When Kirsten VanDijk gets her mind set on something you are in for a ride. Her hawk-like focus and unwavering determination have been both admired and dismissed in equal measure. Designer, Teacher, Competitor, Friend, or Foe, Kirsten is all of those. Either you love her or you hate her. And she’s okay with that.
Project Flower Show
It was November of 2016 when VanDijk realized she had the vision and resources to create a new platform for the International Flower World. She saw a void that needed filling and knew that her keen eye for design and her knowledge and experience in floral design competition were the tools she had in her toolbox that could create a platform to educate and entertain. Project Flower Show was born. Kirsten opened the group to the public. Project Flower Show was a Private Facebook Group up until this March. When COVID-19 swept across the world and closed borders, VanDijk decided to do the opposite. Kirsten opened the group to the public to enlarge the community and content. “Letting go of the curated post concept was difficult but necessary,” says VanDijk. “With the flower world under siege for some time now, things have become ‘Tribal’. I don’t see that as the path to salvation. We need to be inclusive.”
Competitions That Are Both Judged and Critiqued
Project Flower Show holds regular competitions with the goal of teaching the members to enter the arena and design without fear of failure. Master Florists from around the world are invited to share their talent and time in judging for the members' benefit. The motivation behind this concept was to create a collaborative environment where the Designer and Judge team up to create an educational tool. “And the cultural differences in design and in the judging of design”, VanDijk explains, “add to the member experience”. Each competition is both judged AND critiqued with Links to Results so that all members can understand what makes a design a ‘Winner’. In-depth critiques reference the Elements and Principles of Design.
These competitions and the members who compete are something VanDijk considers ‘essential’. Between competitions, Kirsten shares work from designers on a daily basis, both well-known and unknown, adding her preface to help members ‘See’ what she sees. Inspiration for Creation as it were. “I’m a talent scout of floral design” explains Kirsten.” I can see a winning design a mile away. My mantra for some 20 years has been ‘Competition is the Evolution of Design’ and in my own process of evolution, I have reached a point where I can now share my floral vision globally.