When you’ve been working in the wedding business for as long as I have (which is a long time), you see flower trends come and go. What did I see in 2019? I saw people listening to their hearts, honoring their past, their families, their friends. I saw imagination, intention, creativity and deeply personal choices. It was an honor to work with so many clients who chose their wedding flowers with care and approached the process of preserving the memory of their wedding day with just as much joy.
There are a lot of reasons I love my work, but the thing that gets me out of bed every morning is the opportunity to be challenged anew. There’s an endless variety of ways I can coax a story from the ephemera of flower, memory, and emotion and capture that story in a timeless piece of art. There are as many ways to approach a custom botanical collage as there are couples who choose to work with me.
This year, I had the privilege of working with 40 clients from all over the country. Each and every one of them (and their flowers!) was welcomed into a collaborative process rooted in respect and care.
Here are a few highlights from the studio last year…
I was invited by Sarah Glick of Brilliant Event Planning to visit her clients’ farm in Western Massachusetts to pick flowers from their garden so I could press them to make a 36” x 24” guest book and 30 custom botanical table numbers. This creative and meaningful guest book hangs in their new home – soon to be joined by a custom collage from the pressed petals of her lovely bouquet, designed by Winston Flowers.
These olive branches and delicate flowers traveled from the other side of the world tucked in a book and packed in a suitcase. Gifted by a special person from a sacred place, these flowers held great meaning to the well-known morning TV host who carried them home with her. This collage is nestled into a custom-made shadow box that carefully holds the precious blooms and the sentiment they were presented with.
Katherine brought me her awe-inspiring bouquet from New Leaf Flores in Boston. Resplendent with the most vibrant pink and red Peonies ever to grace my studio table, the abundant bouquet provided blooms aplenty to create an impressive collage for the newlyweds plus smaller collages and custom necklaces for members of the family. Gifting pieces from the bouquet was an especially meaningful way for this sweet couple to share the memories of their elopement with the people they love.
Think it might be too far to ship your flowers to my studio in Massachusetts? Not a chance! Kim’s a flower farmer in Nevada who made a lovely bouquet for her sister’s wedding in California. From there, the flowers were shipped across the country to my studio, where they pressed beautifully. I shipped the finished collage back across the country to Oregon, where the bride lives. Those petals traveled 6,500 miles in total before finally ending up in their forever home! Phew! Much gratitude to the USPS and FedEx! And Kim – whose beautiful flowers were a joy to work with!
More ketubahs please! Have I told you lately how much I love to work in circles? It’s probably why creating a custom ketubah from wedding flowers is such a satisfying process. I have to dig deep for the patience to respect the natural curve of a flower stem. The open spaces are a challenge for me too, but the end result is a beautiful reminder of the wedding and poignant reminder of a sacred agreement between two people who choose each other.
Every collage I create is a labor of love, but this one was maybe even more so because the flowers belonged to my daughter’s childhood friend. Astrantia are always a favorite of mine to work with – explosions of petals atop a sturdy stem. Peonies with just the slightest blush of pink, and lavender grown by her mother (a long-time friend of mine). It’s fitting that the lavender, the sentimental heart of the bouquet, became the foundation for this piece. Those beautiful, long stems pushed the piece taller than I usually work, with very happy results.
What do I predict for 2020? Love. Because, always love. Care. Because the meaningful little details are the ones couples remember forever. Challenge. Because each custom botanical collage is waiting to be discovered in the flowers that come to my studio. Respect. Because your wedding flowers matter to you and preserving them forever matters to me.
Love these ideas? Pin them to your wedding planning board!
At the beginning of 2017, I had high hopes for a great year. More than hopes, I had PLANS (capital P, captial L, capital A-N-S.) But my most earnest dreams for 2017 were merely a shadow of the vibrant, soul-renewing, heart-busting year it became.
I added new presses to the studio this year to keep pace with bouquets coming in from all over the country. Wedding flowers came in from California, Alabama, Pennsylvania and every corner of Massachusetts. It makes me giddy to think about the bouquets that were packed with care and traveled hundreds of miles to arrive at my studio.
Even with more presses, they were constantly full as I pressed thousands of flower petals and reconstructed hundreds of flowers to make over 40 botanical collages this year! I made small collages and large collages that celebrated beginnings and memorialized passings. I worked on designs that challenged me as an artist, stretched my skills and grew my confidence.
Each of the collages I created this year represents another heartfelt connection with the people who entrusted their flowers to me. New clients became new friends and I have been forever changed by their love for each other, their courage in the face of challenge and their hopeful new beginnings.
I created over 20 lockets full of tiny pressed flowers that were gifted to friends, partners and mothers.
The 2017 Flora-Ly Calendar of Flowers sold out!
I introduced hand painted, custom wedding invitations to my products & services.
I was a guest on a wedding pro podcast and invited to participate in a wedding inspiration photo shoot for a blogger in California.
I designed the wedding flowers for my beloved son and his equally beloved new wife. Of course I pressed them and created a botanical collage for their home. (Talk about a labor of love!) I also created custom painted wedding invitations for them!
One sweet client wrote in the memo line of her check, “Best botanical collage ever!” If you visit my studio, you may or may not find a photo of that note hanging on my bulletin board. ;)
I’m grateful for every moment of joy, each challenge, all the words of encouragement and even tho glimmers of doubt that filled the past 12 months. I’m grateful to you, my friends, my business besties, my clients, my family.
I continue to be humbled and honored by the trust and faith that is placed in me to save these flowers that hold so much meaning and memory for you. I never take it lightly.
