This lovely, bubbly, enthusiastic and yet very down-to-earth floral designer who lives and works in Chile is Francisca Pérez. She's also an EMC Teacher. She continues to stretch and challenge herself to further develop her conscious creativity, always wanting to gain more knowledge and insight, whilst encouraging others to follow in her wake. The distance that she has had to journey to gain the knowledge that she wanted so strongly is made even more remarkable when you learn that she is very allergic to pollen and lactose intolerant but cannot live without flowers or chocolate!
A Floral Interview With Francisca Pérez
Francisca came across flowers by chance over fifteen years ago, and from that moment on it became a passion for this charming Chilean mother, who leads a very busy life balancing her work as a wedding and events designer and a teacher for EMC, whilst bringing up three small children; all of which has been made more complicated by the effects of the pandemic on all areas of her life. She comes from a family of teachers, so it has been a natural progression in recent years to want to transmit to others and instil into them, her enthusiasm for the wonderful word of florals. Having developed her own conscious creativity through experiencing the challenges, encouragement and inspiration from those involved in the EMC family, and finding her own signature style, it has been a natural progression for her to want to pass this on to others, especially in her own country and around her in other countries of South and Latin America, where it is difficult for florists and designers to tap into high level training and knowledge of the international world of floral designing.
So Francisca Pérez, tell our readers a little bit more about yourself?
"Living in the centre of Santiago, the capital city of Chile, I've always been a creative and busy person, with an artistic ability that expressed itself in multiple ways. When I left school, my intention was to study theatre. But having had excellent academic results, I started studying law at the best University in Chile, as it was what was expected of me. I feel that it was the world of floral design that ‘saved’ me, allowing to rediscover my passion and creativity, immersed in the amazing beauty and perfection that only flowers have."
When did you decide you wanted more education in floristry? Was it easy to find in Chile?
"Sometimes I say I feel Chile not only seems to be at the end of the world, but indeed it is! Seeking to gain a wider knowledge of designing with flowers which I could not find in my own country, I was forced to travel so that I could learn more about floral design from designers such as Gregor Lersch and, ultimately, EMC. I completed my Foundation Course in Mexico, followed by the Self Practicum online and finally graduated in Bruges, Belgium in 2018. It was inconvenient at first, as it meant a strain financially and on my family, but it allowed me to train with some of the best floral designers in the world and to discover my conscious creativity."
How did it go, to study in English?
"I realized that there had to be an international language for all the students, but it has been very hard at times. Although I have to be honest, it made me even more determined to work hard and to complete the course."
An interesting comment that she made was about the determination shown by some to overcome an initial difficulty with the language so that they can gain as much knowledge and expertise through the EMC experience, to become fabulous designers.
How is the availability of flowers and foliages for floral designers in Chile?
"Knowing that there is now a very successful floriculture industry in Colombia and Ecuador, Chilean florists and designers sometimes don't have access to them as you would think. The range and quality of flower available is limited, which means that the designers must be very flexible in the way they use what is available to them. And unfortunately, foraging is something that is not possible in Santiago. But when I go on holiday with the family once or twice a year, I relishe the possibilities for collecting shells from the long shoreline, wood, and other much treasured items, which I take back to my home in the city as welcome additions to my designs."
Do you believe in online education?
"I'm a great believer in the power of online education. The pandemic has changed so much of what we all considered to be normal, and we must learn to be more flexible in our attitudes to the way we work. I've been teaching and demonstrating online during lockdown and I feel that it's very successful, especially in the current restrictions. I want to maintain my connections with the students, I value that so much."
How is business during this pandamic?
"Trade for floral designs has grown during lock-down in Chile, with clients wanting to cheer themselves up and tell others that they care about them during the difficult times. This is something that seems to have occurred right across the international floral world and which has helped greatly to compensate with the downturn in the wedding and event business."
Do you have a favorite flower? And a signature style?
"My favorite flower is the Helleborus, in all its colors and varieties. I'm convinced that they are the flowers that ‘dance’ most of all. And my signature style?"
A comment which refers to the words used by Gregor Lersch
"Your designs always have flowers dancing in them."
This, she feels, is now her signature style and so she is very happy to be known for her light, transparent touch.