A double major in accounting and finance seems to be the most unlikely background for a floral artist.

But that’s the career path Rose Cao originally chose, before the stress of working through the global financial crisis in Singapore got too much.

Rose took some floristry classes to try to take her mind off her daytime workload, which kept increasing as her company downsized.

“The more I learnt the more I liked it and felt that I should go deeper into it because it’s such a relaxing feeling to complete a beautiful arrangement and to bring it home after every class,” Rose said.

From such simple beginnings, Rose went on to become the first Vietnamese floral art designer to enter the prestigious Singapore Garden Festival in 2016. She ended up winning the silver medal in the table floral display series.

Rose has now dedicated herself to sharing her love of floral art through workshops in Ho Chi Minh City.

Her own signature style is very minimalist. “Some of my designs have just flower or a very minimum amount of flowers,” she said. “I like monochromatic colour harmony. I also use a lot of aluminium wire in my design to create avant-garde compositions.”

Rose said that unlike in painting, where you can mix colours, floral art is more nuanced “because you can’t change the colours of nature”. Well, you can, with colour spraying products, but Rose says she hates those products. “My inspiration is to keep things as natural as possible,” she said.

So what is the difference between a floral artist and a florist? Rose said the comparison is akin to a tailor and a fashion designer. “A florist is someone who creates arrangements that follow a fixed design or according to the customer’s request,” she said. “A floral artist is someone who expresses their ideas, creations or emotions by using a combination of floral and non-floral materials.”

Rose enjoys passing on her knowledge of floral art through workshops, classes and exhibitions. She teaches courses from basic to advanced, as well as children’s classes, special interest classes, such as terrariums, living jewellery and succulents.

“I have about 60 topics to cover for anyone who seriously wants to go into professional floristry,” she said.

Rose Cao’s studio is at Block E #04-71, Lexington Officetel, 67 Mai Chi Tho, An Phu, District 2.