UK based floral artist Laura Leong began her career in floristry about thirty years ago. Her first steps in the craft were in a retail shop where she honed her skills from both her colleagues and tutors at college. In this chat, Laura shares with us a little about her journey in floristry, her passion for teaching floral art and a few heartwarming stories during the COVID 19 period. She also talks broadly about designs with Porta Nova Red Naomi and White Naomi that she made for a recent Floral Fundamentals showcasing.
Tell us a little more about your early days in floral art competition?
I enjoyed competing from early on but really became focused on competition in later years. I realized that competition helps you to grow as a designer at a more accelerated pace. I have been very lucky to have won the Chelsea Florist of the Year award twice and Interflora Florist of the Year. My career has been more interesting as a result of competing, and it has enabled me to travel and demonstrate all around the world and lead me to become involved with World Skills UK.
VIDEO: Laura’s brings an early Xmas and Valentines
Share with us some heart-warming and encouraging florist stories emerging from the UK as we navigate through the Covid 19 situation.
It has been fantastic to see the nursing staff of our NHS recognised and celebrated for their incredible hard work, courage and selflessness. Lots of flower wholesalers have gone to various hospitals to gift flowers to nurses. One member of my squad in Northern Ireland works in a shop that made fifty bouquets for NHS staff in the early stages of lock down. The local community came together to organise and fund raise for it. Flowers are our way of saying Thank You. Flowers are also a way of showing isolated people they are not alone during these difficult times.
What is it that makes you so passionate about teaching floral art?
I am passionate about teaching floristry because I have had the privilege to work with such fantastic plant materials and tremendous mentors in my own career. I wish for the same for the next generation. I believe in seeking out the best education possible and applying that to commercial design that can be used in industry as well as design that is more closely related to art.
What inspires Laura?
What inspires me the most is usually the plant material itself; it’s unique characteristics and how they are best magnified or highlighted.
7 ways Christmas and Vals comes early with Laura’s amazing designs
1. Christmas Comes Early!
This is a long lasting commercial Christmas design that features very sculptural materials and rich colours
2. Bouquet – Reds in harmony
This bouquet features a full range of tints, tones, shades and hue through the red range. The design is spaced with birch twigs and no foliage added to give priority to the colour balance and the individual silhouettes of the flowers. The Red Naomi play an important part in providing the pure hue in the colour harmony. This design would be suitable as a decoration for a room at Christmas or as a gift.
3. Magically Velvety centrepiece
This is a commercial design is a long lasting Christmas design for a side table in a modern environment. The velvety texture and colour of the roses are the main focus of the design along with the asymmetrical vanda placement that gives rhythm and movement to the design.
4. Frosty Christmas
This is a frosty looking Christmas bouquet featuring a mass of Porta Nova White Naomi spiral bound together in a framework of pine, cones, bouvardia and astilbe. Two perfect stems of phalaenopsis create rhythm and drama to this luxury gift.
5. Mixed Bouquet
A mixed jewel coloured bouquet tied through a corylus framework that could be given at valentines. The Porta Nova roses provide the traditional romantic impact in combination with a selection of other flowers
6. A Scottish Christmas
A traditional Scottish Christmas theme with the Porta Nova Red Naomi, Gerbera, Jatropha and hellebores sitting in compact groups within a framework of tartan ribbon
7. Endearing Love
A heart for valentines that really emphasises the perfection and head size of the Red Naomi in contrast with the grey Lehner wool and red toned vanda orchids. Laura views this as an alternative design to hang on the wall.