A year ago this past June my team converged on the small mountain town of Highlands, NC for a very special wedding. With a NASA trucker hat on I drove a 26 foot reefer truck through lunchtime Atlanta traffic during a torrential thunderstorm then up narrow winding mountain roads until I steered her into the wrong parking lot at Highlands Country Club. I might have cussed a lot but I got it done.
My team was incredible. A gang of flower assassins ready to rumble. From Brooklyn to Birmingham, we all came together to bring our bride's vision to life and to enjoy evening sky gazing on our grassy knoll tucked inside a fern gully in our backyard. We felt strangely anointed. I found a wild foxglove the first day and proclaimed it our spirit stick. A risky move considering it was fully bloomed out when I clipped it on a Tuesday. Each morning I would come downstairs and peer into the kitchen, fingers crossed hoping it was still alive and it always was. Magic. I learned a lot about magic on this trip and my need to find it and harness it wherever I am.
I've always been this way. Intense. On the hunt for deeper meaning. A spiritual connection to our natural world. It's not the easiest path, but it's mine and I accept it. Sometimes our greatest gifts are the hardest parts of our personalities to navigate. So be it. I feel like I always end up saying this in my blog posts, but you've got to be yourself in this life. It's the only way to go.
That's when the magical foxglove start showing up. Trust me, it's cool.
Well hi. It's been about a year and a half. I'm not sure what happened except a whole hell of a lot. For starters I think I had a midlife crisis about turning 40 that lasted about a year. After getting eyelash extensions and a whole new wardrobe I realized that was all meaningless. Turns out a lot of things are meaningless but that's not entirely my point. My intern Marguerite recently advised me to read Ecclesiastes which I found very amusing as I'm about as likely to open a bible as I am to go swimming with a school of starving sharks. But whatever, I found my bible and flipped to chapter three. Here is a portion:
"There is a time for everything, and a season for everything under the sun. A time to be born and time to die, a time to plant and and time to reap, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a tine to keep and a time to throw away, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear down and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and time for peace."
Perhaps a simple bit of wisdom but alas a mentality that had eluded me until the moment I read it and the events of the past year came flooding back to me like the tears that streamed down my cheeks. I found myself grateful for my tumultuous 40th year. It was a time of struggle which I fought it tooth and nail to escape. But much like the seasons, these times come and go without our permission. We can choose to find the unique beauty each season shows us or we can sit inside and wait for it to end.
So I've set out on a new journey. One of acceptance and experience rather than avoidance. So far it's been pretty cool. I'm reminded of these wise words from a favorite 70's jam by Blues Image:
"Ride captain ride upon your mystery ship, be amazed at the friends you have here on your trip. Ride captain ride upon your mystery ship on your way to a world that others might have missed."
Don't miss it.
Photography: Megan Sadler
Event Planning/Design: Jessica Sloane
I turn 40 this weekend.
I know it's not an actual big deal. But what if it feels like it is? It's funny because this past fall I sat on a barstool in Brooklyn and told a friend of mine that (verbatim) there's nothing worse than a woman who can't age gracefully.
Bold statement. And kind of a merciless one. I've thought about it a lot since then. What I meant by it. How it sounded so differently then than it does to me now.
I think what I meant is that I wanted to be a woman who could age gracefully, free from the emotional vice grip that is societal pressure to look forever 29. I wanted to walk on water right past that shit unfazed and grateful for my inner beauty (and the fact that I've almost always worn sunscreen).
But I find myself down in it to be honest. The muck and mire of my judgmental and shallow mental state that is probably the result of about 30 years of fashion magazine reading. I've actually done the following several times lately: looked up photos of my 29 year old self on Facebook and thought, I'll never be as hot as I used to be.
So basically, according to my ruthless barstool mentality, this all makes me the worst kind of woman. The kind who can't age gracefully. Clinging to the past. Finding her value in how good her ass still looks in her old skinny jeans.
I quickly google "grace" to see what it even means. (I feel like I do this a lot.)
