GREEN may be the new black for fashionistas this summer but for floral designer Fayette Scherwinski it will never go out of season.
The master of floral art recently returned to the metro after 20 years living in her father's homeland of Germany. Previously head of the Master School of Floral Design in Dresden, Sherwinski plans to open a similar academy here in co-operation with Dresden, enabling her students to obtain a certificate from the German Chamber of Commerce.
"I would love to prove that Port Elizabeth is a place where wonderful things can start," she said. "Unlike in Europe, the South African market is at that exciting starting stage and I feel extremely honoured to share my experience."
She and her children moved overseas "mainly to spend time with my parents" but she has visited from time to time.
Already, Sherwinski and German chef Ralph Gottschalk, who is opening a culinary academy in Port Elizabeth in 2013, have been sharing ideas of how master craftsmen can spread knowledge of their professions.
She also has designed flowers for an elegant wedding at Lake de la Vie, using 6500 imported orchids as well as lilies, lisianthus, roses and fynbos.
"Sooner or later every person needs flowers. We come with flowers and we go with flowers and our most precious moments will always be associated with beautiful blossoms," she said.
There are three main stems in Sherwinski's bouquet: Fine Flowers, Flowers 2 Go and the floral academy, for which she is now translating course notes and applying for accreditation.
"In Germany you study for three years and do an apprenticeship. Then, if you want to open a shop, you need at least four years of experience and a master's degree so it is extremely professional."
As well as demanding considerable skill, floristry is also hard work, she said: "I am not scared to dirty my hands, that is the only way that you will have a success story.
"Life is what you make of it but you have to pick up the pieces yourself and put it together.
"That is the essence of my work, what I learned in Europe. The people work very hard in Germany."
She rebutted the suggestion that flowers were a luxury: "There is something for every
pocket and every person has different priorities so what one defines as luxury, another does not.
"Cut flowers are expensive but you do not need 100 orchids, you just need one."
Equally, the temporary nature of a bouquet or arrangement does not depress her as she often designs a piece using a structure of dry material which the customer can top up with fresh flowers when the first blooms fade.
Although many flowers are seasonal, each brings its own joys, she said.
"There is no beginning or end, life is a never-ending-story and when the one things goes, the next comes so you don't have a chance to be sad."
She believes South Africans do not rate their natural heritage highly enough: "We have so many amazing things, and all the raw materials are here. Flowers are part of our culture. Where are we going if we do not value this, and pass it on to the next generation?"
Floral art workshop to teach basic skills in Bay
FAYETTE Scherwinski is running a two-day interactive workshop in the basics of floral art later this month.
"A lot of people may want to make something but do not have the technique," she said.
The course, to be held on Friday October 26 and Saturday October 27, will cover theory and practice and is open to novices as well as staff at established florists.
Sherwinski has lectured floral art to trainee florists for more than a decade in Germany. She also has taught abroad in countries as diverse as Poland, Taiwan and Korea using the services of a translator.
"What I loved about Germany is that it is about the personality of the flower. You have to place it in the arrangement in a way that complements the personality of the flower," she said.
"Participants will learn how to condition flowers and foliage and how to use their colour, texture, shape, movement and personality when arranging."
Scherwinski is planning to give students the necessary basic skills in designing and arranging floral bouquets on the course, to be held at the Moffett on Main Lifestyle Centre.
She has joined the Algoa Floral and Garden Club and will be presenting a Christmas demonstration.