This month’s Tutor Interview is with someone who achieved some great success last week. Floristry Tutor Julie Davies was recognised as the Floristry Tutor of the Year at the 2016 British Florist Association (BFA) awards! We had to speak to her to find out more about her achievement, and also a bit more about her.

Julie was nominated for the Kent Business Awards earlier in the year and was a finalist there, and then was a winner in the national awards last week. The awards event was held in Chester, and Julie was up against some big contenders such as tutors from big companies in London, so didn’t actually bother travelling to Chester for the event as she didn’t fancy her chances! She soon found out that she had won the Floristry Tutor of the Year award on Twitter when she was told by one of her learners who had won an award herself.

Now to find out a bit more about Julie…

Favourite hobby outside of work: “I enjoy flower arranging out of work, and have been running a floristry club at my daughter’s school for the last four years for young people aged 8-11.” Her other favourite hobbies include baking cakes and making jam and generally being outdoors.
Favourite food: Cake.
Favourite films: Out of Africa, Sound of Music, Railway Children.
Favourite book: “I love crime thrillers such as books from Jo Nesbø, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” Julie has also recently been reading various self-help and mindfulness books, including books by Ruby Wax.
Favourite flower: As you can imagine, this was a very difficult question for a floristry tutor to answer! “It changes by season as different flowers bloom and new colours emerge. I love Chinese lanterns and daffodil bulbs, and especially scented flowers.

How did your passion for floristry begin?

Julie’s passion for floristry actually came a bit later in her life. “I went to university and worked in an office-based job, after I graduated I met my husband who is a keen gardener. It was planning for my wedding that started my interest in floristry as I was really interested in the wedding flowers and it was something that I wanted to learn more about and be skilled in. I had originally wanted to be a fashion designer but didn’t pursue it, so floristry still allows me to unleash my creative side.”

How did you learn your floristry skills?

“I joined Faversham Flower Club, and then did a course at Canterbury College and a correspondence (distance learning) course at Hadlow College. I saw an advert for a part-time course to train as a Florist, so I used to make the hours up at work to be able to attend that course. I gained a distinction on the course, so changed to work four days a week and began running my own classes and preparing funerals and wedding arrangements.”

How long have you been teaching floristry?

“I’ve been teaching at KAE for four years. When I started teaching I went back to Hadlow College to teach accredited floristry courses but stopped when my daughter was born, but went back to teaching with KAE.

How did you begin teaching floristry with KAE?

“I belonged to a floristry club under NAFAS (The National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies) and was doing demonstrations at a flower show when Jackie Brooks, a fellow Floristry Tutor for KAE, saw me and recommended me to KAE.”

What do you enjoy most about teaching floristry?

“I love meeting all the learners. I love that everyone can pick up floristry and the flowers are always beautiful before and after the course. I like that my learners find it therapeutic, and that it gives them a creative outlook, and opens their eyes to the outside world and they notice different flowers and features that they never would’ve noticed before. I also find that I learn from my learners as I’m not just giving them instructions to follow, they have their own ideas and choose different colours to combine. ”

Are there any particularly memorable learner experiences or success stories you can think of?

“I was nominated for my BFA award by a KAE learner who went on to create her own floristry events company, Another lady who I taught also won at the BFA awards, she won Floristry Newcomer of the Year, and had previously won at the Good Funeral Awards for her funeral arrangements.”

What tips do you always give your learners?

“Don’t spend money on loads of equipment at first, a good pair of scissors and some leftover jars will do. Feel free to buy from a supermarket, you don’t need to spend big at a florist until you know you’re committed. And the flowers are already beautiful so you can’t go wrong!”

If you want to find out more about this award-winning Tutor first-hand, take a look at all of our Floristry courses, including some fabulous upcoming Christmas Craft courses, by clicking the button below.

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