As one of the main-stage presenters at American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) National Symposium “Awaken,” in Las Vegas, Nev., July 6-11, Shonda Cunningham, AIFD, is an award-winning floral artist who is the head designer and flower-room manager at Silver Cricket Floral Atelier in Park City, Utah. Renowned for her excellence as an education specialist, she holds degrees in fashion design, business and a double master’s degrees in education and curriculum design. She loves to encourage all florists to pursue their passions, try new and exciting forms of floral art, and embrace change and uniqueness within the floral community.

Where do you look for inspiration outside of nature and the floral industry?

I am constantly looking at what’s going on around me and in the world. I love hitting Facebook and Instagram, seeing what’s happening in other countries. I watch fashion trends and am in awe of the creative innovations happening with textiles and technology. The repetition of shapes, color and texture in fashions and architecture make me drool in anticipation to create!

Shonda Cunningham, Aifd
Silver Cricket Floral Atelier
Park City, Utah

Concerning mentoring, have you had mentors, and how have they fostered and inspired creativity for you?

I am fortunate to have had wonderful mentors on my floral journey, like Joyce Mason-Monheim, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, AzMF, and Brian Vetter, AIFD, AAF, PFCI, AzMF, who have inspired me to follow my passions and dreams. These mentors not only encouraged me but also expect me to always do my best and share what I have learned with others. They have led by example. My current mentor is Marilyn Brumfield, owner of Silver Cricket Floral in Park City, Utah. She constantly challenges her staff by bringing in the newest varieties of fresh and unusual products. She has shown me how to never say “no” but reach deep down and figure out new ways of making people’s ideas come to life. She never ceases to amaze me with her flexibility, ability to adapt and love of design. I will keep the lessons she has taught with me throughout my life, and do my best to share them with others. There is nothing more inspiring than a boss who says “Go ahead. Do it!”

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