Pim van den Akker gave a new round of Contemporary Floral Design master classes at Sikastone and shares his teaching experiences in China.
For the second time this year, Dutch floral designer Pim van den Akker visited the floral design school Sikastone in China. And there's a third visit planned for this October.
I share my knowledge but learn new stuff myself each time.
Sikastone's students are experienced florists as well as beginners. "Chinese florists want to tell a story with their designs, says Pim. There's a whole philosophy behind each design, flowers have lots of symbolic meaning and numbering is of great importance. Not always easily understood by foreigners. And sometimes these strict ideas behind a design can get in the way of their creativity". So Pim tries to lure them out of their comfort zone: "The Chinese students are generally really polite, reserved and shy to ask questions. But interaction during the master class is of the upmost importance. A day into the master classes, the first question is asked and then you see they are real eager to learn."
Pim shows his students quick bridal design ideas
Chinese floral design is still quite traditional, with Chrysanthemums, Orchids, Lilies and Tulips as the most frequently used flowers. And there are lots of techniques Chinese florists are not familiar with. "When showed new techniques they immediately jump in and give it a go themselves. That enthusiasm is why I teach", says Pim. The master classes are all about learning new techniques, developing design skills and trying out new materials and combinations. And that goes for Pim as well: "I always learn new things myself, whether it is a different usage of materials or a new material in itself. This time I got my hands on a different kind of cut bamboo that was fun to work with."
That enthusiasm is the reason I love to teach.
"What strikes me, Pim continues, is that the younger generation is really interested in plants and flowers. Unlike the same generation in Europe you could say. Is it a new awakening? A reaction to pollution and recurring smog problems in China? The lack of a green environment in big cities? I'm not sure, but I'm happy to see their involvement!"
Photos: courtesey of Sikastone