CAFA 25th Gala

CAFA Celebrates A Quarter Century

One of the world’s most esteemed designers trekked from Siberia to the Toronto Botanical Gardens to help the Canadian Academy of Floral Art celebrate its 25 anniversary.

Roman Steinhauer, lead florist and art director at Siberian Orchid in Novosibirsk, Russia, is a two-time winner of The Russian Cup of Professional Floristry and the runner-up in the 2016 Europa Cup.

“He’s very creative,” said Julie Drago, AIFD, CAFA. “He’s current and he hadn’t really been seen by the North American public.”

Steinhauer led a lengthy stage presentation and hands-on workshop on Sunday, October 22.

Photo by Janis Freeman

“Roman started prepping days before guests arrived and worked up until the moment he went on stage,” said Jennifer Harvey, CAFA, CFD. “He brought two suitcases full of design elements to spoil us. Meanwhile, he carried his clothing and other personal items in a backpack!”

Photo by Janis Freeman

Steinhauer demonstrated how time and detail pay off to produce awe-inspiring, memorable pieces. “We learned how the European style is about taking the materials around us in nature and repurposing the in our shops,” Harvey said. “Thinking outside the box creates value-added style to our everyday designs.”

CAFA wanted to go all out to observe this latest milestone. In addition to Steinhauer, the event included a red carpet, a mouth-watering selection of sweet and savory treats, a 50/50 raffle, an induction ceremony for new student members, and a “mystery box” design challenge.

Photo by Janis Freeman

“Four designers went on stage with a container and a bucket of flowers. Then we drew numbers to pull people from the audience to join them, creating a team competition. Then, about every 30 seconds, new obstacles were put in their way–blindfolds, silly gloves, weird-themed decor,” Harvey said. “The pieces turned out surprisingly well and were given as gifts to the audience.”

Photo by Janis Freeman

Other highlights included networking with other industry professionals, including fresh and hard good suppliers, tech experts, and fellow designers.

“It was a huge success,” Harvey said. “Plans are already underway to make the next 25 years even bigger. We want CAFA to be seen as a leader in the industry worldwide.”

Stay tuned for a future issue of Canadian Florist for more details from the event and to learn about CAFA’s history.