Says Minna, who is a teacher in floristry in Finland. Minna had both a professional and personal development through the vocational education program at Norges grønne fagskole – Vea in Norway.
- Name: Minna Uusi-Simola
- Study program: Experimental expressions with plant materials
- Age: 44
- From: Finland
- Background:Teacher in Floristry, having her daily work in Rajamäki, 50 km from Helsinki to Tampere direction.
What led you to choose the education «Experimental expressions with plant materials» at Vea in Norway?
I was interested in getting new views about how to work with alternative botanical materials, and for my own professional development.
How was the study organized?
Really well. It is part time study, and it is possible to combine studies and work. I worked as a teacher while I was a student at Vea. We had 4 gatherings at Vea, one in Italy and one in Sweden.
How was the class?
The class was full of interesting people from several different professions. It was interesting to experience how differently everybody handled the subjects related to their background. We learned a lot from each other.
What has this education meant for you?
I definitely learned how to make experiences with botanical material. Learning to see the beauty in materials that have been regarded as waste has enriched my style as a florist and as a teacher as well.
As a florist I expected more use of flowers in this education, but I quickly found out it was mostly other botanical materials. After the first days it was okay. The most important thing for me, has been the mind opening. Going to garbage heap for botanical waste taught me to see things in new way. I got a lot of confidence in expressing myself in new ways. If you are a florist in a flower shop and want to be different than other flower shops, you should take part in EX to learn more, and to use different and alternative plant materials.
What has it meant for you as a teacher?
I am more open to use natural materials. Now I can teach my students better how to collect, treat and use materials from nature. The students will have more options to express what they want. In addition to use more natural materials, I have also learned different ways to give the students inspiration and how to guide them through a creative process. I know the options and how to use them.
What are you doing now?
I am still teaching florists and gardeners. After graduating in June 2016, I started a course called Botanical Design in September the same year at our school TTS Työtehoseura. The course is modified from what I learned during EX and the focus is more on design than art. We try to find commercial ways to use natural materials. Students develop and make things for the shop from materials found in nature. Students also do several projects where they learn to experience with the materials that are not so familiar for them as the flowers from wholesalers.
Botanical Design course participants make their diploma works for the “Lovely Helsinki” event. The idea of the” Lovely Helsinki” event is to decorate an area of Helsinki city with flowers one weekend in May. Botanical Design students’ designs have been exhibited in the department store Stockmann and Kluuvi, on the pedestrian street area, in the Esplanad Park, cafeterias and the Botanical Garden to mention some locations. The students got lot of interest in the media and the designs have been presented in newspapers, radio and TV.