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The hands-on experience of flower power.

Byline: Hilarie Stelfox ,

Traditional style Sheila Rodgers with an arrangement from her garden.

Pictures by Julian Hughes (4763-1-06)

MODERN LOOKJoan O'Brien with her contemporary arrangement

The art of flower arranging is blooming in Huddersfield with the launch of a new club. HILARIE STELFOX reports

NEW exotic blooms and contemporary fashions in interior design have contributed to the renaissance of flower arranging in the past few years.

Because of this floral art teacher and demonstrator Sheila Rodgers doesn't anticipate too many problems finding members for a new organisation, the Pennine Borders Flower Club, that she is founding with one of her pupils, Joan O'Brien.

In fact the club's first event, an evening with celebrity florist Carl Wilde, is already a sell- out.

"We had 100 tickets which went within days," said Sheila, who has been teaching flower arranging for 25 years.

While the club is being launched at the event, those interested in signing up for membership will also be welcome at the December 6 meeting in Meltham Parish Hall (7.15pm).

Sheila, from Honley, and Joan, from Birkby, decided that there was an opening for a flower club that offered workshops and hands-on experience to amateur flower arrangers.

"There was a club in Meltham, which folded five years ago, so there are a lot of ladies in the Meltham area that are missing out. We think we will attract younger people who want to actually do arranging, not just watch others," she explained.

Men are welcome too, of course. "Some of the best flower arrangers in the country are Yorkshiremen, like Carl," said Sheila.

Although Sheila teaches adult education classes mornings and afternoons in Slaithwaite and Holmfirth she no longer takes night classes.

Joan is a student at the Slaithwaite class and both women are members of the New Dimensions contemporary flower arranging group that meets in York.

"I teach a combination of the traditional and contemporary arrangements," said Sheila. "Flower arranging is very popular at the moment.

" It's something anyone can do and they can use things from their own gardens. It can be expensive but I find that people spend what they like.

" Some people spend a lot on flowers, others do it on a shoestring. They become quite adept at searching pound shops and charity shops for candles and dishes," she added.

A former secondary school teacher - her subjects were history and geography - Sheila became interested in flower arranging after attending night school herself.

Because of her teaching background she was asked to take classes when her teacher retired and so a new career was born.

Sheila is now a freelance demonstrator, flower show judge and teacher. She has travelled the world both competing and judging flower shows.

Joan, who also has a background in teaching, retired three years ago as head of school of caring at Huddersfield Technical College.

Having more spare time on her hands meant that she could pursue her interest in flower arranging.

Although the new flower club is barely off the ground, it has already received its first request - to mastermind a flower festival at Honley Parish Church next year.

Eventually it is hoped that the new club will affiliate to the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies.

Anyone interested in joining should call Sheila on 01484 661347 before the December meeting.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Nov 8, 2006
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