Back to Blog

Let's talk about where are you at in your creative journey?

floral design floral education Jul 04, 2022

Introduction into the 5 stages of floral design

With Tomas De Bruyne, lead instructor at EMC 

What kind of designer are you? Where do you want to go? Where are you at, in your floral design journey? What is the next goal for you?

I also asked the question myself because I wanted to become better. I wanted to challenge myself and I asked myself ... "Do you feel like you've been growing in the last year or not?"  "Do you believe that you can become better than you are?" Well, if you are asking yourself those questions, you already are. And I'm asking them because we tend to put somebody else, or ourselves sometimes, in two or three categories: the EXTREMES! 


We must know where we are before we can progress and grow!

The purpose of this lecture is to introduce you to the 5 stages of floral design and build up an understanding around the concept. As I have said, one must know where he or she stands in the present in order to progress and grow in the future. You have those people who are the designers that are not that good flower-wise and colour-wise. And you can tell they're not really that good because you realise that you are not really looking at their work or being inspired by them. We also see designers who make us think: "Gosh, how did they do that?". They always have new ideas, they create stunning designs and their colour combinations are so cool that it borders on magic. How do they do it?

These are exceptional situations, the extremes of creativity. There is a whole range of stages in between these two categories that most of the designers actually fall into. 

Where do you position yourself between those contrasts of being an expert or being a novice?

What is your creativity level?

What is your state of knowing?

Knowing is knowledge with experience. To explain it better, I will give you an example to which I am sure many of you can relate to: if you are at an event, and you have a problem, you don't have to look in your notes to see how you should solve this problem. You've already been there and solved the problem or a similar one. That there is a good example of what makes the difference between knowledge and knowing

What is your level of intention? 

How far do you want to go from here? 

What is your level of action?

Because we all say we are creative and we seem to use that term so often in an inappropriate manner because actually, creativity should be a verb. Creativity is action. One cannot simply be creative. You have to act with creative intent in order for creativity to exist within you. And I truly believe that each person has a spark of creativity in them, it's just a matter of choice and actions that follow whether that spark turns into a fire or not. 

What is YOUR attitude to creativity? 

You know that several of your past activities, experience, knowing, gives you the creativity you have today. I'm going to ask you something more: can you remember the day that you decided to be creative?

Well! I can, I made a conscious decision to be creative, and I remember that moment. I said, I must be more creative. I must search for more opportunities. I must come up with solutions because this is actually a problem. I want to overcome the problem so that it's not a problem anymore, I want to deal with it as a challenge. It may be that such decisive moments in your creative life are not necessarily pointed out to a precise time, like it happens in my case, but if you really think about it with an open mind, you should be able to realize when they have occurred, more or less, based on your actions.If you can spot a change in your behavior towards floral design, if you stepped out of what you were doing in the beginning and started to constantly invest time and energy, dedication and work into becoming better, it most likely means you have had such a tipping point moment in your creative life as well. 

There are only three elements that stop us from growing. Only three elements, that hold us back from being more creative, to become better in what we are, but also in what we do... to become better in our own creativity.

1. The Body and The Mind

The mind says, ‘I don't have the skills or maybe, you know what, maybe it's not the best time or maybe, you know what, it's not my cup of tea’. You come up with excuses all the time to postpone or not do it.

Although, you know, you can do it, but you are more in the closed mindset rather than the open mindset. The notions of closed and open mindset are very relevant so I recommend you get familiar with them. 

In a challenging situation, the closed mindset says, it's a problem, we will not be able to solve it. An open mindset says "I admit it's a very, very difficult challenge but, as a creative person, I will come up with a solution. I don't know how on the top of my head, don't ask me right now but come back to me in ten minutes." This is what I do all the time. When I do events, there are always problems. Believe me, everybody wants to do events, but you must be fully aware that problems will occur, and action will be needed. You must really be able to say, okay, you know what - that is something that we're going to solve. If, and when we have an issue, I always say to my people, "give me ten minutes". They go away and they know after ten minutes, they come back, and I will say 'got it', we're going to do this, this, and this. That's a whole different way of thinking, you look for opportunities. You look for possibilities instead of saying, or allowing, your mind and body to say, ‘no, not for me’. 

