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Learning the Math and Science of Beauty at the Miami School of Flower Design

By S. Mathur

From a sampler class for beginners to intensive master courses, the Miami School of Flower Design offers instruction in floral arrangement for everyone. Owner and celebrity florist Mike Gaffney believes that flowers tap into all the positive emotions: "Flower design is the arrangement of individual flower stems into pattern pleasing to the human eye. Flower design emotes feelings of love, happiness, peace, healing, reward, kindness and many other emotions."

For Gaffney, flower design involves the basic principles of design, which he calls "the math and science of beauty." One of the things students value most about the Miami School of Flower Design is the understanding of design and its relation to flower arrangement they learn at the school. There's also the fact that the school gives students all the flowers they could want to practice with, says Gaffney.

"The thing that sets us apart from all the other design facilities is our method of teaching with architects - math and science to relay the understanding of design...also the amount of flowers we give our students everyday. We give a huge amount of flowers for students to work with."

The location helps, with the school being located inside a wholesale flower market. A tour of the Berkely Flower Wholesaler is part of each class, with advice on how to buy the best and most suitable flowers and greenery. When it comes to flowers and design, Gaffney is a widely acknowledged expert: he wrote the book on flower design. Two of them, in fact: Design Star and Flower Power, incorporating the lessons and concepts that students learn in class. Gaffney makes regular TV appearances and had designed the flowers for two movies: Jack Goes Boating and Black Swan.

Classes at the Miami School of Flower Design last from one to four weeks and Gaffney himself teaches many of them. Students gain a basic grounding in nine different styles, including American, European, Bridal and perfect vasing. Gaffney says that Asian design influences are also very important: "I tell students they need to know old school and new school because they never know who their client is going to be... one of one of our most popular styles is an Asian influence design consisting of vertical and horizontal lines throughout the arrangement."

The Miami School of Flower Design is part of the Milwaukee-based American School of Flower Design, which has locations in fourteen cities. Classes also include discussions of opening and managing a florist store, and freelancing as a floral designer. Gaffney thinks that Florida is a wonderful location for a flower school.

"It gives our business access to great flowers as there are many flower markets here located in South Florida and also gives us a range of both traditional and contemporary homes and places to design for. We love it here South Florida. I'm in love with the architecture of Miami."

For more information or to find out how you can get involved, feel free to visit their website!

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