: a way of moving that is smooth and attractive and that is not stiff or awkward
: a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving
I immediately stiffen. I make several awkward and unattractive faces. I make a decision. I DO NOT want to age gracefully, I want to age honestly. I want to go back to the barstool in Brooklyn and tell my friend who brought the whole issue up that I also struggle with noticing that I'm aging. Of course I do. But I also want to tell her she's one of the coolest most empowering women I've ever met. That I'm damn impressed by all that we've both accomplished in our lives and that those years spent working towards those accomplishments, while they may have caused a wrinkle or an extra pound, they were well spent.
So I'd like to rephrase.
There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who has truly lived her life. Made her mark. Found her way. Accepted herself. THIS is how I want to live my next 40 years.
I met Sarah Ryhanen in February of 2014 at a Little Flower School class in NY. But really I feel like I met her several years before that when I stumbled upon her flower photos on Flickr. I had just started doing flowers and I would just scroll through Pinterest looking for photos of flowers that spoke to me. It was a real struggle. Finally I just started googling "natural flower arrangement" and eventually up popped a photo from Sarah's Flickr photostream. I was hooked. Interestingly the photo I found was toward the beginning of her catalogue, in other words, it was an older photo. Much like the way I've always read Vogue back to front, I spent half a day looking through her beautiful photostream backwards. By the time I got to her latest work my mind was completely blown. I'd never seen flowers be so evocative. After emerging from the Flickr binge I googled her business, Saipua, and found her blog. There went the rest of my day. I read and read and ended up in tears, so moved by her profound words and images. I felt drawn to her. I was pretty sure she had to be one of the coolest women on earth.
A couple years later, I found myself at her Dutch Masters class. I brought my camera and was taking photos of the incredible selection of flowers for the students when she came up and introduced herself to me. Not surprisingly she had a great handshake which I've always appreciated in a woman. She asked me all about my camera for a while and then went on to meet some other students. The class was great. Looking back I think my arrangement suffered a bit as a result of the fact that I was stationed next to the prosecco, although I experienced a real breakthrough as a florist learning how to work in a pin frog and chicken wire that day. Sarah came by once or twice and encouraged me to rethink my poppy placement which she thought looked like a doctor's headlamp. I let her move it, then moved it back. Ha! When it was time to leave I boldly gave her my card and she mentioned the idea of me coming up to NY to help with one of her events. And thus began a friendship with Sarah and her Saipua family who are, in actuality, some of the coolest people I've ever met.
As much as I'd like to give you a blow by blow account of how I ended up at Sarah's first lamb roast at World's End this month, suffice it to say that I was thrilled to death to receive the invitation and overjoyed when I walked onto the property and saw two women cooking an entire feast in a giant ring of fire. There are few things I love more than watching strong and soulful women about their business.
They cooked into the night equipped with headlamps and meat thermometers. It started drizzling. I got nervous about the rain so I drank more prosecco (a pattern emerges). All of the sudden Sarah calls us to the feast. The doors to their newly restored barn open to reveal a second giant ring of fire. This time decorated with the most delicate and perfect fall leaves and lit tapers in every beautiful color. There were gasps. There were tears. I saw so many people instinctively hold their hands over their hearts. It was magic. I'll never forget it.
In fact I think about it often and I come back to the ring of fire and it's deep meaning to me. The literal circle of life - the culling and slaughter of their rams to feed their friends and family. The spiritual circle - the antithesis of the hierarchy. The idea that we are all one, that no one is greater than the other. The notion that fire can be harnessed and used not only to nurture us but to cover us in beauty. And as I write this I realize that this is everything I am drawn to in Sarah - her fire.
Fall is my favorite time of year. In Alabama we get the first taste of it in early September when there are couple of days in a row where the high is 75 degrees or less. It's exhilarating. It's a promise that the summer will actually end. Summer here lasts for 4 to 5 months and it's just brutal. A slow succession of days characterized by extreme heat, humidity and sweat. I hate it. But this past weekend was glorious. I wore heavy dark denim, boots and a wool shirt to celebrate fall's triumphant return.
