Local florist joins the elite in her field

A Brandon business owner has joined an elite group of floral design artists after earning accreditation from an internationally recognized floral design organization.

Earlier this month, Trish Fjeldsted, co-owner with her husband Shaun of The BloomBox on Princess Avenue, earned accredited membership of the American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD). The designation adds ‘AIFD’ to her credentials as a certified floral designer. She is one of only two AIFD florists in Manitoba and 50 accredited designers across Canada.

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“It’s like any other profession when it comes to accreditation; like when you go to become an accountant to get a ‘CA’ behind your name.

This is the same thing for floral designers,” Fjeldsted said when contacted by the Westman Journal last week. “I just wanted to be a part of it and experience being with all the other AIFD florists. They are the best of the best; the most creative people in our field.”

Obtaining AIFD classification is no easy task. Fjeldsted had to complete a written test just to earn an invitation to a practical examination adjudicated by a panel of seven AIFD judges in the United States. Each candidate creates five arrangements, which are judged based on category interpretation, proportion, physical and visual balance, movement and rhythm, balance, harmony and rhythm of color, creativity, unity, focal emphasis, depth and mechanics.

Florists must score a mark of at least 80 per cent on both levels of the examination process.

“You have to wait three months to get the test results. Then they send a warning email saying that your results were coming. It was so hard to sleep the night before I knew the results were ready. I had convinced myself that I hadn’t passed and came to the point where that was OK,” Fjeldsted said.

“When I read that I passed in the email the next day, I screamed and cried.”

The class Fjeldsted graduated with at a ceremony in Seattle, Wash. on July 4 included three Canadian floral artists alongside professionals from the U.S., South Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, Dominican Republic and Mexico.

The American Institute of Floral Designers was established in 1965. Today, the non-profit organization authorizes and recognizes the principal standard for professional floral design. Fjeldsted could return to seek accreditation to become an AIFD adjudicator, but her current level has always been her ultimate goal through her 25-year career in the industry.

“For me, this is the top,” she said. “It’s where I really, really wanted to be as AIFD fosters the growth of floral designers and the industry itself.

One of the things it fosters is family she went on to say.

“It’s like a whole other family when you meet up with these people from across the world. You’re instantly like  family when you share career paths.”

Fjeldsted’s designation allows her to speak and teach at floral design shows and other symposiums held throughout North America. She has no such events planned at the moment, however. For now, she is continuing her work at The BloomBox, a business she and her husband took over when it was under another name about eight years ago.

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