BURNHAM - Dan Firth, owner of Deihl's Flowers Inc., in Burnham, will present a program called "Nature's Way" on July 14, at the American Institute of Floral Designers symposium in Miami, Fla.
The program, which will be presented to a group of fellow floral artists, will combine Firth's floral design and metal sculptures into displays focusing on the natural growth of vegetation.
Firth said the program will demonstrate how the layers of the forest compete for sunlight, creating natural lines and movement in the landscape.
Dan Firth stands amid the plants in his greenhouse at Deihl’s Flowers Inc. in Burnham.
Sentinel photos by KIM HAYES
Metal sculptures like this one are an essential part of Dan Firth’s designs, adding another dimension to his floral art.
"I've done a lot in the floral industry, but this is to my peers," he said. "This is one of those things you hope to get to do someday."
He will be responsible for creating 15 different presentations, each of which will have dimensions of up to 10 feet.
"There will probably be a couple thousand people at this, so it has to be big enough that they can see," he explained.
He was invited to present last fall and has provided a flower procurement list to his sponsors, which include Florida Plant Growers. This will allow the sponsors time to gather the materials needed for Firth's presentation. By May 1, he will have to submit his digital presentation for formatting.
At this point, Firth has begun sketching his ideas, which include archways through the year. One display will showcase an archway as it would be seen in spring, featuring cut flowers and accented with ficus, ferns and peace lilies, while its companion display will feature an identical archway adorned with snow and ice.
Of course, Firth does not expect real ice to hold up well in July in Miami, so he will use plastic and resin icicles and snowflakes, as well as shredded plastic for snow. His metal sculptures will add even more texture and dimension to the displays.
Firth was accepted to AIFD in 1986. At the time, only three people in Pennsylvania were members.
"To become a member, you have to submit a portfolio and then go before a panel and design," he said.
Membership in AIFD allows Firth to put the acronym after his name as a title, recognizable in the floral design industry as a mark of excellence.
"AIFD is kind of the pinnacle that you can get to as a floral designer," Firth said.
Not that Firth hasn't had his share of great moments.
He also is a certified floral designer and judge. He studied in Holland and Germany, making friends with world-renowned floral designers along the way.
He made a sculpture for FTD's America's Cup in 1993, at Disney World. In 1997 in St. Louis, Mo., he was a judge for the America's Cup competition. He traveled to Argentina to serve as a judge for Argentina's Cup in 1998, in Buenos Aires.
He has taught floral design all over the U.S. He also taught in Mexico City for three days, an interesting experience in itself.
"My interpreter never showed up," Firth said.
Firth has done work for the dressing rooms of stars visiting the Bryce Jordan Center.
He was on a team that decorated the White House for Christmas during the Reagan administration and lent his skills to the Statue of Liberty's rededication ceremony.
And, most recently, he and his staff provided the floral arrangements used on stage during the public memorial service for Penn State's longtime coach, Joe Paterno.
His affiliation with the business began in high school; he delivered flowers for Joe Deihl, who owned the company at the time.
Later, he had a landscaping business and did a lot of tree surgery, but worked for Deihl in the winters when the landscaping business was slow.
Firth bought the business from Deihl, now his father-in-law, in 1989.
The shop is located at 1 Parkview Terrace, in Burnham, and can be reached by calling 248-7843.