AUSTRALIANA THEME: Alstonville Florist Mark Pampling's prepared entries in the World Flower Art Contest held in China. He was the overall winner.
AUSTRALIANA THEME: Alstonville Florist Mark Pampling's prepared entries in the World Flower Art Contest held in China. He was the overall winner. Contributed

Alstonville florist wins world flower art competition

ALSTONVILLE Florist co-owner, Mark Pampling, reckons there are three international competitions which he rates as being the pick of the bunch -- and he has just won one of them.

Mr Pampling has taken out the invitational World Flower Art Contest which was held in Beijing, China, late last month in conjunction with the International Horticulture Exhibition.

As for the other two competitions, Mr Pampling has come third in a previous Inteflora World Cup but is now a judge, and he doesn't have any interest in entering the Europa Cup as he says it has too much of a focus on Europe and Scandinavia.

He hopes the win in China, however, will open more doors for him in the future.

With his 25 years' experience as a florist, he has been teaching in China for the past three years.

"The level and thirst for floral design learning is growing exponentially in China, and they are bringing in tutors to teach Western design," he said.

"That's one of the main reasons I wanted to enter (the competition in China).

"An opportunity to be part of that is unique.

"It will open doors to other opportunities to demonstrate and teach in other parts of Asia."

He already has accepted a stint to teach in Singapore.

Mr Pampling said he was invited to attend the World Flower Art Contest due mainly to the reputation he has built over many years through his work, his competition wins and his work in writing for a magazine.

One person each from 31 countries, with three from China, took part in the event.

After the first round in which the competitors present three prepared items, only 17 were selected to go on to the round in which entrants had to create three "surprise" items in about two hours, with an assistant, from supplied materials.

Points were awarded for each item -- Mr Pampling took out two gold medals, two silvers and two bronze -- and had the highest cumulative total to give him the overall win.

He started planning the prepared items in May, after receiving the invitation in April, as the materials had to be sent to China prior to the competition.

One of his pieces in the theme of Beautiful Homeland used Gymea lillies, which he arranged for an Australian supplier with connections in China to send through, along with a grass tree.

He said the "uniqueness of the indigenous Australian materials" captured the judges' eyes.

He also had flowers sent from a grower in The Netherlands whom he connected with and met through the organisation Floral Fundamentals, linking florists with growers.

He said seeing the flowers where they grow also allowed florists to see some of the materials which may usually be discarded, but add a uniquenes to floral designs.

Alstonville Florist is located in Alstonville Plaza.