Lee Berrill and Alan Smith October 2017

There was a feeling of expectation as members and friends arrived this month as we had promised everyone a very entertaining evening as well as watching some inspirational flower designs. Judging from just three of the comments we received from members, Alan and Lee certainly delivered!: ‘Fabulous evening and what fantastic arrangements, unbelievable’ ‘Last evening was the best we have ever seen. We do so hope they are invited back again soon.’  ‘It was spectacular & Lee & Alan are such showmen with huge talent. Loved it.’ The evening was so varied; we had horizontal, vertical, Dutch parallel designs, we watched Alan and Lee working both individually and together, we heard tales of their visit to Barbados, we appreciated the craft work and containers that enhanced their designs but above all we were aware of their knowledge and love of flowers and foliage as they produced six wonderful arrangements. Each design was individually magnificent but when the designs were put together, the final stage looked spectacular.  There were many happy raffle winners. The standing ovation at the end of the evening signified everyone’s enjoyment and the audience’s appreciation of Alan and Lee’s enthusiasm, vision, skill and presentation. It was a wonderful evening. Thank you to everyone including committee members and helpers who contributed to make the evening such a success.    

September 2017

It has been a really busy first week of September for BFAS As we started our Autumn programme, it was lovely to be transported back to the warmth of the Italian sunshine. For any of us who have visited Italy we were taken on a reminiscent journey at this month’s meeting when Linda Smith presented ‘The Italian Job’.  Through her designs we visited Rome and Venice, we   experienced the opera, a gondola ride, the colours and light of Tuscany and of course the wonderful Italian gelato ice cream in addition to hearing about the antics of a rather fast travelling taxi driver. The  beautiful arrangements used a wide variety of flowers, foliage, textures and shape  and were enhanced by interesting ‘Italian’ props.  Linda has kindly allowed us to share one of the designs below. Grazie Linda for a very enjoyable evening.     We have also helped at two events this week; we produced twenty two table arrangements and two pedestals in red, yellow and white for the Fire Service Awards evening – these were then safely transported from Kempston to a venue in Luton by the Fire Service. For Heritage weekend the Friends of Bedford Cemetery (Foster Hill Road) held Open Days with, amongst other activities,  the Chapel open for people to study the cemetery records. They were also acknowledging the help they have received from National Lottery Funding.  We provided arrangements in both chapels and the ante room in addition to some table decorations. Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way to all the events this week – a few photographs are included below.  

Members Evening August 2017

It was our Members Evening this month when, we again, recognised the talent and expertise we have within our membership.. The stage looked stunning at the end of the practical session; it was amazing to see the variety of designs produced although everyone had started with the same basic materials - two sprays of white chrysanthemums and the same foliage enhanced by  containers, sundries and accessories brought by members. It was good to have a  sociable evening which continued with a ‘bring and share’ supper and a quiz. Thank you to everyone who contributed in any way to make the evening such a success.  

WAFA Barbados 2017

I was lucky enough to be able to visit Barbados last month for the 12th World Show which was held at the LLoyd Erskine Sandiford Centre in Bridgetown. I visited on the first open day, although the venue was well air conditioned to keep the flowers in good condition for longer. As you went in, the entrance foyer was filled with huge international honorary exhibits - over 25 different countries were represented and many had used flowers in the colour of their national flag. The rest of the venue was filled with competitive entries in 25 classes - there were some wonderful arrangements and lots of exotic flowers and foliage that we rarely see here in the UK. In the evening I attended a fantastic demonstration from 2 great guys, Dr Solomon Leong from Hong Kong and Craig Bullock from the UK who together filled the stage with a striking display of arrangements. I took lots of photographs and a small selection of them are below.

WAFA Barbados 2017

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Jenni Baker July 2017

We welcomed Jenni this month with her presentation of ‘Wind in the Willows’. We probably expected designs representing parts of the well known story and although this was regularly referred to the presentation was based around interesting and very different willow containers. As usual, we saw a wide variety of flowers and plant material being used to create varied designs – many of which included lots of ‘sticks’ – a love of Jenni’s. Together with a very entertaining and interesting commentary including tales of the World Show in Barbados we had a very enjoyable evening. Just a few pictures are included – thank you Jenni.  

Talk/Demonstration at Wootton June 2017

Committee members visited Wootton 55 club last week and talked a little about the history and activities of the society. They also presented a short demonstration entitled  Summer and Gardens. This was very well received by members.Thank you to Sandra and Lynda for all their hard work and giving up their time.  

Melissa Sheldrake ~ June 2017

We had a really lovely evening last night when Melissa Sheldrake, a National Demonstrator, visited us from her home in the East of England to present a demonstration entitled 'Flight of Fancy'.  Each of her arrangements depicted either a mode of transport or something that flies and her creations were both unusual and imaginative.  As Melissa worked she chatted about her National Test which she passed at the end of last year, recited poetry related to NAFAS and to flower arranging, played relevant music as well as informed us about the flowers and foliage she was using.  Her husband accompanied her to help move and display the ambitious mechanics Melissa used, all made by her husband!  Some had moving parts, some had hidden extras - all were unique and colourful and the overall effect was wonderful. Melissa kept us thoroughly entertained and we wish her luck in her forthcoming visit to Barbados where she is competing. Shown below are photos of 2 of her arrangements - the magical NAFAS bird and an angel.

Workshop with Kathy Stangaard May 13 2017

We had a very enjoyable workshop entitled ‘Exciting Equisetum’ on Saturday led by  Kathy Stangaard. Three very different designs were demonstrated all using equisetum: a tower, a parallel design and a flat Hogarth.  All participants  managed to complete two and many attempted 3 arrangements! Thank you Kathy for your expertise, encouragement and time and also to Ann G and Penny for organising the day. Just a few pictures to give an idea of what was achieved and to demonstrate the skill and talent we have in our club.

Lonely Bouquet Day May 5th 2017

Members took part in the Lonely Bouquet initiative on National Flower Arranging Day.  We know of bouquets left on post boxes, park benches, bus stops, on pavements  and  at supermarkets. It makes it worthwhile when we receive comments such as this: ‘I have just found a beautiful bouquet at the  bus stop. After a week from hell this is like a magical gift to me. I will enjoy and look after it, thank you xx💐’    

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Julie Woods May 2017

It was a great pleasure to welcome Julie Woods this month to present ‘A Tantalizing Cocktail’. Julie is a member of our society and also an area demonstrator for both  the Home Counties and  East of England areas of NAFAS. Her contact number is 01223 262902. Julie was inspired by the book ‘Hollywood Cocktails’ for this presentation – which links the cocktails with mainly black and white movies. Designs were linked with films such as ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’, ‘High Society’ ‘ Blue Hawaii’ and ‘ Top Hat’. A wide variety of flowers and foliage were used; this included lime green griselinia, pittosporum, black thai leaves, a variety of viburnums,  chaenomeles, eucalyptus, papyrus, photinia, spiraea,  arum italicum together with anastasia chrysanthemums, tulips, ornithogalum, roses, carnations, stocks, hydrangea, anthuriums and cymbidium orchids. Many of us were very envious of the amount of garden material Julie had managed to pick from her own garden. All designs were  very varied in colour, design and shape; all equally attractive and together with  their very distinctive containers  formed a lovely final stage display at the end of the evening. Thank you Julie for a very enjoyable demonstration , your love and expertise of floral design shone through and your hints and tips very much appreciated – as was your knowledge of cocktails - it was a good job there were no samples available!! A couple of pictures below give a flavour of the evening