But it was more than just fall that I was celebrating. I hit a milestone as a business woman. I signed a lease for a storefront studio space. You see for the past three years I have built my business out of my house, specifically my semi-unfinished basement. When you start a business you really have no idea if you will succeed. You have to make the most of your available resources, work your ass off and hope for the best.
Because the basement was one of my most valuable available resources, I learned to love certain things about it. I tried to stay focused on what it offered rather dwell on its pitfalls. Even though it had no sink, which meant that I had to get water from and wash all my containers at a hose outside in the front yard, it had this magical window in the corner. The light that came through it was straight out of a Vermeer. Absolutely perfect soft filtered side light.
The window and I developed quite a routine. When I made an arrangement that I was particularly fond of, I would set it on the ledge next the the window. I would turn off all of the lights, some were bare bulbs which I had to carefully unscrew while trying not to think about the outdated 1927 wiring. In order to have enough space to photograph, I'd shove all my big buckets of tall branches out of their home so that I could finagle myself into the best position to find the perfect iPhone photo to post on Instagram. Sometimes I'd end up climbing on top of the cold concrete ledge so that I could be on the same plane as the flowers. We called the whole process Special Instagram Time. I think I'll miss it. But damn it as much as I might, I'll finally have a mop sink - the thought of which is producing misty tears of joy as I write this. A real mop sink. Sniff, sniff.
So anyway, back to my fabulous fall wardrobe. As I walked the sidewalks of Birmingham in my bad ass booties and tough dark denim this weekend, a cool breeze delivering me from summer's hateful grip, I felt like a damn champion. This business and I have been through a lot. It hasn't always been pretty flowers and Vermeer side light. The learning curve was steep and humbling. But I never gave up. Even when I was washing buckets on a tarp in the front yard in the August sun slapping the mosquitos feeding on my ankles and humming the theme to Samford and Son as I stared at the giant piles of flower trash on my curb, I knew deep down that just like the seasons do eventually change, my time would come to leave the basement.
My very own storefront is coming soon. Sniff, sniff.
Photo: Rylee Hitchner
I think I forgot I had a blog. Whoops! Actually it just took me about 4 months to figure out how to make a blog post on my new website. I'm not very good at computers to be honest. Sorry. Not sorry? Here's the thing, you can't be good at everything. It's not healthy. Today I was trolling around Instagram and stumbled upon a hashtag #doeverything and I was like #nothanks. I don't think you need to be good at everything to be successful. I think you need to be really good at few key things. And perhaps more importantly you need to own those qualities and have confidence in them. Sometimes I think really owning your strengths and putting them to work for you is the hardest part. Because to do this you have to believe that you are indeed good at this or that and go around not only displaying that but many times verbalizing it as well in some way.
It's oddly disconcerting to act and speak out of a place of total confidence because what if you come across as arrogant? Or worse, #bitchy? When I worry about these things I have to remind myself that a) arrogant people don't care how they come across b) people have hired me because I have a certain set of strengths and if go around being a shrinking violet I would essentially be doing my clients a disservice and c) don't call me a bitch, yo.
So basically I want to be good at being good at what I'm good at. I want to inspire the confidence of others and I want to inspire others to have confidence in themselves. This is especially important to me as a woman. I really feel like women are taught somewhere along the way to act shocked by their successes and to gracefully attribute them to someone else. Well, #nothanks.
So allow me to put my money where my mouth is. I did the flowers and the photography in these photos. They were featured here on Once Wed recently and I'm very proud of how it all turned out. I love flowers. And I love photography. And I'm good at doing both things. Actually, I think I'm good at something in particular that makes me good at both things and that is composition. So there. I've named a strength and owned it. Your turn.
I'll be brief about this wedding and let these photos speak for themselves. I know I try not to be a perfectionist but damn if this wedding wasn't kind of perfect. I loved this bride. She reminded me of Grace Kelly. (Sadly no one will ever say that about me.) I've certainly never said it about anyone before, but, she is one of those people who can glide through a room as opposed to simply walking. Flawless skin and hair. Understated yet fabulously dressed. Impeccable taste. So Grace. I was in awe! And on top of that she knew what she wanted which is such a wonderful quality. She was just dreamy. And so was her wedding. And so was the team of creatives with whom I was able to collaborate. They are all listed below.