2. The Environment

Secondly, and it is also important, is the ENVIRONMENT in which you are working with the people around you.Who and what are your neighbours, your colleagues, and your peers? Do they have the same mindset? Are they open-minded as well? Are they pushing you towards growth? 

The people that you surround yourself with are important. It is proven that to grow you have to surround yourself with like-minded people. 

3. Time

Number three, I have already mentioned a little bit is TIME! We always try to find excuses. We say, ‘we don't have time’. ‘It's a too busy period’. ‘I must focus myself on something else’. You know what? What is your priority? Time to me is a big one. And yes, time is free. We use it like a free element, but you know what? Time is so precious. You have to select, and you have to choose your priorities according to your time. 

I am going to tell you a story to better exemplify the way these three factors I have talked about come into play. In January 2022, I was doing an event in Pakistan, and we had huge problems. We had problems with the welders, the structures were not finished or the ones that were finished were wrongly welded. I am telling you, we had huge problems. About as huge as the event was. One of the most important pieces for the design concept was not ready and the welder admitted it will not be finished, in a sense kind of giving up on the project. In that moment, my mind could say: "well, it is what it is, we cannot solve this".  Instead, my question was: "what is not possible for you?" I was analysing their problem. They said, ‘we have no time’. I said, ‘okay, we're going to find a solution’. Instead of completing 100% of the construction, we only completed 70% of the construction. I have to say, those were pretty heavy moments, because we were tired. That is when the environment comes in and I always choose my team carefully. I'm so fortunate to work with the best possible people. My team came to me and said "Tomas, you know what, we'll not go to bed. We will not sleep. It will happen. It is possible!!!" You know what I mean? The environment was really lifting me up. I was tired. I needed that support. I needed those people around me. We communicated back to the welders that we could finish! We believed in it! There was very little time because at 6:00 PM the next day it had to be finished, but we made it work. So that is how we do it as a conscious creative! We do what we can do! We envision what we can do and we analyse the reality of the situation, we see potential and make the impossible possible.

What is my motivation to go from one level to the next level, to uplift myself?

The first thing to overcome is fear. The fear is - if I do not put myself on the next level, what will happen? I might go out of business. I might lose my business because I could not compete anymore with my colleagues, with my competition. I need to do something. That's the first point. Then there is the fear of putting myself on stage because people will say, you know, he or she is fake. You feel uncomfortable, so your self-confidence is low. 

On the other side is the desire. The desire to, to learn more, to grow the joy, the love of what you do. If you have the desire, and the fear, both are good, both are factors that influence you and you need to nurture the energy that comes from them into taking you in the right direction: growth. Do not question yourself!

In the next lectures I am going to talk about the five different types of designers, and I am going to analyse the designer types according to the language that people use for talking and communication. I am going to talk about how that person works with nomenclature, and with their medium: the botanicals. I am going to say how that person approaches techniques and mechanics because this aspect hugely influences the work. If I talk to people and I ask some questions, I know exactly, in one second, what level in the design stages that person is at. If I talk with somebody who is a skilled designer or a conscious creative, the answers will be different to those of somebody who is an everyday designer. I am going to talk about colour because colour is one of the strongest visual impacts or languages we have on this planet. The approach and how a conscious creative works with colour is so different. The conscious creative will use it at its full potential. A novice or an everyday florist will use it because it is beautiful.  We also talk about emotion. cWhat kind of emotion is it and how can we translate it? How can we do this? 

The purpose of these lecture blogs is to get you familiar with the five stages of growth in a floral designer, to shed some light over the journey you are on and help you realise where you are at and what you need to do to improve your creative growth. 

Interested in diving into each stage of floral design and discovering where you are at. Follow the EMC blog for the lectures to come by subscribing here below. 

lecture by Tomas De Bruyne

edited by Sara Marie Andrews. EMC and Diana Toma, EMC

pictures by Alex Mateiu 

Don't miss a beat!

New blogs, course offerings and what we are up to delivered to your inbox! 

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.