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This article was published 11/7/2017 (834 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Capping off graduation season with a unique accomplishment of her own, Brandon florist Trish Fjeldsted received her American Institute of Floral Designers accreditation last week.
The "PhD" of the florist industry, she is now the only person in Westman to carry the distinction, and one of few in the Prairie provinces.
Already established as co-owner of The Bloom Box with husband Shaun, she said that she sought the designation as a means of challenging herself.
Accredited members are "the most brilliant, creative minds and I wanted to be around and be a part of that," she said.
Her journey to the accreditation began when she was a "Junior Gardener" with the Horticultural Society of Brandon beginning at 10 years of age.
Her grandmother got her into gardening around that time, with the two embarking on backyard gardening projects together. This led to her gaining employment at Foster’s Floral Fashions by the time she was 15 years old.
She’d always figured it was "just an after-school job" and a "hobby," so she sought post-secondary education in other fields on graduating from high school, only to return to floral designing in 1998, when she found employment at Podjan’s Academy Florist, at 535 Princess Ave.
She and husband Shaun bought the company approximately 10 years later, renaming it The Bloom Box a few years after that.
There’s a unique artistry to floral designs that Fjeldsted said always leaves her wanting to do better, which led her to pursue American Institute of Floral Designers accreditation during their annual symposium in Anaheim, Calif., last summer.
Prior to the symposium, she qualified for the final round of accreditation by earning greater than 80 per cent on a written exam.
In Anaheim, she joined various other florists in embarking on a more hands-on skills test.
They were provided a collection of material to draw from and four hours to create four pieces as described and one piece that was a duplicate of a photo.
Those who watch the television cooking show "Chopped" know the routine — only in this case with flowers instead of food.
During this year’s annual symposium, at Seattle, Wash., on July 4, she was given the accreditation she sought, learning that she had passed the previous year’s test with flying colours.
"It’s not easy to get, and it just recognizes Trish as one of the highest level of floral artists in the world," north central regional representative Loann Burke said.
Although the accreditation is "American" by name, an international group of florists seek and receive the accreditation each year, with 77 people from across the world inducted last week.
Of those inducted, three were Canadian, with Fjeldsted the only Manitoban named at this year’s ceremony.
"There’s a certain level of skill and talent involved and you really have to know your art," Burke said, drawing a parallel between the certification and earning a fine arts degree, in that both fields incorporate the same principles of colour, balance, proportion, contrast and other visuals.
Having reached the top of her field, Fjeldsted said that her next step would be teaching others the skills that she has developed.
» Twitter: @TylerClarkeMB