Photography: Ryan Ray
Event Styling and Coordination: Ginny Au
Paper Goods: Brown Linen Design
Rentals: 12th Table
Ribbon: Froufrou Chic
I've written and deleted this post about 5 times. I was attempting to write a year end review post about everything I learned in 2014 but ended up boring myself half to death droning on about how crucial it is to invest in quality linens, which would probably have bored you to death, so let's just say it's highly important and leave it there.
Other than linens (and quality candles - I even won't start) I kept coming back to the idea of connection and how integral it is to learning itself. But then my inner loner was like - don't think about that or you'll end up having to leave the house and go talk to people! That made me think of my old dog Kobi. They say you can learn a lot about a person from observing their dog. Kobi functioned very independently. He was sweet but not affectionate. He was a genius escape artist obsessed with boundaries. If there was a way out, he would find it and run. I got Kobi before I got married. When I got married I had to stop running away.
This was a real game changer my inner loner.
About a year and a half later Kobi died. The house was so quiet. And I felt so lonely. Almost immediately we adopted Bella. Bella is a pack animal through and through. Highly social, affectionate and aware of her surroundings. Engaged. Connected. My inner loner was horrified. But I noticed that voice had become harder and harder to hear. I'd finally joined a pack and it was changing me. Before I knew it I was boldly leaving the house and making new friends. Next thing I knew I was leaving the state and investing in relationships with other florists. Studying under them, working for them. Learning from them. That's when I really started to learn about flowers.
So I guess that's what I've learned this year. The value of connection. The strength of the pack. I'm not sure how I went from aloof siberian husky to clingy australian shepherd in a year's time, I just know I'm grateful for the transformation.
Speaking of flowers and dogs, I had the opportunity to work with flower magazine and Hand in Paw on a shoot that is featured in this month's issue of flower which is on newsstands now. Here is a link to a preview on their website: https://www.flowermag.com/article/best-in-flower-show/
Happy new year, friends.
Photos: Holly Carlisle
Event Planning and Coordination: Mariée Ami
One time when I was at my favorite Mexican restaurant here in Birmingham I tried to ask a question about the menu to the woman who was bringing people salsa. She gave me a confused look. Not realizing that she didn't speak much English, I repeated my question. We sat in silence until she finally said, "No situation. No can." And then she walked off. She was basically saying, we are at an impasse in this situation because I can't understand you therefore I cannot do anything to help you.
I went to Puerto Rico in November to do my last wedding of the year and I don't speak Spanish. I had a lot of no situation, no can moments. The only thing was that no can was not an option. I had to push through and find solutions to a world of problems. Like when your street is closed for construction and you have six 50lb boxes of flowers that you have to move two blocks from your illegally parked minivan to your apartment. No situation. No problem. I walked down the street with a box on my head until I found a construction crew and mimed to them that I needed to borrow their wheelbarrow while saying over and over, "Mas flores aqui," and pointing towards the stack of boxes by the minivan in the distance.
I did have one no can moment. After about 87 nightmare conversations with Dept. of Agriculture officials who were determined not to release my flowers to me the day they arrived, I decided my only option at that point was to source additional flowers from a local wholesaler. My trusty assistant and I piled into the minivan and navigated our way to a store in San Juan that upon first glance did have rather a lot of bars on the door and windows for being a flower shop. Undeterred, I entered. Actually, I had to be buzzed in the barred door. Once inside, I found myself separated from the contents of the store by a floor to ceiling wall complete with thick plexiglass window. A man stood behind the window and spoke to me through perforations in the plexiglass. What did I want? To see the flowers. No see the flowers. He pointed to a dogeared, yellowed poster - essentially a grid of flower mugshots. What flower you need? Roses? Tulip? Hydrangea? I tried to explain that my primary concern was palette not variety. For some reason, this was not convincing to the gatekeeper of the Fort Knox of flowers. Finally I realized I was in a no can situation. We retreated.
