Flower Power with Nambour Floral Society
For 35 years, the Nambour Floral Art Society has been creating elegant art pieces from homegrown flora. Their love for this botanical craft has led them beyond club competitions and into the community, where the locals delight in their creations, as Georgia Beard discovers.
When the Nambour Floral Art Society (NFAS) gathers on the third Wednesday of every month, creativity comes into bloom.
This evergreen group of floral enthusiasts meet in the Nambour Uniting Church, transforming flowers and foliage into intricate natural designs. They prove that floral arrangement is more than a craft – it connects people and communities.
The group attracts members from Bundaberg to Caboolture; anyone with an imaginative mind and green fingers to translate it. Each member brings a basket from their garden and settles in for a workshop or demonstration. They manipulate leaves and stems, arrange bouquets, design tribal headpieces – all culminating in group competitions known as benchwork.
NFAS literally grew from the ground up in 1987. After completing a course in flower arrangement at TAFE and loving it, founding member Beryl Robertson formed a club with a handful of classmates. Since then, members have created floral art for their own homes, church services, community initiatives and everything in between.
NFAS President Sue Fingleton hasn’t missed a meeting since she joined in 2000. Before then, she and her sister used to arrange their mother’s gerberas, posies and chrysanthemums in bunches to sell at markets.
“My mother always said we should learn how to arrange flowers properly, because we were just making it up as we were going along,” Sue says.
Alongside Beryl, she’s now a qualified judge on the competition panel. Every month, members bring a chosen theme to life with organic displays of homegrown flora. Winners then get to progress to new levels of expertise, from novice to advanced.
Sue says she encourages competing members to use sprays of foliage, highlighting a small number of purposefully selected flowers.
“We usually use what’s available around here. For special occasions, we’ll call in on the big guys and go to the wholesalers and order in,” she says. “We can go wild and use what we like.”
Every year, the NFAS hits the Queensland Garden Expo with exhibitions and installations. Sue says it’s often where they pick up new members, too.
This year, NFAS will also offer a demonstrator for the virtual Australian Floral Art Association Convention, a nation-wide conference connecting regional and state clubs with workshops and competitions.
But showcasing their talent isn’t the only reason members commit to the craft. They often take on projects to reach out to communities, bringing colour and comfort to the lives of locals.
Sue says the group hosts workshops with aged care homes, teaching residents how to arrange bouquets and art pieces.
“We also do a thing called Lonely Posy, where clubs will create little posy bunches and drop them in places,” she says. “They’re random acts of kindness. You leave them sitting somewhere, and it’s got a little note on it saying, ‘Take me home, I’m yours’.
“A couple of years, we’ve dropped them at breast cancer clinics. Everybody who’s there on the day gets a posy to take home, which brightens their day a little bit and makes them take their mind off their treatment.”
From a fresh bunch of students to a flourishing garden of florists, artists and locals alike, the Nambour Floral Art Society has grown in reach.
They inspire and support the Sunshine Coast, sometimes with nothing but a handful of flower clippings and foliage. Sometimes that’s all they need.
From February, NFAS will meet on the third Wednesday each month at 9am in the Nambour Uniting Church Hall or follow them on Facebook.
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