Eve Suter

Eve SuterOccupation:
Flower design teacher / Researcher
Time in Japan:
6 years

I have always been lured by the scent and beauty of a fresh flower. My life would not be complete without these gifts of nature. I studied horticulture and flower arrangement in Switzerland and graduated from a three-year apprenticeship at a flower shop where I learned technique and developed my skills.

Then I went to New York to learn English and worked as an au-pair for a year. The second year, I worked at a flower shop in New York City, but I didn' like the way flowers were handled, like objects rather than a living example of nature?s treasures. I decided to leave the States and travel, uncertain about where I wanted to end up.

My travels eventually led me to Japan, where I had only intended to stay for a few months to earn some money. A friend whom I had met in Indonesia invited me to stay at her aunt's home. To my surprise, the host was Mami Kawasaki, founder of the Mami Flower Design School and renowned among floral arrangement connoisseurs. Meeting this delightful woman was a turning point in my life and led to a job where I could do what I really wanted to do.

The Mami Flower Design School, founded in 1962, was the first flower design school of its kind in Japan, and has been very successful, with thousands of schools throughout Japan and Asia. Lessons are based on solid techniques and a high level of knowledge, but first students are taught the unwavering philosophy that the subjects are not merely objects, but living things to be respected and presented in a natural way.

At Mami's school, we are always searching for new ideas, for the world of flower design has no limits. I work mainly in the research room where my job is coming up with new ideas, new arrangements, developing fresh ways to present the flower without losing the element of nature. Twice a month, I teach these new approaches to the flower design teachers who then teach the students. I love my work because it?s more like a hobby than a job.

After six years, I have realized that Japan is the only place where I can do what I really want to be doing. Flower design is highly respected and appreciated in this culture, and I have found people who share my passion for flowers.

Eve spoke with Anne Bouyssounouse.

Mami Flower Design School will host an exhibition of the works of 400 teachers until June 9 in Ginza. For more information, call Mami Art Media 3778-9543.

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