A conversation with Hanneke Frankema

Floral Designer Hanneke Frankema won the European Flower Design Championship in Poland at the end of August! In the three-day competition, she had to compete with 15 other florists from Europe. It is hardly surprising that she emerged as the winner when you see her beautiful artworks! A few weeks after the competition, we spoke to Hanneke about her participation and in particular her love for cut Anthuriums.

@ Hanneke Frankema

Can you briefly tell us something about yourself?
I actually started working with flowers when I was fourteen, and at that time I had no idea that there was a whole world behind being a florist. This includes competitions, important shows, and the fact that as a freelancer you can also teach, for example. When I was in school and participating in competitions, I soon realized I had a knack for this. I won several competitions and then the ball started rolling. I also entered major competitions and took over a flower shop. I’ve had a flower shop in Sneek for ten years and since 2015 I have been working fully as a freelancer. I actually do the most fun things like travelling around, big shows and demos. People hire me mainly because of my style. I never have an assignment that has to look a certain way, and I can always do whatever I want.

Can you describe your style?
My style is very technical, I work a lot with wire and other products in addition to flowers and always pay a lot of attention to colour and detail. I’m a perfectionist and if you look at my creations you will notice all the cute and little touches and details. I am not a florist who just makes bouquets with roses; I always make sure something happens to surprise people. My style has developed over the last 15 years. It has evolved and become very recognizable.

@ Hanneke Frankema

What does the European flower art championship mean to you?
After my national championship in 2018, this award is truly the icing on the cake. I especially enjoyed participating and showing what I am capable of. In that respect, winning is definitely a recognition of my work and the highest accolade I can achieve. Fortunately, I don’t have to do it for assignments anymore, as I have plenty of them!

You create beautiful works of art. What inspires you?
I am often asked this question, but actually it’s all in my head. I can’t always explain it. I get a brief and within those parameters I start creating something. In doing so, I always imagine something that fits my own style. I really like Jugendstil and Art Nouveau, which are very organic with natural lines and shapes. That’s recognizable, but I couldn’t say that I draw my inspiration from only one place. Back in school, I did start browsing books, but at some point you put everything you have learnt in a suitcase and set off on your own. Then you develop a style and you stop looking at what others are doing.

Why choose cut Anthuriums?
Cut Anthuriums are very vigorous flowers, strong and long lasting with a vast palette to choose from. Personally, I also love that curled-up Anthurium, Cantello® Rolls, because no one ever has it. During a competition, I want to impress the judges with special things. When they walk around my creations, I want them to think ‘wow’ every time and ‘where did all this come from? ‘. If you put some Anthuriums in an arrangement, they instantly add a lot of strength and fill the bouquet at the same time. Practically speaking, an Anthurium is very suitable, as it quickly adds something to the arrangement. They are strong so you can always rely on them. I feel the same about Phalaenopsis and Cambrias. They come along as whole plants, I cut them in situ, and that works well. They are safe choices and at the same time beautiful flowers with lots of diversity.

For me, the Anthurium cut flower also adds a lot of serenity to an arrangement. The Anthurium is the peaceful oasis, which is why I find them so strong and love to use them. Of course, Anthuriums are available in lots of colours. I don’t automatically go for the red and white flowers. There are so many beautiful colours available now. In terms of combinations, they fit anywhere. I pick them by colour, shape and unique look! Apparently I am not the only one who likes them and there are lots more fans of Anthurium cut flowers, as I went home with the first prize!