Design Workshop Combines World-Class Accommodations, Dining, Instruction and More

On St. Simon’s Island, a sleepy barrier island off the coast of Southwest Georgia, sits a 600-acre estate with a stately plantation and cottages. The former home of philanthropist Nancy Reynolds (heiress of the R.J. Reynolds tobacco company) has hosted political heavyweights including President Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev—but not many non-celebrities.

“It is super exclusive. Even brides who get married there have to stay somewhere else,” said Christy Hulsey, owner of Colonial Flowers in Statesboro, Georgia. “I had no idea! I just thought it was pretty with all the oak trees and Spanish moss, so I called them up and said, ‘I want to host an event here.’”

Hulsey’s pitch worked. On December 5-6, she’ll host “Musgrove Master Class,” a hands-on floral workshop led by renowned designer Susan McLeary.

Priced at $1,895, the event covers accommodations and meals at Musgrove, floral supplies, instruction and a professional shoot by Corbin Gurkin, whose work has been published in dozens of national magazines including Martha Stewart Weddings, Unveiled, Garden & Gun and Vogue. Charleston-based fashion stylist Lindsey Nowak, who has worked for Smitten magazine and Monique Lhuillier, will help create unforgettable images that participants can use in their portfolio, website, and marketing materials.

Additionally, there will be an editor from Southern Living who will offer tips on how to effectively pitch magazines and get your designs published.

“It will be a culmination of all my dreams,” Hulsey said. “These are some of my absolute favorite designers that I’ve admired.”

Event hostess Christy Hulsey has just finished her term as the 2017 Mayesh Design Star.

Hulsey and McLeary met a few years ago at an event with the Chapel Designers group and became quick friends.

“Sue’s actually the one who persuaded me to apply to be the Mayesh Design Star,” Hulsey said.

“I didn’t realize she was nervous about that. I was touched to learn my encouragement made a difference,” McLeary said, adding that she’s always admired Hulsey’s artistic eye “and the way she’s rolled up her sleeves to revamp a traditional flower shop.”

McLeary will introduce her approach to wearable flowers. “They’re very popular with customers right now and a lot of florists get intimidated thinking it’s painstaking work,” she said. “I’ll show that it’s not! I’m passionate about making things faster and easier.”

Sue McLeary, aka “Passionflower Sue,” is famous for creating show-stopping wearable flower designs.

Participants will learn floral tattoos, shoulder corsages and cascade bouquets that don’t require wiring or foam.

“It’s all about creating an opulent look without expensive mechanics or time-consuming techniques,” she said.

McLeary said she’s blown away with the venue and high-end professionals who’ll be on site.

“Christy’s really pulled together an incredible lineup, down to arranging a stylist. You don’t see that often at workshops and it will give florists amazing materials to market their busineses,” she said. “This will be quite a treat!”

To learn more and to register, click here.