Francine Thomas grew up in a florist shop, so it is no surprise her passion for floral art has blossomed over the years.
Francine’s mother and grandmother worked in her Aunty Bettie’s florist in Whangarei until she was seven.
Years later, in 2005, she joined the Bay of Plenty Floral Art Society and soon started succeeding in the field.
Francine has travelled locally and internationally to run workshops, judge competitions and present floral art demonstrations.
For those wondering what on earth floral art involves, Francine, says it involves using the same design fundamentals that go into a painting – except flowers are the medium.
Francine reiterates the inventive art medium is far from dull and also doesn’t need to be dear.
She encourages floral artists to collect resources from their own garden – whether that be a bunch of roses or a plant with few leaves.
“It’s not all tight perms and tea trolleys you know. Floral art is an amazing field which opens up so many doors.
“Floral art shouldn’t be an expense to people. They can pick from their own gardens no matter what time of year it is, there will always be something you can use.”
Francine says floral art societies boomed after World War Two when widows of soldiers found solace through the practice.
“A lot of widows started doing floral art to come together in groups and support each other – that’s where it all really started.”
Nowadays, Francine strives to share stories about New Zealand history and landscapes through her floral art when she presents internationally.
“People really enjoy when I do demonstrations that depict parts of New Zealand, whether that be our volcanoes, our forests or Maori culture. It’s about showing our landscapes and what we have to offer in New Zealand.”
In 2018, Francine won the Australian Floral Art Designer of The Year and was the presenter for New Zealand at the World Flower Council Summit in Brisbane.
She has travelled across the globe presenting in floral theatres across America, Ireland and Australia.
Francine says the BOP Floral Art Society is calling on more members to join the club and see what they are all about.
Francine will be presenting a floral art demonstration at Bethlehem Baptist Church on Friday, October 11 from 1-3pm.
‘A Floral Journey’ will consist of several floral art creations by Francine, alongside music and storytelling.
Tickets cost $25. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org