"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been."
I relish the new and open space of time before me. Clients and friends I’ve yet to meet, weddings yet to happen, flowers yet to be saved, new collages to design, discover and send to their new homes, to remind, inspire and delight.
I wish you a sweet and peaceful new year. I hope our paths will cross in 2018 and if they do, let's have fun and create something lovely together!
Each year when I create the Flora-Ly Calendar of Flowers I choose a quote that suits the mood of the time in the studio.
This quote embodies how I have been feeling for months and will surely continue to feel into 2018. My heart is full of gratitude. I recognize it daily. Grateful for my happy children, my new daughter-in- law and my husband who keeps me fed and makes flower presses. I am grateful for the clients who have sought me out, entrusted me with their precious flowers, heaped praise, cried happy tears, told their friends – who told two friends – who told two friends. Grateful for colleagues who enlighten, challenge and enrich my business. It's been a fun, colorful creative time. So every day my heart does feel like a summer day. Riding my bicycle, swimming with friends, playing in the waves and creating beauty for appreciative people. Thank you for being here.
I've been in business for a smidge over five years and if there's one thing I've learned (there isn't, there's waaay MORE than ONE, but it's just a saying...) it's that there is something magical that happens when you find other wedding pros that share your aesthetics, values and drive to hone their craft and serve their clients. Through our conversations, we learn, we grow and we discover things that never would have occurred to us on our own. These are the people I turn to with questions or frustrations, to share info and celebrate successes.
I love my people so dang much that I want to share them with you!
You're going to love them too!
This brand new series of videos will introduce you to wedding professionals who are amazingly good at what they do. You'll meet bakers, planners, floral designers, photographers, jewelers--people from every corner of the wedding world!
The thing I love about each of these people is the heart with which they serve their customers and practice their art. During this season of gratitude, it feels right to express thanks for these friends who inspire me, teach me, listen and learn along with me.
Sometimes we're fortunate enough to sit on the same couch for these chats. Other times we depend on technology to shrink the miles between us.
Today, I'm so excited for you to meet Sandra Costello of Sandra Costello Photography. (Go on, click the link! She's got an AH-MAZING website!) We sat down to talk about what we do, why we do it and what sets us apart from other professionals in the wedding world. Sandra is passionate about the heartfelt way she connects with her clients. Sharing herself fully with her clients and forming a deep connection with them creates a sense of trust that allows people to open up so Sandra can capture the essence of a couple and the emotions in the moment. (Seriously, look at the pictures on her website, you'll totally understand what I mean!)
Sandra's the one who urged me to put more energy into creating a heartfelt connection with my clients. Now, when people come to me to preserve their wedding flowers, I spend the time to listen and learn about their love, their wedding and how their flowers embody the emotions of the day for them. As my friendship with Sandra has deepened, it has enriched the relationships I create with my clients. And that has fed my soul as an artist as I create botanical collages that are inspired by the essence of who my clients are and the love that brought them together.
Sandra was ALSO the one who suggested we interview each other on video since it's easier to explain your work in conversation with a friend than it is do a full-on video sales pitch (and much more pleasant!). It so dang much fun that I decided to make a habit of it.
I hope you enjoy this first episode of Heart-to-Heart!
KC & Mary had brought me two coolers full of flowers from their wedding.
I pressed just about everything they'd given me and when the flowers came out of the presses, I'd joked that I might need a bigger table. Then, of course, I was quick to point out that if bigger tables were required to hold more flowers and more love then (metaphorically speaking) we should ALL have BIGGER tables!
I stood back to take in the scope of the botanicals I'd taken from the presses. There had to have been a thousand petals in front of me. I bit my lip, intimidated by the sheer volume of the possibilities.
I took a deep breath. Just as every journey begins with a single step. Every botanical collage begins with one petal.
Shhh, here's a secret...when I get a bouquet, I pick apart all of the flowers and press the individual petals. Weeks later, when they come out of the presses, I re-build the flowers petal by petal.
Watch the process here...
I had reconstructed about 20 flowers when it became clear that the 11"x14" collage KC & Mary had ordered wasn't going to be big enough to hold this botanical abundance. I sent them an email to explain. I asked them to consider a bigger piece. "Think about where you're going to hang this in your home. Do you want one large piece, or maybe a series of smaller ones?" They said they'd talk about it and get back to me.
I expected KC & Mary to deliberate awhile to consider the possibilities. I was suprised when I heard back from them the very next day. They wanted a 20"x20".
"We want to capture that feeling of abundance we had throughout the day. Not only the abundance of flowers, but love and laughing and so much fun!"
For KC & Mary their flowers represented the total joy of their wedding day and they wanted their collage to capture that feeling so they could hold on to it forever.
As much as it thrilled me to hear how excited KC & Mary were about their collage, I was a little bit terrified. No lie. 20” x 20” is a large piece of artwork when your medium is pressed flower petals.
I needed to get busy building more flowers.
After I've reconstructed the flowers, it's time to design the collage.
But, before I begin to the design process, I set an intention.
I take a few moments and sit with the flowers. I think about the people I am creating for and what they want.
I think about love; deep love that makes one person say to another, you're the one for me.
I listen to the flowers. They witnessed the moment. They soaked up the joy. The flowers were there and now they're with me, imbued with the emotions of the day.
As I was designing KC & Mary's collage, I started to giggle. There ARE joy in the flowers and it's CONTAGIOUS!
I'm following the lead of the flowers and we're having a grand ol' time here at Flora-Ly Studios.
Here's a little glimpse of the piece in process...
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.