Whidbey Island Flower Workshop 2017

Location: Comforts of Whidbey Winery

5219 View Rd
Langley, WA 98260

This flower workshop and creative retreat will focus on innovative, updated trends in floral creations & event styling.  This inspiring escape to Whidbey Island is designed to recharge your business as well as your creative juices!

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We are over the moon to invite you to dig in to this exciting, jam-packed 2+ day flower 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.  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.

We are thrilled to welcome EcoFresh Bouquet and Frankie & Maude as contributors to our flower workshop.  Come learn how to use EcoFresh Bouquet wraps as a hydration source/foam alternative.  Frankie & Maude will be sharing their beautiful gowns for our photoshoot.  I bet you can’t wait to have some of their mad talent included in your portfolio!!  Learn more about our generous contributors at the bottom of this page, below itinerary.

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.  Scroll down to “meet” our instructors and learn what they’ll cover.

Investment & Registration

Registration is open!  The cost is $1900 (plus sales tax of 8.7%).  This will be a fairly intimate group (15 – 20) and very few seats are left – reserve yours soon!  Full payment is required at the time of registration.  Register here.  All tickets are non-refundable, but they are transferable.

Included in the cost:

  • Admission to the workshop (see the itinerary below)
  • Dessert and drinks for the welcome session
  • Snacks & lunches on Monday and Tuesday
  • Farewell feast on Tuesday night
  • All materials
  • Professional photos for your own portfolio use of you work with professional models and in artfully styled settings

Not Included (but we are more than happy to help you arrange this):

  • Lodging (we have room blocks reserved at the winery for your best rates – we would love to help you with this!)
  • Transportation

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We have awarded two half-price scholarships; congratulations to Wild Child Flower Company and KittyWitch Botanicals!

Hear a little more about our flower workshop on Debra Prinzing’s Slow Flowers Podcast (it’s at the end, but the whole thing is worth listening to!).

Our Instructors

Susan McLeary

Susan will teach at Whidbey Island FLower Workshop

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 two whole 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.


Kaleb Norman James

Kaleb Norman James will teach at Whidbey Island Flower Workshop

Kaleb Norman James of Kaleb Norman James Design 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.


Debra Prinzing

Debra Prinzing will teach brand writing at Whidbey Island FLower Workshop

Debra Prinzing, champion of the Slow Flowers Movement and long-famous garden writer, will lead us in 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.


Sullivan & Sullivan Photography

The creative team from Sullivan & Sullivan Photography will be on hand throughout the session to document student work.  While they aren’t technically instructors, I felt they deserve the top-level introduction since their outstanding images of your fabulous work will be available to you to include in your portfolio and branding materials.

Location & Host

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 arranged.

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 be a night to remember.  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.


Sunday April 23:  

  • Bonus option!  Open farm tour at Flying Bear Farm in Langley, 1-3
  • Break to explore Langley and for early dinner (students are on their own)

Welcome & check in 6:00 – 9 pm

  • Cheese, dessert, coffee & wine
  • Mingle & meet
  • Finding your artistic voice with Debra Prinzing

Monday April 24, 9 – 5:

  • Updated bouquet techniques with Susan McLeary
  • Foam-free centerpieces with Susan McLeary
  • Tablescaping with Kaleb Norman James
  • Centerpieces and tablescapes photographed

Tuesday April 25, 9 – 4:

  • Wearables with Susan McLeary
  • Large scale foam-free installation with Susan McLeary
  • Bouquets, wearables, and installation photographed with models

Tuesday night, 7-10:

  • Farewell feast!

Wednesday, April 26:

  • Bonus option!  Visit the very special Seattle Wholesale Growers Market and celebrate their 6th anniversary!  This is going to be a big to-do and it is HIGHLY recommended that you get yourself there!  This is not included in the workshop, but if anyone needs help figuring out how to get there, I’m happy to assist!  This is a ferry ride and then a 30 mile drive south from Whidbey, but it is worth the trip.  It would be good looped in to a trip back to the airport or for a little Seattle exploration time.


Our Contributors

Frankie & Maude

We are so lucky to have gorgeous gowns made by the talented duo at Frankie & Maude for our photoshoot!  Meet Meghann and Kathleen, the talented team of women who lovingly design and handmake all their gowns in-house at their Bellingham, WA studio. In the global-oriented world of fashion (much like our world of imported flowers), we’ll call that dang local!  We love their commitment to having a light environmental and social footprint, their support of small business and women-owned business, and their belief in the individual beauty of all women.

wedding dress contributors to whidbey island flower workshop

Unique and Chic Event Rentals and Design

Unique and Chic Event Rentals is a contributor to the Whidbey Island Flower Workshop

We are so lucky to have another mother-daughter team from  Unique and Chic Event Rentals and Design contributing to this workshop!  The pieces from their beautiful collection of vintage & classic furniture will make our portfolio photos all the more lovely, and we’ll have such fun incorporating their beautiful china and other pieces into our tablescapes.   Gayle Coles and Holly Baker enjoy helping make furnishing events easy and fun. The business was created out of Holly’s love of events, design and finding unique pieces that can create the perfect atmosphere or compliment a theme. The other thing about their business that we love is their belief in building strong relationships within the wedding and event community as well as the local community and helping each other grow in success.


Grey & Cake

Grey and Cake paper company is a contributor to Whidbey Island Flower Workshop

I can’t wait for you all to have the opportunity to play with the CRAZY BEAUTIFUL creations of Kelsey from Grey & Cake, who also designed all the heartbreakingly beautiful paper goods for the workshop.  Kelsey used to be a Creative Director at a non-profit, doing freelance art for clients like Nordstrom and the Pacific Northwest Ballet.  When a local planner asked her to design a wedding suite for a client, Kelsey was surprised to find that work totally captured her heart and changed the direction of her career. And aren’t we glad it did!  Her obsession with fine paper, printing techniques and luxurious custom finishes combined with her mastery of the wonders of type, detail and flourish show in the quality of her incredibly breathtaking work.


EcoFresh Bouquet

foam-free alternative for sustainable floristry

Touted as an Unequivocal “Game Changer” in the Floral Industry. Finally, foam free floral design is possible!

Eco Fresh Bouquet Floral Hydration Stem Sponge-Wrap® System is the first eco-friendly mobile water resource that allows flowers to stay fresh and well hydrated with a professional appearance and flawless performance. From reliable transport to impressive cutting edge designs, captivate clients’ desires for new and exciting offerings all while increasing revenue. Perfect for transporting bouquets, cascading designs, weddings, large installations, events, holidays, farmers markets, and pop-up shops too!


Honeysilk Ribbon Co.

Honeysilk Ribbon Co sponsors Whidbey Island Flower Workshop

We are madly lucky to have the super generous support of Honeysilk Ribbon Co.  All the amazingly gorgeous workshop ribbon is provided by them – and let me tell you people, you are going to go crazy when you see it and be irreversibly in love when you touch it!!


La Tavola

La Tavola is a linen sponsor for Whidbey Island Flower Workshop

Students will create their tablescapes upon couture linens by La Tavola.  We are grateful to this boutique for their generous contribution!