Ten of America’s most talented floral designers faced off in the FTD America’s Cup at the 2018 AIFD National Symposium in Washington, D.C. At stake? The honor of representing FTD and the United States in the FTD World Cup, which will be held at the Philadelphia Flower Show in March of 2019. The World Cup of flowers is the most prestigious international design competition and is held every four to six years.
The 10 selected competitors were:
- Cindy Anderson AIFD, CFD, PFCI, Colorado Springs, CO
- Samantha Bates AIFD, CFD, Especially for You Floral, Ponchatoula, LA
- Maggie Binet AIFD, AAF, CFD, PFCI, The School of Floral Arts, Denver, CO
- Laura Daluga AIFD, CFD, Keller and Stein Florist, Canton, MI
- Sally Jablonski, Herbert E. Berg Florist, Worcester, MA
- Greg Lum AIFD, EMC, CFD, Lee’s Florist & Nursery, Berkeley, CA
- Katharina Stuart AIFD, CFD, CCF, Lee’s Florist & Nursery, Berkeley, CA
- Jorge Uribe CFD, Urban Floral, Wolcott, CT
- Derek Woodruff AIFD, CFD, PFCI, CF, Floral Underground, Traverse City, MI
- Randy Wooten AIFD, PFCI, GMF, Delorice’s Florist, Douglas, GA
Competitors began prepping for the first design on Saturday, June 30 and the competition kicked off on July 1.
Design #1 – Theme Piece: “Use of Line”
Design #1 was a theme piece in which competitors were challenged to create a unique structural design that creatively highlighted the use of line. The finished design needed to be a geometric shape or structure that included fresh product.
Design #2 – Surprise Package: “Chopped: Floral Style”
Design #2 was the first surprise package of the day and the competition was open to AIFD Symposium attendees to watch in awe and cheer on the designers. Taking a page from a popular cooking show, “Chopped: Floral Style” challenged the competitors to become “floral chefs” and create a distinctive design using Craspedia, Big Star Eucalyptus, neon orange weed whacker string and neon green vet wrap bandages. Additional fresh products and hard goods were also available in addition to these required “ingredients.”
Design #3 – Surprise Package: “Simply Hand-Tied”
Design #3 was a second surprise package that came hot on the heels of the first. “Simply Hand-Tied” challenged the competitors to create a hand-tied bouquet utilizing only green and white flowers and foliage ranging from Green Trick Dianthus to Hanging Amaranthus. The competitors were encouraged to let the textures and hues inspire exceptional creativity – while still creating a bouquet that could be held in one hand.
After the first three tasks, scores were tallied by the judges and four contestants moved forward to the finals. Those contestants were Samantha Bates, Laura Daluga, Katharina Stuart and Derek Woodruff.
When judging the floral designs, judges looked closely at the interpretation of the category (25 points), principles and elements of design (50 points) and mechanics (25 points). Each of these three areas had multiple criteria that helped the judges arrive at their final scores.
Design #4 – Finals: “Outside the Crate”
On July 3, the four finalists crafted Design #4, a third surprise package dubbed “Outside the Crate,” on the Main Stage in front of hundreds and hundreds of spectators. This design challenged the finalists to incorporate a wooden crate into their design in any way they chose. Along with the crate, the competitors received flowers in bright and brilliant jewel tones. There were no size restrictions with this design, allowing the competitors’ imaginations to run wild.
The winner was announced to a packed ballroom of the industry’s best floral designers and suppliers on July 4 at the AIFD Leadership Luncheon. In the end, Katharina Stuart from Berkeley, CA emerged victorious and will now represent the USA and FTD at FTD World Cup!
FTD thanks the esteemed panel of competition judges, all of whom are past Interflora World Cup contestants: Deborah De La Flor AIFD (Australia – 2004; Germany – 2015, Judge), Jacob McCall AIFD (Germany – 2015), Phil Rulloda AIFD (United States – 1974) and J. Keith White AIFD (China – 2010). Special thanks as well to the members of the technical committee, Tina Coker AIFD (Australia – 2004, Judge) and Keith Harbison AIFD.0