The Memories of WAFAS from Stan Mitchell

I was acquainted with the Floral Art Society long before I actually joined it, because I had seen the big notice that appeared each night outside the Town Hall and I know that Bernice had also noticed them.

When I joined the Floral Art Society I had been the secretary of the Bassendean Horticultural Society for a few years. I went to my first meeting of that society one night to find a group of guys discussing the prospect of having no secretary, so I volunteered. I didn’t have any experience in growing plants, but I was secretary for a couple of church groups and I figured it would be all the same, with a different group of people. Write a few letters, write the minutes etc. Well that was OK, but then the secretaries had to organise the shows. There were specimen classes, pot plant classes and Floral Art. Formal vases and bowls, where you had to grow your own flowers and an Informal Class where you could use other flowers and odd bits and pieces.

When the shows came around I was able to scratch around to find a few bits to make an entry.

Bernice and I married in 1970 and when I started rummaging around the cupboard for my floral art entry, Bernice decided that we should enrol in a Floral Art Class at Midland Tech. The courses ran for five months, February to June and July to November. Edna Fletcher, one of the West Australian Floral Art judges ran the courses and the fees were only about $20.00. After a few lessons we were encouraged to join The West Australian Floral Art Society. The Society met on Wednesday nights in the Perth Town Hall. We would organise our exhibits on Tuesday night, race home from work, gulp down our tea, leave Bernice’s Mum with the washing up and off to Floral Art. Parking was a problem. There were a couple of loading bays and we had to unload the gear and then move the car, leaving Bernice to watch our exhibits. When I came back, we had to climb the stairs and get our exhibits on the Benches.

At the end of the first year I had five firsts and Bernice had four. You had to get six firsts to move to the next section. Next year you had to start again, so Bernice decided that she would not put in that year and let me get six firsts to move to the next section.

Bernice won the State Championship in 1981, but I had to wait until 2013 for that prize.

The meetings were well attended and a number of ladies used the occasion to “dress for the occasion’. You could see that they had had their hair set and some had their “Blue Rinse” to make them feel good and stand out in the crowd and I suppose to cover the grey, just a touch.

Over the years there have been many highlights and many varied personalities that contribute to making Floral Art one of the interesting things that keeps me coming back after forty five years.