Pressed Flower Classes
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My name is Barbara Gaffney, and I have owned and operated my business since 1994. Until that time I had been pressing flowers as a hobby and had many friends and family members ask me to press some of their special blooms. One day while shopping in a boutique I saw a framed wedding invitation with pressed flowers and called the lady who made it. We shared ideas and our passion for pressed flowers and from there a business was born. I began simply by having some basic business cards made and giving them to local florists who then in turn told their customers about my services. The first year I did 4 wedding bouquets and the drying process was 6 weeks long, done in old phone books with weights on top. By my 2nd year, I did 54 weddings and had some funeral customers as well. Each year progressed as it should until in 2007 when I did 230 orders from all over the country. My methods have changed drastically and now I can get a bouquet in and have it dried, sealed, and framed in a few days’ time… from start to finish. It is with pleasure that I hope to teach all the newest methods I have learned and developed so that my student does not have to muddle through making mistakes with their customers special, once in a lifetime bouquets. My 3 day class prepares you to instantly go home and start advertising your offerings. In most cases, you will be the ONLY person or business offering this service in your area. I also offer follow up care. Once you are done with the class, you may call or email me questions at any time. I am proud to say I have remained in contact with many of my students from the past. Naturally, I cannot guarantee the success of any one individual but I will attest that it is a fun class and you as a student will go home knowing all the special techniques I use on a daily basis. This craft has allowed me to work from home, set my own hours, and make people happy on a daily basis. I love what I do and love to teach others so they can develop the same love I have for this art form…
Pressing vs. Freeze Dried:
Many people who have taken my class first looked into freeze drying flowers. First you must ask yourself if you like the look. I have personally never cared for the bulky, domed frames or the shadow boxes which were popular in the 1970’s. The machines are still a very large expense going from 5 k to 30 k each and they require an enormous space and you must use very toxic chemicals in the process. In addition, you must attend one to two weeks of training to use the equipment (which has to be maintained). This is a lifetime investment. Brides are often off put at the high costs of having their bouquets freeze dried. Pressing however; is generally less money, with a much quicker turnaround time and is more forgiving when the flowers arrive in less than pristine condition. That is the case most of the time. Keep in mind, most flowers are sent overnight from all over the country, so they are less than turgid. If you are a florist, you can have someone drop the flowers off to the shop where they will be refrigerated until you press them, so chances are you’ll be working with much fresher flowers. Your customers will enjoy the ease of dropping them back off to you as well. I do however; employ one piece of equipment in my business that is a vacuum dry mount machine.
It is an investment and I use it to seal the designs. I did not use this machine for the first 10 years of my business, so when I teach this class, you will learn how to frame without the use of the machine. I will teach you how to use the machine, if you decide to go with that method.
I do not have a set class schedule. I am normally available to teach you whenever you would like to come. If it’s best for you to come on a weekend, we try to accommodate that as well. Each class is a one on one, private lesson but I do allow for 2 students at once. I ask for a few weeks’ notice so that I can do all the preparation for you.
If you are coming from a distance, the closest airport is Manchester, N.H. which is about 1 hour from our place. If you would like transportation, we can arrange to pick you up at the airport and return you to the airport for a 100.00 fee. We will provide you with a few good hotels around us and we will pick you up in the morning and drop you back on a daily basis. Our class provides you with snacks, drinks, and a lunch daily. Generally we have lunch delivered, so as to not waste too much time on food preparation. This is a fun yet intensive 3 day class where I try to fit in as much as possible so as you go home with lots of sample pieces.
What to expect…
We will cover various types of presses, how they are used, how to make your own presses and how to use a microwave press. You will also be provided with one of my favorite presses which will be yours to keep! We normally start the day with a large variety of fresh flowers which we will take apart and press. Each flower is unique and some require different methods, so all this will be demonstrated and the student will learn how to place the blooms for optimum drying. I have many books here on the subject matter, so we will explore differing methods and view examples of others work and critique. A large part of the first day is spent on creating roses on paper and cutting them out into shapes. While it is critical to learn this well, I now prepare hundreds of roses in all colors for you to work into a design as I this allows you to go home with more samples.
Days 2 and 3:
Here we start moving into cutting mat boards, using templates, color theory, taking a mound of petals and creating a cohesive design, copying from a photo and recreating an actual bridal bouquet. I cannot guarantee how many samples you will be able to finish, as each student works at a different pace. I have noted however; that those with floral experience tend to catch on faster as they understand using odd numbers, what colors work well together and they know the names and types of flowers. I have taught folks with a lot of experience and some with none, but in all cases, an impressive portfolio can be accomplished in 3 full days. Our class usually begins around 8:30 a.m. and goes until 5:30 p.m. daily with a few breaks in between.
Most folks go home with the following.
One or two 5” by 7”s
2 or 3 8” by 10”s
1 or 2 11” by 14”s
Some tiles, many bookmarks and as much as they can do!
I like to see one of the 11″ by 14″ s to be an oval design as seen on my website. I also think it’s good for your portfolio to have a framed wedding invitation. We provide you with the frames, mat boards, flowers, etc. and many students who feel they might work quickly, bring along a few extra frames. Extra frames can usually be purchased here as well. It is my goal to see my student go home with an impressive amount of samples. At an additional cost your designs can be left here and brought to a professional photographer for a photo shoot where a CD of your work will be provided and samples mailed back to you.
Our 3 day class costs $1,995.00. Plus add $100.00 for transportation to and from Manchester NH. Logan airport in Boston may also be used, but please add $150.00 for transportation to and from Logan.
Please keep in mind often this expense including travel is a total tax write off for those in business or starting a new business. If you have looked into franchise costs, you can see how much you are getting here for your investment. Unlike franchises, you are not required to purchase supplies from us. You also receive a list of all our favorite suppliers.
Our average sale is $300.00 so as you can see, you will recoup your investment quickly. Not only do we teach you how to press wedding flowers, keep in mind that funeral flowers are an even better way to make money as families tend to order multiple pieces. At Everlastings, I would say around one fourth of our business is funeral work. We spend a lot of time discussing marketing, what works, what doesn’t, where to show your product etc. The bottom line is this is a fantastic obvious add-on for any flower shop or florist working from home and many florists find this is a great segue into semi-retirement, as it is not quite as demanding as many retail businesses. I did have a retail location for many years and sold ad on giftware but 5 years ago, updated the website and I now work entirely from home including teaching from home. Again, please look at your schedule and allow me a few weeks to be thoroughly prepared for you with frames, glass, mat board, flowers etc…..I want this to be a fun yet productive and worthwhile class for all my students. A non-refundable deposit is required when setting your date. Once we receive your deposit, fresh flowers will be purchased and pressed for you and ready at your arrival. Please review our website and prices and offerings. Thanks for your interest and we hope to meet you soon!
‘We are located in Crystal River, Florida. A few miles from the Gulf of Mexico, so some students opt to rent a car and do some sightseeing after or before the classes.
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