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The Cal Poly Floral Design club will show people how to affordably design flower centerpieces Monday night.

The event will offer styling tips for students and future event planners, as well as a chance to meet Oleta Collins, a certified designer from the American Institute of Floral Design.

Danielle Ruais said being in the club serves as a creative outlet for many of the club members. Ruais is the president of the San Luis Obispo Student Chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers.

“We are a group of students that have a love of flowers and design,” Ruais said. “We get to work with different colors and textures, and obviously flowers. It’s fun to see everyones’ creativity and interpretations of their arrangements and designs.”

It takes more than a good design to make an arrangement pretty or well done, new member Haley McCown said. Although she recently became a fan of flower arranging, McCown said it is obvious when a person is not having fun because their work will suffer.

“If you don’t have fun, it will show (in the arrangement) and it won’t be your best work. If you’re having fun it will translate,” she said. “How can you not have fun if surrounded by flowers?”

As a student chapter of the American Institute of Floral Designers they are required to bring an accredited designer to demonstrate annually. Melinda Lynch, the adviser for Cal Poly’s Floral Design Club and floral design lecturer, said having an accredited designer come is a great opportunity to get to know someone in the industry as well as to learn how to make designs work.

“It’s great to expose students to real-world people. The demonstration will play a part in student lives after Cal Poly. From event coordinators to art students, they’re going to have events and this will help,” Lynch said.

The demonstration will be given by Collins who, according to her Web site Flourishing Art, became interested in flowers when she oversaw seven different floral companies in Los Angeles. Through these companies she learned about design, production and events, which led her to accreditation with the American Institute of Floral Design.

The American Institute of Floral Design, according to their Web site, is the floral industry’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to establishing, maintaining and recognizing the highest standard of professional floral design. Lynch said that to be accredited by the Institute is the highest honor in the field.

“To become a member they (applicant) must have their work evaluated, and the work has to be an ‘A’ to pass,” Lynch said. “It’s like a masters degree for floral designers.”

Collins, who has to consistently participate in flower competitions to stay certified, will demonstrate how to arrange centerpieces that could work for an event or home.

“This is mainly to educate yourself on how to do it correctly,” Lynch said. “There is a reason why she is doing the things she is doing, you get to learn how and why.”

There are rules and basics in the way to arrange flowers Lynch said. Collins will go over the basics such as proportions. Lynch gave the example of a little container. The flower stems need to be cut even smaller than four inches to make it look good.

But it isn’t just the basics that Collins will bring. Lynch describes her as a “kick in the  pants,” who is entertaining as well as educational.

“We wanted to bring a designer that was energetic and wonderful, while also having the audience feel like they learned something,” Lynch said. “We don’t want students to feel like we wasted their time and we don’t want to feel like we wasted our time.”

The event takes place at 6 p.m. in the Floral Design Lab, located close to Campus Market.

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