• Handpicked Harrogate

Harrogate girl wins prestigious floristry awards with ballerina bouquet

A floristry design student from Harrogate has won two awards for her ballet inspired bouquet at the annual British Floristry Association (BFA) competition.

Third year student at Bishop Burton College, Olivia Whitely, won the best bridal bouquet award and the most innovative design, beating more than 500 other designs to the title.

The 21 year old was asked to design a non-traditional bouquet for this year's competition, and the award-winning masterpiece was created as part of her third year dissertation project.

Using the world of ballet as her inspiration, Olivia created a unique bridal bouquet inspired by the lightness and shapes seen in ballerinas.

She said; "“I’ve always loved ballet - it’s so romantic and elegant, so to use that as my inspiration for a bridal bouquet was an obvious choice.

“Like a ballerina, I felt that the bouquet had to be light and delicate, and that’s what guided my choice of flora.”

Comprised of spray roses, orchids, brunia, chrysanthemums, kalanchoe and tillandsia, the bouquet took over three days to create.

The judges chose the design as the most innovative for its use of non-traditional floristry techniques, including using fabric hardener, which is more commonly used in art and design projects.

Olivia said: “Looking at the other competitors, I felt very nervous as their design were very technical and all highly skilled.

“But what I noticed was that elements of each design had been seen before in other competitions or from other floral designers.

"I felt my approach was new to floristry competitions but never in a million years did I think I would win.”

Ruth Robinson, programme leader for floristry said: “I’m extremely proud of Olivia on these two awards – she’s worked hard throughout her three years on the floristry degree programme at the College, and these wins mark a culmination of all of that hard work, determination and dedication.

"She is a fantastic designer and has an exciting future ahead of her. To win these accolades, for a university project, suggests she’s going to have a very promising career in floristry."

Olivia said; “I’m so pleased to have won the awards, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the amazing support from my tutor Ruth Robinson.

"She has always been there for me, encouraging me to push myself further and enter competitions like the BFA competition. I don’t know where I would be without her.”

Olivia will now take part in next year’s World Skills competition where she will compete with other young florists from across the country to secure the title of Young Florist of the Year.