A reliable and integral part of the Pearsons School team for over 16 years, Debra Van Breda is an inspiring and nurturing trainer for the Certificate III students as they begin their floristry journey. Among the vast floristry experience Deb has had in her many years in the industry, she provides a wealth of knowledge to our students. Having worked for numerous florists in Sydney over the years as well as freelancing on wedding and event work – even having completed flowers for the Sydney Town Hall 25 years ago. Debra draws her inspiration from nature and the beauty around her lovely home in Sydney’s south surrounded by beautiful rainforest. Here is her story…
Trainer: Debra Van Breda
Where did your passion for floristry begin? And how did it lead you in to teaching?
My love of the garden and flowers began as a small child as my parents were very interested in designing and building gardens. I grew up with a lovely garden which I had much pleasure playing in with friends and family. Lots of flowering azaleas, camellias and cymbidium orchids and lots of flowering dahlias all different colours. I love the scent of dahlias it reminds me of my childhood. I was always drawn to flower shops where ever I was and still is. When travelling overseas the family could always find me in a flower shop so therefore it became the meeting point.
I started in floristry after the HSC and worked in many different flower shops all over Sydney which was all very interesting and learnt a lot of different techniques and design styles from each one. This then lead me to training new people in the flower shop and then a fellow work colleague suggested I should teach people the skill I had learnt and loved. This led me to answer an ad from Pearsons School of Floristry over 16 years ago. I love every day at Pearsons School of Floristry.
What is it that you love about being a Certificate III trainer with PSF?
The most amazing journey in my life has been meeting all the interesting people who do the course. Everyone’s journey is different and we learn from everyone in the classroom as well from my other colleagues. I enjoy the design side of floristry and teaching Certificate III makes you think about using the elements and principles of design in all different ways all the time.
What’s something our students wouldn’t know about you?
I walk nearly every evening on the beach with my two dogs, Moe and Majsie. I also love bush walking as I live on the edge of a rainforest.
How would you describe your floristry style?
My own floristry style I would like to say is loose and inspired by nature, very free and flowy. I always like to see the flowers and I need it to make a statement.
What is your favourite flower and why?
My favourite flower is the freesia. I love the shape and form and the variety of colours.
Why would you suggest floristry as a career for budding floral enthusiasts?
Floristry is a very rewarding career as each day you achieve so much. Its satisfying making and creating many new designs. The seasons change, the style of floristry changes so it challenges you to produce different designs.
To our budding florists and floral enthusiasts, do you have any care tips you’ve picked up along the way to share?
I have learnt to be gentle with the flowers as they last longer and produce a better bloom to enjoy.
Who do you look to for inspiration in the industry?
My inspiration has been Preston Bailey and Jeff Leatham, their strength in design and their love of colour is very powerful. Pinterest is also another inspiration.