Welcome back I'm Kim Baillie, she's Fulyana Orsborn, this is Inside Exec. Today against my better judgment and putting it off for at least a couple of years, Fulyana is going to treat me as a guest on the podcast and ask me a whole lot of questions. I am actually quite happy to share a lot of the information that we're going to talk about because I often bring it into the conversations that we have on other topics and I think this way I can focus my mind a bit better and just talk step by step through all of the things that we need to cover, and not be confused by thinking about one area of my interest as well as the management side of things. So for what it's worth, she is in charge today, but has to understand that the tables will be turned at some point and I won't tell her when I will just take over and ask the questions of her next time. No, I really want to thank you for finally agreeing to do this for our listeners.
I think you already know Kim very well and you have heard her very frequently referring to experiences and I guess sharing stories that are relevant to a topic through her involvement in floral art and design. Now, for those who don't know this Kim has been doing this for a number of years and I'll get her to tell us how many in a minute and how she got there. But basically she's a competitor in the country, she's a competitor worldwide. She often represents Australia in a global competitions of floral art. I have to stress, it's not about just the design and the artistic way and competing. It's a whole new world that I got exposed to through Kim. There's so much planning and arranging and administration, there's so much to deal with, so many people in that area. There is so much to do with different cultures and technical issues.
The good news is, it is very interesting in that way that Kim sees it as her passion. It's her passion and she will talk about that in a minute. But also the fact that Kim has won many, many, many awards locally and overseas for her design and artistic thought, but also for her contribution to that, because it's all volunteered. If you didn't know one of these awards was the Garden Club Australia Ann Williams Clark medallion and they are not easy to get in a sense that people have to really have been contributing over a number of years and getting results. So, I think this is a brief introduction. I would like Kim to explain to people who know nothing about this world. Can you tell us firstly what attracted you to that world? And what is that world? How would you describe it to people who know nothing about it?
Thank you for that interesting introduction. Floral art is a term that was coined a long time ago to encompass the idea of competition around arranging flowers initially. And these days it's arranging plant material or plant based material to an art form. So basically art with flowers is probably the simplest description, although as I said, it doesn't have to be flowers, it can be many other things. The overriding concept is that it is a design that interprets a title. So we are given a title and we need to interpret that with plant material so that when a judge looks at the design, they will say what the title is. For instance, my very first 1st placing in a large competition was for a design that was called It's Different and it was an abstract design.
So much like painting and any other creative art form. There are categories of designs that we can or have to use. In this instance, we were required to make it an abstract design. So I did this design. It was very minimalist. It was very abstract. It was three sticks wrapped in wool or a little bit of wool with some gum nuts hanging upside down through it. I saw the first place and I was very excited and as I went to ring someone to tell them that I got a first place I saw some people walk past from the general public and they stood in front of it and they said, "well that's different" in a derogatory way. But what it did was reinforce the title of the class so that I knew that I nailed it. I knew that I got it right. Everyone's reaction to it was that it was different and that's what the judge wants to see. And apart from that, they are judged on design principles and elements of color, form, rhythm, dominance, a whole range, 10 things that they're designed and they're judged on.
But for me, it was a creative outlet. If I go right back to the beginning, I have always, all my life, been a bit of a tragic for the Royal Easter Show in Sydney. I have been every year, I haven't missed a year except for last year when it wasn't on, that's 2020. So I've been every year and I've been involved with it in different ways. So whether it's been as a volunteer in terms of working with the Country Women's Association or a competitor in the arts at one stage or these days for the last 10 plus years, just trying to work out how far back it goes, but more than 10 years, I've been a competitor in the floral art section. So that's the Horticulture hall, for those of you who know at the easter show. That competition is the biggest competition that we can do here locally in Australia. It runs for two weeks. The designs change every second day. So we have up to eight designs that we do for each session. So over that period of two weeks, we could do upwards of 50 designs in that period of time, anything from the miniature which is under four inches or 10 centimeters up to the big floor based designs which were a meter square and two metres high.
And they might all be on the same day, you might have two on the bench and two little ones and the big one on the same day. So the planning that goes into it and the preparation that goes into it starts months in advance, I will say, and the logistics for me as well, because I actually have to travel to get there. I have to drive. So I've got to have things that can be taken down to fit into the car, get there, put them together and putting them together is exciting in itself because we can't start staging, it's called putting the designs in where they're going to be judged until 10:30 p.m. of the night before the judging. And we have from then until about 7. 30 the next morning to put them together. During that preparation for the easter show, give us an idea of the hours when you arrive there to set up because we just turn up to the easter show and see things. So let us see behind the scenes, how early or late or whatever you do it. Given that I have a drive of about an hour and 40 minutes to get there, I will leave home at 10. 30 or 11 o'clock at night.
There's no point in me getting to the show ground before midnight because they need to clear off the previous day's designs, set up for the next lot of designs, plus there's an issue of getting people off the show ground when the show actually closes that night before. So I leave home, say I leave home at 10. 30, I'll get to the show ground around midnight, or a little bit after. There will already be some competitors there who are working a different schedule to me. So I get there, I'll work through till about, I like to finish by about seven o'clock in the morning, so I've got time to move the car off the show ground, park it, have breakfast, walk back to the show ground for when it opens, see the judging, wait till the judging is finished, which is usually about between 10 and 11 of that morning. And then I drive back, get back here and hopefully get a couple of hours sleep, depending on how excited I am or how much I've got to prepare for the next day. That night, I will have a normal night's sleep and the next day is preparation for the same process again.