Flower-less, confused and discouraged, we trudged across the street and ordered a burger that arrived sporting an inexplicably bright blue bun. It was more like fuel than food so we force fed ourselves a small portion and sat in silence for the eternity it took our waitress to bring us our bill. Morale was low.
In the end, we found a great wholesaler who did care about the subtleties of my palette. I learned how to say hyacinth in Spanish. Jacinto. We found the cargo area of the airport with the help of several complete strangers, two policemen and one highly complex hand drawn map. They released the flowers to us that same day. I didn't have to bribe anyone and I only had one notable meltdown.
I was repeatedly reminded on this trip how important it is to be flexible. As beautifully orchestrated as your Plan A may be and as hard as you've worked on it for months and months, it's Plan B that's going to save you. I wish life went according to plan so that I could always feel safe and secure but the fact remains that it just doesn't work that way. This is something I'm beginning to accept and it's making my life easier. I'm also learning that I might need a minivan, but I'm not ready to accept that. No situation. No can.
Greetings, friends! Guess what's right around the corner?
Hint: it was really fun when you were a kid...like waking up getting a Barbie Dream House kind of fun.
Answer: The Holidays.
Here's the thing about the most wonderful time of the year. Sometimes it just isn't. And I for one am over it being lame/stressful and have decided to make some spirits bright this year. I'm having a wreath class!!! It will be hosted by Christopher Architecture and Interiors at their beautiful new space in Homewood, AL. December 7th at 2:00.
I hope to see some of you there. My goal is for you to experience actual holiday cheer learning to make a gorgeous wreath WHILE you enjoy cookies with icing on them and drink champagne. (Or cider. Cider is also cheerful.)
If you are interested in attending, click HERE for a class description and ticket information.
P.S. There's a lady bug in the first photo! She styled herself. See if you can find her.
Hint: she looks good in spent clematis.
In art school I realized that I was "process driven". Which basically means I don't really know exactly what something is going to end up looking like until I just start making it and let the experience of working with the materials guide me. I think this makes sense if you work with flowers. You have to be flexible with flowers. For one, it's live product so you never exactly know how the flowers you order are going to look until they arrive. Two, the flowers always interact with each other in unique ways that you just can't predict until you have them in your hands. I'm always surprised by what ends up being the key element that ties a look together and I love that it's often something that I didn't plan.
You have to plan a lot in this business. I guess you could call it "creative planning". (Sorry, I've been in a quotations mood all week.) You have to design a look in your mind very far in advance and then make a set of predictions about what all you will need to make it months later. I do a lot of it on a spreadsheet which is a little something my younger process driven art student self would not have believed. I mean I waited until my last semester of college to take math - where I remember learning how to do a spreadsheet and feeling SO confident that I would NEVER need to use one in my lifetime. I was however completely confident that threading a loom would prove to be a key life skill. Art school...
Sometimes I can see why my parents were less than thrilled that I was a fiber art major (and French minor - mais oui). But the reality is that I learned a lot studying art that I use constantly. Have I ever threaded a loom again? Lord, no. Do I consider color, texture, line, shape and form on a daily basis? Hell yes. It's key to my "process". (That and spreadsheet wizardry.)
Photos: Rylee Hitchner
Styling: Ginny Au
So I keep writing about what I've learned this season and then deleting it because it sounds too snarky which isn't really a vibe I want to put out there today. (I'm trying to be positive.) Really I just want to give all of my florist friends a giant hug. It's been a busy summer and I know how we can get a little worn thin. I learned something in an Ikebana class the other day I'd like to share. There is an element to the practice of Ikebana called fruition. It is a kind of relaxation rooted in realizing that you cannot control all the aspects of a piece. An appreciation for the beauty and magic of nature. An understanding of the natural order and state of all life. And a knowledge that everything changes.
I think there is some kind of freedom in this. Letting go of some of the control. Letting the piece direct itself a little bit. Let it be a work in progress. Walk away if you're not connecting to it. Come back and see what it says to you. Don't force it. Be changeable.
