On Saturday, September 9, 2023 the Society of American Florists hosted the 54th edition of the Sylvia Cup, the longest-running national live design competition in the US floral industry during their annual convention in Phoenix AZ.
The American frontier — popularly known as the Wild West — encompasses the geography, history, folklore, and cultures associated with the forward wave of American expansion in mainland North America. The promise of “free land” and the discovery of gold was too much for many to resist.
The cowboy, the Native Americans, the cattle rancher, the Gold Rush of 1849, the small dusty town with saloons, outlaws, and the ever-vigilant sheriff.
From Billy the Kid to Davy Crockett, to the showdown at the OK Corral, the legends, historical events, and folklore of the American frontier have embedded themselves into United States culture so much so that the Old West - and the Western genre of movies, TV & books specifically - has become one of the defining periods of the American national identity.
Each design was evaluated by three highly respected judges:
Tim Farrell • Leanne Keslar • Jodi McShan
Theme 1 | Spirit of the West
A design for the opening of an art gallery
Imbued with a rich & diverse history, encompassing the heritage of the Native Americans, and the influences of Spanish, Mexican, and American cultures, the “Spirit of the West” means different things to different people. Iconic imagery — cowboys and cattle, gold, grand vistas, jaw-dropping sunsets and hot desert nights are just a few things that come to mind. What do YOU think of?
Create an arrangement for the opening of an art gallery that captures your interpretation of the “spirit of the West”. This is an all-around design and must be vertical; there are no height restrictions, but it must fit on your table.
Theme 2 | Gold Rush
A monochromatic wedding bouquet
The cries of “GOLD!” sparked a Westward rush like no one had ever seen. From the East, prospectors sailed around Cape Horn or risked disease hiking across the Isthmus of Panama. The hardiest took the 2,000-mile (3,220-km) overland route out West, to California. In total, it’s estimated that 750,000 pounds of gold were discovered during the Gold Rush which lasted from 1848 to 1859. At its peak in 1852, prospectors found $90 million worth of gold — that’s over $2.7 billion in today’s world.
Create a monochromatic yellow wedding bouquet** suitable for the wedding of a wealthy miner — OR Create a monochromatic yellow wedding bouquet suitable for the wedding of the daughter of a wealthy gold miner.
Theme 3 | Dearly Departed
A sympathy tribute
Life on the Western frontier was hard — IF you actually made it West — surviving illness, attacks by wild animals or other humans, and Mother Nature herself. It was not the Garden of Eden many imagined. Along the migration trails and throughout the West, piles of rocks and simple wood crosses stand as memorials to those who did not make it, and small cemeteries are filled with tributes to those who tried to realize their dream of settling their own piece of “free land”.
Create a sympathy tribute that features a cross in some shape or form.
The competition was sponsored by Smithers-Oasis (exclusive sponsor of Sylvia Cup prize money) with support from Certified American Grown (CAG) and the Professional Floral Communicators – International (PFCI). FloristWare provided SAF with our floral design contest evaluation software to help making judging faster and provide real time results.