This week I went on a field trip to visit my friend Marianne. Marianne and her husband Craig own the oh so beautiful flower shop Helen Olivia. This gorgeous floral design studio is based in historic Alexandria Virginia. In all honesty Helen Olivia is one of the most beautiful shops I have ever seen, which is saying a lot since I have been studying design in NYC, and in Europe.  My purpose for the visit was to watch Marianne teach one of her floral design classes.  Marianne’s class schedule can be seen here.

The students arrive and take a space at the design table. Each student is given a bucket of flowers and their containers.

This particular class was all about contemporary design. Marianne began by doing her signature ribbon wrap of the vase. The ribbon wrapped vase became so popular that almost all designs that leave Helen Olivia are wrapped with a beautiful colorful satin ribbon. Marianne made this look famous in the DC metropolitan area.

Marianne took the students step by step through the process of creating this particular design. Once her design was completed students prepared their vases and began to design.

The goal, this is Marianne’s finished piece.

It was fun to watch the students choose their ribbon color and create their design. Each piece was fabulous and the students were clearly enjoying themselves.

The next design was all about the giant allium. Marianne explained about placement and balance as she created her piece.

She also showed the designers how to use orchids.

She finished her design by wrapping it in black ribbon.

Once Marianne’s design was complete the students began their pieces.

Seeing how much the students enjoyed their time in the flower shop was a true pleasure.

But my favorite part was watching the students leave with their beautiful designs.

Many thanks to Marianne for being such a supportive friend, teacher, and for allowing me to observe this class. Perhaps one day soon we will be offering design classes here!!!!


  • Kristin Regen Says: (06.08.2012 | 02:48)

    You can go ahead and put me first on your sign up sheet for students! 🙂 Exciting times for HCF!

Leave a Reply

Send to Friend