This summer is all about Gregor Lersch, the master of floral arrangement techniques. Fleur did an interview with the German author, one of the world’s best floral designers. Our tip, buy one of his books and you’ll have something nice to read all summer long! Free shipping until July 25.
Gregor Lersch has left the corona virus situation in Germany behind him and we were able to interview him during his well-deserved holiday in la douce France. The master with his numerous trophies and medals needed a break. ‘I had to convince my wife to take a break,’ he said. It’ll give the 70-year-old Lersch a change to gather his thoughts.
‘I had a packed agenda with workshops and projects well into next year, but this damn virus really messed all those plans up. I was used to getting off of one plane and getting onto another. In March I took the very last flight out of Canada. Since then, everything has been cancelled. All my upcoming flights are cancelled: to Frankfurt, Kiev, Moscow and Naples. Then you hear about thousands of deaths in Italy. How could I have possibly done any work? If I wanted to go to America, I had to quarantine myself for 14 days… I’m just being realistic. There won’t be a lot of projects left this year’.
Has the corona virus put a halt on your working life?
Gregor Lersch: ‘No. I did work from home. I produced quite a bit. I did some step-by-step techniques. I’ve given some online classes. A second academy video is coming out at the end of July. I’ll be busy for a little while. That whole commotion with the virus will be with us for a while. I have to make sure that people have enough study material. The fact that lots of people have more time to work on their floral arranging technique may be the only positive thing coming out of this’.
Are you concerned about the flower industry?
‘Yes, I don’t have a good feeling about it at this time. I’m an older man who has done hard work all of his life. I’m not poor, but I’m not rich either. I’m just saying that I’ll be able to take a hit. But I hear from a lot of colleagues from North and South America, Australia and Russia. They’re telling me that they’ve run out of money. They have more important things to worry about than buying my stuff’.
‘The volume of book sales is not that bad, but even there I can see a downward trend. It was easier in the past when magazines were setting the trends. These days, instruction videos are everywhere. Everyone’s posting something from their kitchen. So it is important to stand out. I make sure my Instagram and Facebook accounts always have some new creations on them. I think it is important that I don’t recycle old creations. It has to be new bouquets or arrangements. As you can see, things are a bit slower these days, but I’m still working.’ (He laughs)
What do you have in the pipeline this summer?
‘Not a lot. I was asked to go to Spain in September. But will that project go ahead? I’m going to take some time off for a while. We won’t be able to travel for the foreseeable future anyway. I think it’ll mostly be online work. I recorded some internet demos for the South and Central American market. Everything’s different now. These last few months I learned how to do voice-overs for the videos. Something I used to loathe doing. Having to talk into a camera? I prefer to have face-to-face contact with people. I finally got over my aversion during a recording session in the Eifel. I probably would have told you to “get this thing out of my face”. Now I’m almost enjoying it.’
Every avid flower enthusiast probably has a Gregor Lersch book. Do you read a lot yourself?
‘These days I read all the time, but I don’t really have much else to do. I have always been on the move. If I wasn’t on a plane, I was driving on the highway.’
Do you have a favourite book of your own, one that gives you the most satisfaction?
‘Writing books is strange. You always think, “This is it”. Then two years later you’re in a different flow. Then I’ll be working with purely organic materials. No glass, no wool, no paper. Then I’ll be happy with that direction. Personally, I thought that Wellsprings of my Floristry was a highlight. That book is no longer available, but it created quite a sensation. It really put me on the map in Asia and the United States.’
From what do you get your passion fot the technical side of floral arranging?
“When you master several different techniques you can create something new over and over again. It is a way of evolving. This continually creates new shapes or colour combinations”.
You really know how to draw and you obviously have a real talent for this; creating a piece of art out of a few flowers. Is there anything you can master even better?
“You’re always lacking something. When you’re young, you lack experience. When you’re older, you’re not so fast or as strong any more. The good thing about floral arranging is that age is not really a barrier to being creative. I personally really like that I now have a sense of what people or students really want to ask me. Although that is of course also a matter of communicating well. I’ve worked in 60 countries, and I speak six languages. I can respond to things much faster now.’
Is there a new book in the pipeline?
“Not at the moment. I’ve taken a break for a while. I thought that my last book was quite authentic with lots of drawings and full-page size pictures. I do have a concept in mind. Actually, everything we need is ready. (He laughs) I just don’t think this is a good time to release a book. I’ve produced enough to just be able to read this summer.’
How do you see the business going forward?
“Floral design is an art form that interests so many people, enthusiasts and professionals alike. But I already see that some people are dropping out. A florist will spend less time on special compositions. Everything’s going to be different. We all need to reinvent ourselves a little bit.’
“I’m a bit more optimistic about florists. Of course, since the corona virus, there’s more of a focus on online sales, and I expect that will be the case for the foreseeable future. There’s no turning back now, but I do believe that if you have a quality product, great service and affordable prices people will continue to buy from them.’
“It is a different story for floral designers who make their living from events. Until recently an American friend arranged 180 bridal events per year. She fully expects that she will never do that volume again. People are also going to be a lot more frugal. They won’t be spending thousands of Euros on gaudy floral decorations. Everything will have to be done on a smaller scale.’
What can we wish for you this summer?
“Good health, that’s all. I have a lovely partner to spend my days with. We have lovely children. Everything’s fine as it is. I hope it stays that way. And that I don’t get tired of thinking about what to do tomorrow.’ (He laughs)
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