In the sea of pastel petals, there was one bridal bouquet that belonged to Kim Martin.
Martin, an instructor of floral design in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Division of Plant Sciences, said the piece was crucial in her evaluation by the American Institute of Floral Designers at the 2013 National Symposium in Las Vegas. She constructed five floral designs in four hours with the hopes of receiving accreditation by the national institution.
On Aug. 26, two months after the symposium, she was invited back to the 2014 Symposium in Chicago to officially become a member.
“My main goal is giving Mizzou’s program some value,” Martin said. “I’ve been creating and building this program for a long time, and I want it to be a successful and valuable part of the industry.”
Martin serves as the supervisor of Tiger Garden, as well as the Certified Floral Designer adviser of the MU chapter of the Student American Institute of Floral Designers.
Through her accreditation, Martin said she hopes that other floral programs will recognize her student’s work on a broader and more professional scale.
“AIFD is a big deal in the industry,” Martin said. “So I think now other industry members will see us as having validity.”
Originally, Martin said she didn’t feel the need to go to the Las Vegas Symposium for official AIFD membership.
Martin said her close friend and mentor Karyn Brooke, owner of Sidelines Custom Floral Designs in Kansas City and AIFD member, motivated her to continue with her evaluations.
“Since I got CFD the first time I was evaluated, I didn’t need to go back to keep our chapter because we had other AIFD sponsors and I could be their adviser as long as I wanted to,” Martin said. “So I didn’t really have to test the second time, but Karyn told me she thought I should test again.”
Brooke said she felt confident in Martin’s abilities and believed her accreditation would help her students learn and grow.
“I think that, as the instructor of those students, she needs to represent what they can become,” Brooke said. “It says that this person cares about what they do enough to want to become the very best they can be.”
Brooke said she tried setting up some floral design programs with local schools in previous years and was very impressed with the program that Martin had been able to start at MU.
Brooke said she has done everything in her power to aid Martin and the MU chapter since meeting her students at the 2012 Miami Symposium, including helping Martin prepare for this year’s evaluation.
“I would call her a mentor, especially as far as AIFD goes,” Martin said.
Brooke said she felt that Martin succeeded in putting on an impressive show at the Las Vegas Symposium for her students and the judges.
“She showed the judges what she was made of,” Brooke said. “She knew how to work with a small amount of materials and make it extraordinary.”
Now Martin just has to wait for the 2014 Symposium, where she will participate in a pinning ceremony to become an accredited member.
Martin said she plans on attending future symposiums along with the MU chapter, not only to fulfill AIFD membership participation requirements, but also to give her students the experience as well.
“Education and learning new things through opportunities like symposium is really important,” Martin said. “That’s the purpose of the program.”