As the world faces an urgent need to make good ethical choices regarding environmental sustainability, the floristry industry is committed to using an ever increasing amount of environmental friendly materials. As a florist, we work very close to nature and must focus on our ethical credentials when offering consumer choices.
Throughout the NCFE Level 2 course at ACL, out tutor advised us on ways we could make our designs more eco-friendly. So as we approached our final assessment, I wished to gain experience of creating a 100% biodegradable floral item and chose a funeral tribute.
As I focused on the planning stage, it became evident of the everyday materials we use that needed to be excluded: standard wet foam, wires, glue, plastic containers and tape. However, with a little more thought, these challenges were relatively straightforward to overcome.
A walk in the woods revealed an abundance of readily available materials. With the owner’s permission, I foraged for wooden stems from fallen branches to make the base structure, securing it with string and covering the mechanics with trailing ivy. The top structure was also made from wooden branches, but these were more pliable and could be manipulated to achieve a curved line. With biodegradable replacements now available for wet foam, I used Agra Wool. This was backed with Aspidistra leaves to provide a water seal, then secured to the structure with string. As a novice, I found using this medium took a little more time and care, but with experience this would undoubtedly become easier and speedier. As I wished to source the plant materials as local as possible to reduce the carbon footprint and also the use of pesticides, many of the flowers and foliage either came from my garden or local woodland.
Creating this item not only was totally enjoyable, the challenge of using biodegradable materials was much easier than I had anticipated. I have learned so much from this experience and have gained insight and inspiration for future designs, both in terms of techniques and for using alternative biodegradable materials.
Working in a sustainable way does incur a cost implication as materials can be more costly, but we must all pay the price in our response to climate change and reversing global pollution as we endeavour to save our beautiful planet.