Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Daily Vase or Two



Dear Journal,

I'm sorry to have been so remiss of late. It's not that I haven't been thinking of you. There are many unfinished entries waiting in the wings. Life feels rather more complicated right now and not so flower friendly- exactly the time when we need more flowers, art and music! They are soul food. The creative force that allows these expressions through is born from a well of  inspiration and compassion and we need to stay in touch with this. We need this  replenishment as we stay active and vigilant. So I will try to be better about contributing a soul snack from my flower world.

Here are some of the first locally grown flowers coming out of the Bay Area. The wet and cold gave way and the local blooms will be prolific this year and aren't they something.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pave' Workshop/ 2017

Year after year, I am still amazed by the creative potential of Pave'. Someone in our group compared it to quilting. It reminds me of modern painting. We had an adventurous group this year. One participant took off and I was thinking it was a rather long bathroom break. A different call to nature; he had gone outside to do a little foraging to add to the mix. Others returned to delve more deeply into this format and the group created wonderful compositions that always had a little touch of magic; hard to plan, but really a delight.


Monday, February 13, 2017

With Love

Have you ever noticed how leather can look an awful lot like a seas of chocolate?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The litle website that could.

Ah, it's been awhile. Last year this time my plan was to find a talented designer to create my website as I have been overwhelmingly daunted by the prospect of DIY. A change in plans funneled the website money into attendance at a very expensive, quite worthwhile workshop. And one year later- still no website. 

It wasn't so much about money. I just have not been able to move forward. My degree in fine art included a lot of design study. Shouldn't I be able to do this myself? Was it okay that I didn't want to, and on and on.

 Maybe I should think of this chapter  
(Birthing a Website 101) to a butterfly in chrysalis phase. Do you know that the caterpillar dissolves in the cocoon and 
mind bendingly reforms as a butterfly? As you look at the chrysalis it looks like nothing is happening, but inside transformation is taking place. Remember this all you fellow caterpillars. Maybe we just have to put one foot in front of the other and trust the timing.

                     Butterfly emerged from chrysalis

 As I've stalled  DIY website design has become much easier. Which is a very long winded way to say that I have embarked and appear to be one my way. You will be able to access all the offerings: many categories of photos, this blog, workshops, etc in one place. It feels like childbirth. Wish me luck and stay tuned!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Holiday Wreath Workshop

Yes, the Annual Wreath Workshop commenced! We all took note of how wreath making is rather unique in the Floral Design Family of Techniques, with it's sculptural aspect of creating mass with bundles, wire wrapping, negotiating the bulk of greens, the detailing, etc.

Many were surprised by how many greens are required to make a wreath. The large pile that awaited each of them was used up in short order. After the initial terror for newcomers, they got into the grove and return participants noted making the second and third wreath gives a certain ease, practice, practice!

Lastly we had a run on traditional red bows this year. The prior year, no bows were used. Hmmm...which gives me some ideas for mixing it up next year....

Everyone did a great job creating textural, lush creations!  Thanks everyone. What a fun morning.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

The Flowers of Our Labor

In 2012  Debra Prinzing, author and spokeswoman for the Slow Flower Movement http://slowflowers.com/ wrote a short photo filled book about the rebirth of flower farming on American soil titled "The 50 Mile Bouquet".

Up until the 70's California was the leading supplier of cut flowers for the US of A. Now the vast majority- around 80%, are grown thousands of miles away on different continents. The message set forth in the "The 50 Mile Bouquet" was a call to action: Buy locally grown flowers! Design with local flowers! Support local flower farmers ! Grow your own flowers! Become a flower farmer! The bounty of mouth watering blossoms pictured sold the concept handily- okay, okay!  If you lived in the Pacific Northwest, ground zero for this movement, you were in luck. But sadly those flowers weren't available here in Marin County, CA just a bit further south. And when I looked northward to agriculturally inclined Sonoma County, I found little. So it seemed that the book had a a catchy title, a good marketing idea- but wasn't this a Portanlandia pipe dream? 

Like a seed it took awhile for this new idea (following behind the Slow Food movement) of buying/growing local flowers to germinate across the country. Floral Designers became designer/growers. Farmer's expanded their crops. Specialty growers who had been there all along found renewed interest and and people wanting to be mentored. People want in on it, though the time, money, and learning curve will cull out all but the truly dedicated.

For any of you in the thick of all this, this is old, old news. But as I post this photo, it dawns on me how much has changed in only 4 years in my neck of the woods. 

The flowers in this arrangement are not your standard fare. They are grown by a wave of  flower farmers wanting to bring a whole selection of new and heritage flowers practically to our doors.

This year has brought a big shift in my purchasing patterns. I'm now buying the majority of my flowers, most of the year within 50 Miles! I know this is still not the case everywhere in this country, but slowly, slowly......

Thursday, October 6, 2016

For the Roses- again

Last night my friend Max asked me what my favorite flower was (ah, the question that keeps on keeping on). Hers are/have been peonies, though there are flowers one is smitten with for a day or season.

Hmm... what will it be -martogon lilies, frittalaria, scabiosa, scented snapdragons, hellebore, violets in bunches, foliage of any kind, the variety of peonies that finally turn the color of slightly steeped tea, one sprig of some wild weedy thing .....??

It only took a second to say "roses". 
Not standard roses, but blown open, multi- layered old fashioned garden variety roses. They have been on my mind recently. One day I realized that I had showered with a moisturizing, rose scented soap, drank rose tea, and was treating with good results-  vaginal dryness with a specialized rose oil 
( I mean, come on- how did roses know?)  

What a reciprocal relationship we have with them. We keep their species going by hybridizing the heck out of them (and keeping the old species varieties going) and they serve us with food, healing benefits, and beauty for the soul.They have for centuries been a symbol of love.

But wait. In pondering the favorite flower question I had to ponder the orchid. What did I do for ten recent years but study and make painting of orchids in a series called "Orchid Dreams".

They are completely compelling and other worldly. I loved studying and painting them, but I didn't love them. But when I think of roses, I associate them with puppies and Mom's manicotti and all things dear and familiar. Maybe if I grew up in a tropical climate and picked orchids to put in a jelly jar, my feelings towards them would be different.

A few from this year: A spring rose, a late autumn rose and some standard spray roses leftover from an event.


Thursday, September 22, 2016


Sad to say, our families are scattered over the US of A. Given a ruler, pencil and a paper map I could draw a pretty straight latitudinal across America marking our family homes in Maryland, Colorado, and Northern California. It takes longer than we want to drive to Maryland and it's not exactly a short jaunt to Colorado Springs, Co by car, but we enjoy the drive so much we've made it many times over the years. It was time to go home.

East of the Sierras, we face a couple of long road days across high desert, the True West. It is a rugged, spare landscape. Home of Big Sky, country music, a high ratio of cheerful cashiers, ranchers, geologists, Mormons, Right Wing Politics, casinos, and if you hit the right mark on the map you will come across  some spectacular Red Rock Country.

We usually take Highway 50, called the Loneliest Highway in the country.

To me it's some of the most beautiful nowhere; long expanses of sage and rock and dirt. Dry mountain ranges in the distance with towns few and far between. It's a real change for a lush flower lover. Where are they? Out here there they are a rarity; mainly wild, small, and subtle. Which frankly is a jarring, but appreciated change. Sometimes it's good to take a break from the abundance and recharge. I like the way it forces me to slow down and find the beauty in what first appears to be an inhospitable environment.The design elements are light, shape, color, and weather. So grateful these huge expanses of our American landscape are still here.