“The life of man is a self-evolving circle, which, from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outwards to new and larger circles, and that without end. The extent to which this generation of circles, wheel without wheel, will go, depends on the force or truth of the individual soul.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
The circle is without beginning and without end. Ripples on the surface of the water, emanating out from a single source—a raindrop, a pebble, a water strider as it glides impossibly on the surface of the pond.
Since the ancients gazed upon a full moon with wonder, mankind has been fascinated with the circle, its perfection and the timeless mystery of that perfection. Mandalas are circular designs from the Buddhist and Hindu traditions that symbolize the entirety and utter completeness of the universe.
The recent eclipse is a fleeting moment in a dance of heavenly orbs—one circle passing in front of another.
I have spent countless hours drawing and painting circles in the hopes of coming as close to perfection as possible. Dipping the brush in ink and swirling around on the paper is meditative and satisfying. Circles are in us and of us and around us physically, metaphorically, spiritually.
When I begin to design a circle collage I feel the tension between being bound within a one foot diameter and the freedom that comes from allowing the beauty of the petals to guide me as I pay homage to the love they represent.
Large and small, light and dark, cool and warm elements balance and harmonize, like the balance we strike in marriage. Separate, but together. Two people, one and one—now, each more than they were alone.
Constant and unbroken. Unquestionably whole. The Circle is a beautiful and fitting design to preserve your wedding flowers.
The Flora-Ly Studios Walk series began with a walk in the woods.
In 2016, I created a series of botanical collages for the Mount Grace Conservation Trust. I would walk their land and gather flora along the way to bring back to my studio and press. The long, horizontal stretch of the resulting pieces reflects those walks. They were an abstract recreation of the Mount Grace trails.
When I hung the pieces for exhibition, my goal was for each guest to relive those walks in the woods. I wanted each person who viewed the pieces to be moved to remember their own thoughtful meanderings down those same trails. Or, or perhaps the collages would bring to mind the sun dappled forest paths of their childhood. The pieces were meant to be evocative of the smells, sights and sensations of walks from the past. By joining the past with the present, I intended to create a timeless feedback loop of memory and emotion.
A woodland trail is much like the aisle you walk down to join your true love in marriage. Both are a procession through a sacred space; both showing the way down an oft-trodden path—the direction marked by the footsteps of those who have gone before us. Rather than wander directionless through the forest of life, you have found your path, your way, and you are ready to walk it.
Carrying a bouquet down the aisle on your wedding day is a tradition that goes back centuries. During the time of King Henry VIII, brides carried a bouquet of herbs that were later used in a celebratory feast. When you choose to preserve your wedding bouquet in the Walk design, you honor the path that guided you to the discovery of love; the grace of tradition; and the beauty of commitment.
To hang a Walk botanical collage in your home is to give yourself the gift of revisiting that walk down the aisle, a daily reminder to cherish the events that brought you to this life. More than a memory, it serves as a reminder that this path is a life-long journey and while there may be challenges along the way, there is much beauty—if only we’re wise enough to stop and appreciate it.
Flora-Ly Studios’ Walk is 36” x 10” of floral meandering, a timeless work of art that represents the way you once walked alone and celebrates how you now walk side by side, mindful to stop occasionally and appreciate the moments of beauty along the way.
This Walk is comprised of Dahlia, Queen Anne's Lace and Hydrangea. Three flowers balanced in a thoughtful and rhythmic way.
Have you heard the news? Flora-Ly Studios now offers hand painted wedding invitation suites! Do you have any paper lovelies that could be elevated with the stroke of a paint brush? Below, I’ll show you HOW I do it, but first, let me tell you WHY.
I don’t remember a time when a paint brush didn’t feel like an extension of my soul. Long before I thought to call myself an artist, painting was second nature to me. And so it made sense that I should go to art school. After studying fine art at Syracuse University, I went on to work with fiber, flowers, and more traditional mediums, making murals and commissioned pieces in the hours between teaching art to children and raising my own. When I took over my mother’s business, I relegated painting to my personal time, not thinking to incorporate it with the work I was doing with pressed flowers.
Last year, my son Keegan proposed to his then-girlfriend Emily and the two began to plan their wedding. In the glow of their joy, the universe took a break from bigger doings and took a moment to speak to me. What it said was unmistakable. My gift to Keegan and Emily would be made of botanicals and brush strokes. Of course, I would do their wedding flowers (and press them afterwards), but I would also hand paint their wedding invitations!
The three of us spent a few evenings around a table with paints, paper, excitement and joy as we planned out the design. Emails, sketches and more excitement followed. And then, the plan was complete. I was going to create one hundred and twenty 5”x7” invitations; RSVP cards; event cards; envelopes (sending and return); thirty rehearsal dinner invitations; place cards and table numbers; each a unique piece of their vision. Every single one, painted by my hand.
Over the winter, after my work was done, I painted. I laid in branches, then leaves, blue hydrangea and wispy, baby leaves. Mesmerized by the rhythm of painting, I meditated on my son, his love, the enrichment of our family and the new chapter that lay ahead for all of us.
Here is a few minute video of the making of 1 out of 120.
When the entire suite was finished, Keegan and Emily were thrilled to send each person on their list an original painting made just for them, inviting them to share in their happiness.
The joy of this creative act was deepened by the love I have for my family, but it began with the feel of the paintbrush in my hand, the colors at my command. It felt natural and RIGHT.
When something feels so right, you want to repeat it. Over and over. Lucky me! By offering this service to other couples, I can!
I get to paint and you get to send your guests an invitation as unique as your love, hand painted with the same care you’ve taken to choose every detail of your wedding. And they’ll know, the moment they open that envelope that something very special is about to happen and it’s your wish to share it with them.
So, let’s talk, email, sketch and sit around a table (real or virtual :). I’ll listen and interpret your ideas with brush and color. I’ll help you create original paintings to call your loved ones to your celebration. Painted just for them.
Your special time is now. Let’s get started!
Whether the medium is pressed flowers or watercolor, my passion is your love.
A glimpse of a sample of every piece created, from envelope to place card.
My world Monday, illustrated.
Here’s what a Monday looks like in my world…
No matter what day it is, it always begins with coffee. My favorite is Deans Beans because it’s ethically sourced, locally roasted and totally delicious!
Coffee may GET me going, but music KEEPS me going! Today it’s Hamilton, David Bowie and Talking Heads.
Right now, I’m diving into some circular designs. I love circles. Nature loves circles too: the sun; the moon; the center of a flower; a sand dollar; an acorn cap; the circle of life.
I’ll spend hours in my studio today, elbow deep in gorgeous pressed flowers. These pretty petals are sweet company but they aren’t very chatty. When I long for conversation, I turn on a podcast. One of my favorites is She Creates Business with Kinsey Roberts. Her interviews are so interesting and full of useful tidbits that I often find myself taking notes while I listen.
Which reminds me!
Have you heard my interview on Kinsey’s podcast? It was such a treat for me to chat with her! Give a listen here… (Don't have itunes? no worries, She Creates Business can be found on most podcast apps.) Maybe it will keep you company on your Monday. (Or any other day ;)
I'm Linda, keeper of the flowers.