This wedding took place at the Blount Conservatory in Montgomery, Alabama. Did you know that Alabama's state motto is "Alabama the Beautiful"? It would be kind of braggy sounding if it wasn't so true. This really is a lovely state full of green and trees and old southern ruins. It has a natural beauty that's hard to describe until you've been here which many people haven't. I guess it is a little out of the way. I was up in New York recently working on a wedding for another florist and several people sounded amazed that I had managed to get all the way from Alabama to The Big City. "You came all the way from Alabama?" Lord, I thought, it's only an hour and a half direct flight, not a 19 day trip on the back of a mule drawn turnip truck. But I think people still think of The South as being a little frozen in time, immune to progress and change. I mean honestly, there is some truth to that but in general I think we have a lot to offer. Alabama grows a lot of talented people. I mean just look at these photos by Leslie Hollingsworth. And the styling of this wedding by Ginny Au. I was proud to be a part of this homegrown affair. Roll Tide, ya'll.
See more of this wedding in the Summer 2014 issue of Weddings Unveiled.
Photography: Leslie Hollingsworth
Styling: Ginny Au
It's very common for brides to feel a lot of pressure to abide by a lot of rules. If you get married in Spring your flowers need to be pastel. In the Fall, warm tones. Etc, etc. It reminds me of the 80's when makeup sales people, after draping a series of poly-blend swatches across your chest and shoulders in order to evaluate your skin tone, declared you to be one of the four seasons and then informed you that you could only use a particular set of eyeshadow colors and lipsticks. I remember being immediately drawn to all of the colors I wasn't supposed to wear. I mean how dare that lady label me! I can pick out my own damn lipstick, thank you very much.
But not everyone is this way. Some people just buy the bossy lady's lipstick and never look back. A lot of people feel compelled to accept rules like these and feel very bound by them. And it's just really limiting and oppressive. And I'm not having it. Especially when it comes to wedding flowers. Is it grandiose for me to see myself as not just a florist but a liberator? A floral Moses? Ok, yes, but hear me out. I'm just saying that we should all be free to express ourselves, to like what we like, wear what we want to wear, say what we want to say, etc. Maybe I'm more like a floral Madonna...Ok, I'll stop, I'll stop. Now I'm labeling myself for god's sake.
Bottom line is this. I'm here to get to know my clients and to create for them wedding flowers that are unique to them. I think that is one of my favorite parts of my job really. Discovering what my brides are really inspired by and encouraging them to move in that direction despite any and all outside pressures/rules/labels. So you're a Fall trapped in a Spring's body? No problem. Inspired by Beauty and the Beast and Dutch flower paintings? Whatever! It's your wedding and I'm here to remind you that you can wear whatever lipstick you want.
And today I feel like talking about it. I just feel like being honest about it because I think it's a common struggle for people. It comes and goes for me but lately it's got me feeling a little worn down. I mean, I KNOW that nothing in this world is perfect. I KNOW that striving for perfection is crippling. I KNOW all sorts of things about the pitfalls being a perfectionist but I can't seem to absorb what I know in a way that helps me to let go of the drive for perfection. It's just such a harsh and critical state of mind. Believing that something could always have been better is totally exhausting.
Here's an example. I made this bouquet this weekend. Here is one of about 400 photos that I took of it. I just kept trying to get the perfect shot and when I couldn't I became more and more frustrated and critical of what I had made. And I realized all of the sudden how sad this was. I realized that I wasn't enjoying the flowers because I was too busy criticizing them. The truth is that I was letting perfectionism rob me of joy. The joy I get from working with flowers. The joy I get from taking photos. I have to find a way out of this mental trap.
I wonder what it's like to not be a perfectionist. I hear you do a lot of being in the moment. I'm like what does that even mean? The moment. THE MOMENT. I think it has something to do with your mind relaxing. My mind, on the other hand, is relentless. I don't ever stop thinking of what I should be doing or what I could have done better. It's ridiculous. In college I had this friend Ainoah. She was a total hippy. I loved being around her. She used to take me on long walks into the woods and she would play her flute and I would hum along. We would pick wild flowers. I would forget about my worries. I think looking back on it, we were being in the moment. It was nice.
