Education in Retrospect of the Future

The Iowa Florists’ Association works hard to make Education a key component of the Floral Industry. Below you will read a few of our past Graduates’ view on our ICF and IMF courses as well as our past Education Director, Fran Newsom’s comments in agreement.

Enjoy!

Fran Newsom: I remember being in the Charter classes of the IFA certified education program and how much it meant to me as a budding florist. The instructors had so much to offer and I was eager to learn. When I received my Iowa Master Florist certificate, I cried because I knew it was a goal worth pursuing and I did it! Here are some reflections from other former students and a tribute to the personal goals and importance of continuing education in the floral industry. IFA is here for ALL our members and we strive to better serve our members by continually listening to you and improving our education programs to fit your needs.

Amy Butz: Because I changed careers and became a floral designer at age 52, time was not on my side when it came to design experience. The classes I took through the Iowa Floral Association gave me the opportunity to gain design experience in a wide variety of floral creations – from wedding bouquets to casket sprays- and allowed me to be a contributing member of my shop’s design team in a significantly shorter period of time.

Fran Newsom: I can relate to Amy as well because I had to take classes when I could and it took more time than I would have liked, but I was able to pick up where I had left off and complete the courses. We have since provided an online program for the classes and have hands-on workshops and testing.


Allison Rohlena: My time in the Iowa master florist class was more than I expected. The classes were hands-on and classroom work as well. They gave us plenty of time between classes to study for our tests. During our hands-on classes they gave us plenty of time to look at our product and get our designs done. The grading was fair on how our designs should look. The teachers also taught us a lot. One thing I wish we would’ve had was a day to practice the designs or what they should look like. Then the next day we could make them for the class.  I didn’t have any knowledge of wedding arrangements, so for me, I went in blind to that class not knowing what I should be doing. Overall everyone was friendly and I learned a lot. I was able to take my knowledge with me back to my shop to be able to design my best designs for the customers that came into the shop or ordered over the phone.

Laura Liddle: For a person coming into the “Floral World” with little to no experience, IFA was GREAT! The classes were very valuable and quite fun. I remember going to the first class being really nervous, but once I got there you made me feel comfortable. When I first looked at arrangements I didn’t think it was going to be that difficult, but you find out quickly how flowers have a mind of their own! I would say my favorite part of the classes was learning how to do hand-tied bouquets (which I still love doing), how symmetry is a huge part of designing, and how to make it fun! It was also fun to see how something so simple can be so beautiful. I personally find myself loving flowers more and more every day, which is something that I never thought I’d say.  I thought you were an excellent and very patient teacher! It was great to travel to CR and learn from Joanna and Nancy too. There were only two things I didn’t care for. One, I wish the classes would’ve been a little bit longer because there’s still so much to learn and you’re an amazing teacher! The second would be plants, but that’s just me. I still don’t know too much about plants. HAHA. Overall I would say that IFA  was a great learning experience,  and I’d do it again if I could!!”

Fran Newsom: We listened to our students and have since added extra design workshops to provide more of the hands-on design experience and keep up with current design trends and tips.
Mary Brown: I am happy to write about my experience with the IFA classes!!  I took the classes about 4 years ago, and enjoyed and learned so much from each of them.  My experience in the floristry field was limited when I started, so the classes were both an excellent introduction into the field and real assistance in developing skills that I have used as I became employed.  I think the classes are great for beginners but would be a great asset to people already employed as well.  The classes give great background knowledge for shop procedure, design principles and excellent examples and experience with technique, (at work you’d have good access to materials for practice and experimentation),  they help develop your creative sense, and offer an opportunity for you to network and learn from others. I learned a lot from the text/coursework, but the “lab” work was a really exciting and inspiring experience!  First off, all of the instructors are incredibly kind, supportive, and knowledgeable.  It is inspiring to see creative people demonstrate their work and process and really helpful to get to learn through their example, and instruction.   It was great to learn techniques from these gifted professionals and to have the opportunity to try new techniques with their support and instruction.  Each teacher’s style and experience were unique and their sharing really helped bring home the idea that floral work is a wonderful diverse creative path.  Because the classes were held in various locations, we got a sense of the variety of business models in the floral industry.  We had wonderful materials to work with, which added to the experience.  Having the certification is helpful for connecting with other professionals and in job opportunities.  I feel that the classes were well worth the cost and time involved and would recommend them to others.

