Kamloops artist to compete in ‘World Cup’ of floral design

‘There’s more to it than making … something in the shop that would go out for a birthday,’ says Paul Jaras

Paul Jaras has been working as a floral designer for 30 years. (Shelley Joyce/CBC)

A Kamloops floral artist is heading to the World Cup of floral design competitions.

Paul Jaras will represent Canada at the 2019 FTD World Cup, a weeklong event in Philadelphia that will pit him against dozens of artists from countries such as Spain and Taiwan.

In March, Jaras won first place at the national Maple Leaf Cup in Edmonton and second place at the Pacific Northwest Cup in Vancouver, qualifying him for what some in the industry call the “floral Olympics.”

But don’t mistake heavyweights like Jaras for florists.

“We do work that really is for art’s sake,” he said.

“It can be very sculptural. There’s more to it than making a vase design or something in the flower shop that would go out for a birthday.”

Practice makes perfect

The World Cup takes place in February 2019, but there’s plenty of work ahead.

The artists will have two days of prep before three days of intense competition.

In the lead-up to the event, Jaras plans to attend several workshops run by floral design masters.

“It’s definitely practising and getting exposure to various kinds of design,” Jaras said. “I keep doing it here every day in my studio.”

Jaras started his career by accident in 1988, when he visited a friend working in a floral shop.

The store’s owner roped Jaras into making corsages for a wedding. Jaras realized he had a knack for it and continued to work for the owner.

Jaras eventually landed a job at one of Edmonton’s top floral shops, before moving to Kamloops.

Competition nerves

At his studio, Jaras has about 15 sketchbooks that he uses to record his impressions from various shows and to map out designs.

He admits he gets nervous for competitions, but said he tunes it out when he’s assembling his pieces.

“I try to be in a really good place,” he said. “Working from the heart — I think that’s when design is the purest.”

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