COLLEGE STATION – University students shouldn’t always focus on the highest paying jobs. At least that shouldn’t be the first priority, according a nationally known florist.
“Find something you love and make money doing it. That’s what I tell students,” said Joyce Mason-Monheim of Tucson, Ariz., a floral designer known for her “lapel art.”
As the American Institute of Floral Designers’ Artist in Residence for Texas A&M University floral club students, Mason-Monheim recently conducted a hands-on lecture about a current trend – floral jewelry.
“Exposure is the best thing for students. The more they see, the more creative they can be,” she said in an interview prior to the class. “It’s the creative side that keeps you fresh. In the floral industry, you are creating flowers for people’s emotions.”
Mason-Monheim acknowledged that the floral industry is not known for having a high pay scale, but “one can be successful in it, if you love it.”
She should know. Entering college without a degree in mind, Mason-Monheim took a course in a brand new major – floriculture.
“I was hooked,” she recalled. “And I was very fortunate to work in two different high-end shops before deciding to focus on teaching. My 25 years in the flower shops were fun. I loved it.”
Among her most memorable floral arrangements, she said, were flowers for eight inaugural balls held for President George H.W. Bush and several floats for the Rose Parade.
“The Rose Parade was the hardest physical job I’ve ever done,” she said. “All of the freshest flowers had to added at the last minute, and there was a time crunch in which to get all of the floats ready. But it was a great experience.”
Her instruction for the Texas A&M students demonstrated floral jewelry, a new trend in which jewelry made especially for the floral market has flowers and plants added.
“These are not the same old flowers,” she said. “You make jewelry and add flowers. You can even use just little pieces of a plant.”
She said the trend has become more popular because for many special occasions such as weddings and proms, dresses no longer have a place on which to pin a corsage.
“Floral jewelry may include wristlets, hair pieces, purse decorations and broaches,” Mason-Monheim said. “The piece becomes a keepsake after the flowers are gone.”
Bill McKinley, Texas A&M Benz School of Floral Design director, said the Artist in Residence program is mutually beneficial for the floral industry, the students and the university.
“It is wonderful to have a national floral industry organization like the American Institute of Floral Designers that puts such a strong emphasis on education through its 12 student chapters,” McKinley said. “The Artist in Residence program is used nationwide and directly impacts 200-300 students each year.”
See more examples of floral jewelry and get information about floral design education at the Benz School Facebook site, https://www.facebook.com/BenzSchool.