Floral designer’s unexpected win
More than 1000 people watched Francine Thomas demonstrate her flair for floral design on the world stage in Ireland but it was not only them she impressed.
Thomas was selected as the country’s representative for a demonstration at the World Association of Floral Arrangements but, at the same show, managed to place third in a competition she spontaneously entered.
‘‘I never let on to the other demonstrators I was entering a competition. I just wanted to quietly do my thing,’’ she said.
She ironically entered the ‘‘ spontaneous approach’’ design competition as a relaxation measure.
The 30 competitors were given the same objects to create a unique piece.
Thomas said the category suited her perfectly.
A win was a bonus and the rosette and Irish linen prize will be treasured forever.
However it was nothing compared with the ‘‘out the this world’’ experience of representing New Zealand.
The 51- year- old spent four months creating her 2.5-metre koru structure. It symbolised three of New Zealand’s mountains and the sea.
Raised in Tokoroa, the Tauranga Floral Art Group member often runs a lesson for the Tokoroa group.
She travels around the country for various competitions as well.
But since returning from Ireland the demand for her talents has been huge.
‘‘I’ve been getting all these emails,’’ she said.
She has even been booked out for an American flower show in 2017.
When it all comes down to it, she said the best thing is to see familiar faces alongside her.
‘‘That’s a big thing being a Tokoroa girl at heart,’’ she said.
Four of the Tokoroa members made the trip as well.
Tokoroa resident Beverley Gregory entered a competition but missed out on a win because of a technicality.
Her design was a few centimetres too tall but to be half way across the world for her first overseas competition was a win in itself.
‘‘It was a wonderful experience – everything [the competition] was a big surprise . . . I had a wonderful design with pink roses, lime green carnations and pink calla lilies.’’
New experience: Tokoroa’s Beverley Gregory missed the chance for a placing at the World Association Floral Arrangements but the experience was priceless.
Stand out: Francine Thomas’ thirdplacing design competed against many others.