them in their design style, the book also offers a lot of inspiration for that."

"The project started with a much larger group of designer who were invited to contribute, but as Julia says “we did loose some along the way, which is a normal attrition”. 19 floral designers, from various countries contributed to this process. I had been working with a lot of international designers over the last five to six years and I have learned so much from my interactions with other colleagues that I felt the book needed that international scope to achieve its educational purpose. So that's why I picked people from varying countries, to be able to represent the best I could the range of inspirational winter designs that are being done worldwide."

The book showcases all range of difficulty when it comes to mechanics, techniques and execution, from simple, yet stunning designs that one can replicate to more intriguing and time consuming inspirational pieces.

"There's a lot of people who want to dabble in flowers so those do you do it yourselfers they can still pick it up and it's clear that they can understand how to build something.

Some of the designs might be a little bit out too difficult, but we have the books designed for basically any design level. We have some more basic designs which still are beautiful and anybody can do and you can still pick up some interesting ideas and techniques too from the more complicated ones. Those do take a lot of time and showcase a lot of technique involved. We spanned the whole entire compass of creativity in floral design, so that anybody can learn something from the book."

The challenge for the contributing designers was to provide the pictorial tutorial, for a visual explanation of the design process, so that any florist, no matter the experience, can understand the HOW TO.

There are a lot of endeavours to take on when designing a book, Julia tells us and the whole process was a challenging experience. Winter Botanicals is a project that was 100% created by Julia and all off the artistic, as well as financial decisions were hers to make. It takes time, involvement and courage to  curate a book with so much added value. 

"This whole waiting process it's almost like giving birth. I've never had children, but I imagine it's in that range of feeling. One puts in so much time and effort and it's been in an incubation stage for months, almost a year, and then finally it's coming but there's nothing you can do from the time you release it to the printers and they printed it. You just wait and you wait and you are wondering what it is going look like and how's it going to be. The finally, when you open the book, it's an absolutely fantastic, unique experience in itself."

The challenges brought by this inspirational work are quite a few and certainly have taken Julia on a roller-coaster ride while working on building up the project, gathering the material, edit the book and as of now, since the book appeared, marketing it in the new normal style. This project is an inspirational book that proved flexibility, adaptability and perseverance are key to succeeding, even in these unclear times we live, that are constantly changing and influenced by factors out of our control. 

Congratulations, Julia! 

edited by Diana Toma, EMC


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