Basically, I've got to find my inner hippy. Wish me luck.
February 22, 2014 -Little Flower School - Long Island City Queens, NY
Despite it being the dead of winter, my month of February was all about growth. I met two of my biggest inspirations in this business. I worked for one and studied with the other at Little Flower School. As you can see from my photos, it was a gorgeous experience. I mean, can you believe these flowers? And all that stunning light streaming through the windows of The Metropolitan Building? I could barely focus on building my arrangement as I was so busy taking photos of all the flowers we had to choose from. Somehow I managed...
My arrangement is the last on in the set. I feel like I learned a lot. I had a successful "blue moment". I learned to love tulips. I loosened up some. I think that last one was key. I had a mini tragedy occur towards the end of the class when my grapes fell out of the chicken wire and pulled out half of the surrounding flowers. But it was ok because it gave me an opportunity to try not to be a massive perfectionist and just go with it, be in the moment, rework it and move on. Sometimes I need that. A little upset to get me out of my head and into the moment. That's my new thing.
Sometimes I wonder what to make of dreams. Some we experience while sleeping and others while we are very much awake. We dream of who we would like to become, places we want to go, beautiful things we'd like to see or make or do. Sometimes we run from our dreams and sometimes we go after them. The whole thing can be scary because what if we go after one and it doesn't work the way we had dreamed it would? I guess that's the hard part. But I've decided that dreams are not to be feared but rather embraced. Fodder for our creative growth. I've also decided that things hardly ever work out the way we think they will so why worry about that part? Sometimes you just have to go with it. Be a part of the process. Let it wash over you and change you. Collaborate with life. Let your dreams inspire you, not frighten you.
I don't really remember my sleeping dreams so I tend to focus on my waking ones. Being a part of this shoot was a bit on the dreamy side actually. Allow me to elaborate. My friend Caitlin asked me to collaborate with her on a shoot for her gorgeous blog, Roost. Many of you are familiar with her work I am sure and if not, now is the time to enter into her beautiful world. She asked if I could do hair, makeup and flowers for a video she wanted to make about a dream. I was beside myself as I am a huge admirer of her work and have always wanted to see her in creative action. I always learn so much from watching people work and was thrilled to be able to be part of Caitlin's process. Being a kind and generous friend, she allowed me to tag along with my camera and take photos throughout the day. It was such an honor to be able to capture bits of this dream world she created on film. I hope you will enjoy her video. I hope it encourages you to run toward your next dream. Our lives are always changing and sometimes our dreams really do become a part of our reality. Here's to the dreamers...
So lately I've found myself taking the Rosegolden show on the road more and more. It's an interesting process. Challenging. The logistics are much more complex than working in my city and out of my studio both of which I know so well. I can't say that logistical planning and organization are qualities that come naturally to me - I've had to train myself to think that way. As a kid I was often labeled "artsy" or "out to lunch". In fact my parents (in a very Royal Tenenbaums fashion) had me "evaluated" by a team of psychiatrists at a young age because they thought something was wrong with me. As it turns out, I was just a typical creative, a day dreaming middle child with an active imagination. You see, my grandfather was a general in the U.S Army. He was the most strategic thinker I've ever met. As a person who could rarely find my homework I often wondered how we were related. As odd as it may sound, it took doing flowers for me to discover that I had an inner general.
I think most good florists have a bit of a split personality - both an artist and a strategist. So much of the job is laying the logistical groundwork that allows you to create the end product. All I can say is that when I got into flowers I had no idea how good I would become at making spreadsheets. It's been a such an interesting journey. I spent years of my life as a creative person avoiding being organized because I believed it was antithetical to being artistic. But I've realized how that thinking was holding me back. Being more organized has made me a better artist. This is not to say I have perfected any of this. Do I still lose my keys daily? Yes. Do I know where my phone is at this moment? No. I'm still myself, just more structured. Basically my inner day dreamer and inner general are like totally best friends now. I think they make an alright team. Cheers.