For a layperson, the beautiful floral art may mean an expression of a creative mind. But halt. Behold it through an expert’s eye and the different forms will come alive, communicating a silent power of flower that floods your moods, moments and memories.
The floral art industry in India is at a take off stage. It has grown by 20% in the last five years, according to Kamini Johari, a floral art tutor. It is attracting quite a few enthusiasts like Rajendra More, a second-generation flower merchant, who has been in the blooms business for close to two decades. More took formal training in floral arts at the Institute of Floral Design (IFD). “Formal training,” he says “taught me the correct technique.” And the business skills he picked up during the course helped enhance his profits by 30 to 40%.
Interestingly, majority of the workforce in this industry comprises unskilled migrant labourers. Seema Jhaveri, director, IFD, stresses on the need for skilled professionals who can carry forward the art. Comparing local florists to karigars, she says, “Unskilled florists can replicate floral art forms but they lack the technique and the ability to create unique and innovative pieces.”
Experts opine that there is a need for structured approach towards learning about flowers, their preservation and maintenance, and embellishments. “This helps in taking your passion forward to create business opportunities” Jhaveri adds.
The Indo-Japanese Association (IJA) at Mumbai conducts weekend classes in Ikebana floral art. IJA spokesperson Vandana Kale says, “Students who want to take up Ikebana as a career profession have to pass the assistant teacher level and the teacher level programmes.” One has to appear for the Ohara School of Ikebana Exam to obtain a certification from Japan.
Others get the Indo-Japanese Association certification post course completion.
Jhaveri explains the various forms of floral arts. Ikebana for instance, is a Japanese form, and is all about flowers arranged in angles. The European art that draws inspiration from the Georgian and Victorian era, comprises all classical styles (the rounds and triangles). The Western art is more of the designer’s innovation. “The artist has absolute freedom of expression,” she says.
“A designer adds his thought and effort to flowers to transforms it into profits,” informs Jhaveri.” “Floral art is not just arrangement of flowers. It is also about coordinating colours and textures, finding variants if the preferred one is not available, which is what the course teaches you,” explains Johari.
As the art gains popularity, many pursue it as a passion, something that takes them off their routine stressful life. “Many of our students are housewives, professionals belonging to different fields, doctors, lawyers, dermatologists,” informs Jhaveri. While the flower career is yet to gain momentum, it may provide an elegant alternative to those who seek a new meaning to life.