We were invited to compete at Arteflorando SAFIA E20 representing Team USA and it was an amazing floral learning opportunity! This year had twelve teams coming with tons of talent and skill from across Europe and the USA to Leverano, Italy.
The experience of competition in a European design competition has provided me with a new perspective to competition to go along with my relaxed approach to competitions and it has helped me take yet another step to becoming a better designer. Also making new face to face connections and friendships outside the American bubble was welcoming and refreshing.
I hope you enjoy this slight glimpse into what was an amazing trip.
Day #1 – Traveling
Our first day was mostly filled with traveling to Brindisi, Italy where we spent the night before heading to the competition. Brindisi had the perfect relaxed vibe with gorgeous views around every corner. Unfortunately my luggage was lost but I was able to find cuter and better backup clothes and my bad appeared right as I got back to the airport the next morning.
Our time in Brindisi was filled with reading by the water or town center area, eating our way around the city and some light shopping. The next morning we popped back to the airport to meet up with other competitors and jury members to shuttle to Leverano for the competition.
Day #2.5 – Competition Day Tasks 1 &2
We did have a day where we went from Brindisi to the competition in Leverano and stated prepping for the next day but I got busy and didn’t really get pictures of the day. Day 2.5 started off with the first task which was a interpretive design to “Italy, a country with numerous traditions” which opened up many possibilities of design ideas.
While one team interpreted lace and another pottery, we went with interpreting Il Malocchio, the Evil Eye and the horn charm to ward it off specifically. We also included woven hala birds to include the traditions of woven leaves in the church. I must admit I stumbled through this task and went into task two read and bettered prepared.
Task two was a whole other design just titled to “Surprise Task” and oh my goodness it was such a fun surprise. Each team was given a three wheel vehicle I believe was called a “Piaggio Ape” with the task to create a design on the vehicle. Our product for this task was provided but we had to be smart with it because the provided product had to be used across task two and three.
We were allowed at this point to go foraging around for other grasses and product but I didn’t have a car and didn’t want to bother anyone so Marco (My awesome assistant) and myself worked with what we had. Our design ended up with a mohawk from the front to the end with a mix of skewered vegetables, wood pieces we broke from the vegetable boxes, and a mixture of warm colors. This design being a surprise task was 100% my preferred kind of competition design and it showed with our design taking 2nd for the task right behind the beautiful design created by Team Denmark.
Day #3 – Task 3, Adventure and Awards
Team USA went into day three ready to go, we hit a comfortable stride after task 2 and the flowers we left for task three had us heading in with all white and green flowers. Task three was another surprise package but with the title “Surprise – Tremendous bouquet” everyone was already pretty prepared for the task. The only prompts we were given was it had to be free standing along with being tremendous.
Though we had a slight language barrier Team Italy, Francesco and Antonella tossed me in their car for a chance to forage for some more product which I was very thankful to them for. Francesco helped me find a moderate variety of grasses and vines to enhance the oversize size, depth and texture of the overall design. I learned a valuable lesson in using a purely white and green color harmony as our score took a hit for lack of color and we also lacked on more advanced techniques.
With a few hours to relax while judging was being finished and the awards ceremony was being prepared, it was time to see more Italy. Lene and Louis of Team Denmark kindly took me along with them for a wonderful lunch and then some beach time. We were able to put our feet in the water, enjoy the sun and relax before the awards ceremony. Once we got back there was time for a show and then heading to the awards ceremony.
Lene and Louis ended up taking first place with Francesco and Antonella taking third place. Their work was clean, had amazing technical work and we overall well executed. It was also nice to see other Floral Fundamental Ambassadors with two of us competing and three other’s judging.
Thank you Ivan for including me and to all the awesome people I had the pleasure of meeting. Getting the experience of European competition was very eye opening to the way American’s hold floral competitions and compete. I hope to be invited back next year now that I’ve gotten to experience Arteflorando.
Make sure to check out the Arteflorando social media and website, and
maybe enquire about competing in 2019 while you’re there!