So that night, I get one night's sleep in between the days where I am awake for 24 hours and that's assuming that I don't have anything else on in the days in between. I try not to schedule that. But this particular year 2021, we had a very exciting event happened in part of that process. So one of the days, by the time I went to sleep the next time I have been awake for 32 hours. So wow, that's a lot of dedication to do that. Okay, so that's for local competition right now. Tell us a bit about the world competitions and what you need to do for that and the challenges of the Australian organization. So I'm a member of the New South Wales floral art association which in turn is a member of the Australian Floral Art Association. At the moment, I'm the president of the Australian association. That in turn is part of the World Association of Flower Arrangers. That's an organization of 31 member countries.
Australia is one of the founding members. Every three years we have what's called the olympics for flower arranging. So every three years in a different country we will have a world flower show that entails about 600 competitors attending to put together their designs in the competition and then there's a week of other activities that happens. Fulyana was very fortunate to attend with me the 2014 World Flower show which was in Dublin in Ireland and that was her first real introduction to something on the scale of what world flower arranging is as opposed to the easter show, which she obviously sees every other year. From Dublin, the next one, 2017, was in Barbados. For Barbados, I was selected to display the Australian honorary exhibit. So each country has an honorary exhibit as well as the competition stuff that we do as individuals. So for Barbados, I did the Australian exhibit and then had two entries in the competition side of things. Last year in 2020, just before and literally I got back two days before lockdown started in this country,
the world show was in Jaipur in India, a very different setting and the next one has been pushed back a year, but it will be in New Zealand in Auckland, New Zealand now in 2024. Looking forward to that one. With the Barbados one, because I did the Australian exhibit, I had learned from the previous world show in Dublin that it's best to bring your own plant material. The organizers will supply you with some where you can buy plant material, but what we found in Dublin was, even though it had great access to the European markets and there were daily deliveries, what they were delivering is the quality of plant material that they would normally deliver to a florist. But in the competition, we are judged on the condition of the plant material. It needs to be perfect. And the only way you can ensure that is if you provide it yourself and you know what you've got. Fortunately in Ireland I didn't use a lot of flowers and I stayed with some friends in Kilkenny and so I used things from their garden so I was able to pick very carefully what I was using.
In Barbados because I had to do the Australian exhibit as well as my two competition ones, I thought I would take Australian plant material with me. Now that came with a whole host of other challenges that fall into the realm of administration in terms of understanding how we export plant material and the intricacies of an export system that was geared towards commercial quantities because I was only taking their sense a minuscule amount. It was about five kg I think the box, it has to travel with you, so it had to be part of my luggage, it has to be inspected, it has to have a certificate here and you have to get an import license from the place you're going to (Barbados). So the Barbados Government administration runs at Barbados time. So they warned us about applying for certification and all the things that we needed months in advance and I did that and it did take three months to come through, which is fine.
And I thought here I won't have as much of an issue. I know what I have to do. I'll do all the applications. The rest of the problem was the inspection of the plant material. So as it turned out after literally four months of emails and paperwork and getting the help of import export agent as well because I thought at least they'll know the intricacies of what's happening. Got to the day I was flying out, the inspection was happening that morning at Roseberry if you know Sydney. So one side of the airport essentially to the other but we're talking Sydney peak hour morning traffic across the city. Took the box, the inspector that said yes it's all fine, sealed it all up again. He said I'll print out your certificate but my boss wants to have a look because he's really intrigued by what you're doing. And I said I have to get a flight, I really need to be checking in now because they need to see the box as well. Yeah, yeah, it won't take long and I've still got to contend with the traffic to get across the city. We got to just before the entrance to the airport and the traffic was at a stand still. And so I said to my partner who was driving the car, I said I will get out, I will take this box and my check in luggage and I'll meet you whenever you get there because I'm going to be able to walk faster than you can drive. Anyway,
the traffic opened up and so he was able to drop me off and that was all good. The flight to Barbados, I didn't want to go via continental U. S. A. I flew to Canada which was 15 hours, you know the same sort of time. So it was just a nicer flight, flew into Vancouver, cross country to Toronto and then down to Barbados. So 15 hours, five hours, five hours. But in Toronto we got delayed. So by the time I arrived in Barbados this box had been sealed for 28 hours and I was fairly strung out about getting somewhere where I could have a shower. I stopped overnight in Toronto but I still wanted to stop traveling. The inspector opens up the box and looks at it and I just saw him push something with his finger. His boss comes out and says how does it look? And this is very typical of Barbados - the inspector said oh there was one came out but the rest of his family didn't follow so they must all be dead. It can go. So that was 28 hours in this box, spraying all the contents, and there was still a bug! But they weren't worried because the rest of the bugs family wasn't with it.
So it was the most wonderful introduction to a country but in terms of getting there and this is all stuff that needed to happen before I could actually do the creation the floral side of things. In India I decided that I would use the local plant material. I ordered stuff beforehand. It was okay but it wasn't the best quality but I wasn't relying only on it to form the story because what had happened in that three years is that a lot of the things that are plant based like sisal and paper are now part of what we can use in design. So as it was, I wasn't relying so much on fresh plant material as I was on the dried stuff that I took with me. So seaweed, the nori seaweed paper that that you have in sushi. We can use plant based products. So one of my design was based on that and lentils. So I wasn't really relying on the fresh plant material. It's really fascinating because when you think about designing and using plant material, whatever, you only think about that and then you see the competition, you never really stop to think about things like what you talked about, resourcing, planning, administration and in this case, thinking about different cultures, understanding the law before even travel, customs, et cetera.
And we haven't even started on the different cultures and expectation of people and all that trip planning. It will be very fair to say that without a solid background in bureaucratic administration and planning, I would not be able to accomplish the things that I have done in the floral art world. So join us for part two, where we do a bit more exploring about the similarities between this passion of mine and managing organizations and working teams. But for now I'm Kim Baillie, she's Fulyana Orsborn and this is Inside Exec.