Whidbey Island Flower Workshop: A creative and inspiring escape designed to recharge your business! 


This floral & event design workshop retreat will focus on innovative, updated trends in floral creations & event styling.


We are over the moon to invite you to dig in to this exciting, jam-packed 2+ day workshop designed to expand your creativity, style, and floral mechanics horizons! Join Susan Mcleary of Passionflower Events, Debra Prinzing of Slow Flowers, Kaleb Norman James of Kaleb Norman James Design, and Tobey Nelson of Tobey Nelson Events & Design at a cozy Pacific Northwest island winery for an inspirational getaway designed to help you develop your creative voice, refine and update your floral design skills, perfect your tablescaping game, and get hands-on experience creating a large floral installation without foam.  During the course of the workshop we will discuss sourcing, pricing, creative challenges, staying renewed and inspired, working with your farmer, and more.  Each student will have hands-on experience and all work will be professionally photographed with professional models to be used by students in their portfolios, websites, branding etc.

This course is designed for the floral professional who has some skills and experience but who wants to expand their creative horizons and update their mechanics so they can avoid floral foam in their practices.

We’ll kick off the Whidbey Island flower workshop on Sunday evening.  Over wine and nibbles, Debra Prinzing, champion of the Slow Flowers Movement and long-famous garden writer, will lead us in some creative writing exercises inspired by the garden, nature and flowers, designed to energize and help us find our unique creative voice.  You will come away from this evening with new tools in your toolboxes to communicate your unique brand to the world. Debra’s goal is for you to possess a clear vision for your brand distinctives and have a glossary of effective storytelling language to support the marketing for your floral business.

Susan Mcleary of Passionflower is one of the nation’s hottest floral designers.  Susan is leading the way in innovative floristry techniques for not just for wearables, which she is know the world over for, but also for her beautiful bouquets, centerpieces and large installations.  We’ll spend the better part of two days with Susan!  Under her instruction, each student will make a bridal bouquet using updated techniques and mechanics, a centerpiece without foam, updated personal wearables including boutonnieres & corsages as well as a wearable such as a necklace or crown.  She will also lead us in creating a large installation, under which we will feast on the final evening.  We will work with only the most luscious, locally-sourced and American grown product including lots of spring treasures grown right here on Whidbey Island.

Kaleb Norman James is one of Seattle’s top event designers.  He will lead us in a mini-session on table top design. Creating a truly unique tablescape is more than just a combination of floral & place settings. We will discuss the art and technique behind establishing a tablescape’s foundation with linens, building it’s structure with beautifully appointed china, glassware & flatware and adding centerpieces with strategic placement and the appropriate accompaniments.  We will talk through concepts such as the rules of thirds, proper use of highs and lows and strategically appointed color palettes. After the instruction, students will work in small groups to create a mini-tablescape to combine with their centerpiece.  This will be professionally photographed for student’s portfolio/marketing use.

The creative team from Sullivan & Sullivan Photography will be on hand throughout the session to document student work.  Following the workshop, their outstanding images of your fabulous work will be available to you to include in your portfolio and branding materials.

The event will be hosted at Comforts of Whidbey winery and event center just outside of the quaint seaside town of Langley.  Some lodging is available on site, and additional lodging will be arranged for you offsite.  Transportation to and from the hotel to the workshop each day will be provided.

Throughout the workshop hostess/event producer Tobey Nelson will make sure you are comfortable and well provided for.  You will enjoy delicious snacks and lunches lovingly crafted from local ingredients.  The farewell feast dinner, held under our amazing floral installation on our beautifully laid tables, will knock your socks off.  Tobey wants you to feel relaxed & pampered, free to dream about your business and dig deep into your creativity to get the most out of this amazing opportunity.


Investment & Registration
The cost for this value-packed workshop is $1900. This will be a fairly intimate group with limited seats so you are encouraged to reserve yours soon!  There are very few seats left!  Full payment is requested at the time of registration.  All tickets are non-refundable, but they are transferable.  Click the button above, or call Tobey (360.632.0686) to make arrangements.

Ticket price includes admission to the workshop (see the itinerary below); dessert and drink for the welcome session, lunches on Monday and Tuesday, and the farewell feast on Tuesday night.  Transportation to and from Langley lodging to the winery each day is included.  Lodging and transportation to Whidbey Island is NOT included, but we will help you arrange this.  Contact Tobey for more info.


We have awarded two half-price scholarships.  Congratulations to

Susan will teach at Whidbey Island FLower Workshop

Susan Mcleary is a floral designer, artist and instructor who creates unusual, boundary-pushing floral art including elaborate headpieces, flower crowns, and her signature succulent jewelry. Her soulful, seasonally-inspired creations and floral wearables have been described as exquisite living artwork.

Susan has trained with some of the country’s leading floral designers, including Francoise Weeks, Erin Benzakein and Holly Chapple and has developed her own distinctive style of floral design. Considered one of the country’s top designers of floral wearables and living jewelry, Susan received one gold and three silver medals and placed second overall in the 2014 Fusion Flowers International Designer of the Year competition.

Susan’s work has been featured on the cover of Fusion Flowers Magazine and in leading industry publications and websites including Modern Wedding Flowers, Style Me Pretty and The Knot.  Susan is a member of Chapel Designers and Slow Flowers.  A frequent featured designer on Etsy, her designs and living jewelry has been praised for its originality, sustainability and style.

Kaleb Norman James will teach at Whidbey Island Flower Workshop

Since the age of 12, Kaleb Norman James has worked in the event industry, learning the art & practice of floral & event design. Choosing to embrace his passions and forego traditional forms of education, Kaleb was trained by jumping head first into the event industry and teaching himself the technique and style that is behind his signature aesthetic today. His work has been featured in many national magazines & blogs & includes clients such as The Seattle Seahawks, Emmy’s & Pacific Northwest Ballet. His inspiration comes from his love of international travel, fashion and amazing food. Whether it’s an Italian seaside, killer pair of leather wingtips or the perfect caprese, it’s the quality of a life well lived that sets the stage for a remarkable event. Kaleb has come to discover that when you do what you love, work and play become one in the same.

Debra Prinzing will teach brand writing at Whidbey Island FLower Workshop

Debra Prinzing is a Seattle-based writer, speaker and leading advocate for American Grown Flowers. Through her many Slow Flowers-branded projects, she has convened a national conversation that stimulates consumers and professionals alike to make conscious choices about their floral purchases.

Debra is the producer of SlowFlowers.com, the online directory to American grown farms, florists, shops and studios who supply domestic and local flowers. Each Wednesday, approximately 1,200 listeners tune into Debra’s “Slow Flowers Podcast,” available for free downloads at her web site, debraprinzing.com, or on iTunes and via other podcast services.

In 2016, the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farm-to-florist cooperative, honored Debra with the first Growers Choice Award for her “outstanding contributions to revitalizing the local floral community.” Debra serves as the Public Advisory Member of the Certified American Grown Counsel. In 2016, GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators inducted her into its Hall of Fame.  She is the author of 10 books, including Slow Flowers and The 50 Mile Bouquet.