Fran Newsom: Our instructors are IFA Board members who have achieved their own credentials and creative styles and truly enjoy sharing their skills and knowledge to all our members and non-member participants alike. As our Certification classes continue even in this extraordinary time, IFA plans to grow and learn along with you all.
I wish to thank everyone who took the time to submit their reflections with us. For information on the class schedule and requirements, please refer to our website.

Meet the President

Joanna Kalina, AIFD, CFD, IMF

Joanna currently lives in the Cedar Rapids area. She went to college to be a teacher before stumbling into the floral design world and realizing her new dream! She absolutely loves designing, but personalized sympathy work is her jam. One of Joanna’s current projects is to create photo shoots in the colors of the rainbow including floral design with the colors meaning and sharing them with you. She completed the Iowa Master Florist certification in 2013 and 7 years later was inducted as an AIFD designer. Joanna’s hobbies include photography, hanging out with friends and family, piano, and plants!

Joanna has been on the Iowa Florists’ Association’s board for 5 years now and is the new and current President. She is thrilled to be in her new role and can’t wait to see what the next 2 years hold for her, the Board, and all our wonderful Members. Joanna wants to put a lot of effort into not only securing new Members but really giving our current members good solid reasons to want to be a part and participate in this wonderful organization even though it’s continuously changing and evolving.

Joanna also wants to focus on Education during her term. Education in the Floral Industry is really at a minimum, as many Wholesalers have ceased a lot of their classes and workshops, Cedar Rapids’ Kirkwood Community College’s Floriculture program is no more, and Florists are doing the best that they know, but could flourish even more with education and networking all over the state of Iowa. In case you’re wondering, Joanna is the voice/typing hands behind most of the blog posts, she keeps the website updated and current, and helps with the social media posting.

Wedding Design Class

Congratulations to our 5 students, who all passed with flying colors! We encourage you to check out their beautiful bouquets for yourselves as proof. The Iowa Florists’ Association applauds all you students for your accomplishment and dedication to your education.

Here’s to Final Festing in September 2020 & ICF Graduation March 2021!

Thank you to the Flower Shop at Cedar Memorial for hosting our class, our wonderful students for making the commitment to their education, as well as a special thank you to Nancy Meckel and Joanna Kalina, AIFD for instructing!

Each student was instructed to design a hand-tied bridal bouquet, wire and tape a corsage, and design a bouquet in a bouquet holder, plus the beginnings of wiring a halo/garland as an extra tip to take to your own businesses. Way to go Ladies!

Left to Right/ Becky Greiner, Bonnie Silbaugh, TIna Sparks, Tracy Plummer and Tina Sullivan
Fudge’s Flowers & Gifts in Jefferson, Iowa. Becky Greiner, Bonnie Silbaugh (Owner), Tina Sparks

Sympathy Tribute Class

Iowa Certified Class (ICF) at the Flower Shop at Cedar Rapids, Iowa!

Taught by: Nancy Meckel and Joanna Kalina

The Crew! Great job everyone =)
So proud of you all! Christy McEldoon not pictured. Don’t you love the Iowa Florists’ Association’s new Mascot, Mr, Turkey!?
Everyone made a beautiful side piece too! We were all just having so much fun, that we all forgot to get more pictures of them before we re-used the flowers =) oops!
Much thanks to:
– Fran Newsom from Waterloo Hyvee for all the wonderful supplies.
– Krueger Wholesale – Wasau, Wisconsin for all the beautiful flowers
– The Flower Shop at Cedar Memorial for hosting the class
– Nancy Meckel and Joanna Kalina for teaching
– Nancy Meckel – for taking photos.
– ICF Students for coming, learning, networking and taking their certification seriously