Last July I had the unbelievable opportunity to conclude my epic trip to Homer, Alaska by designing a wearable piece for the 2018 floral fashion collection to celebrate the domestic floral campaign - American Flowers Week created by Slow Flowers founder, Debra Prinzing and featured in the June 2018 Florists' Review issue. Debra states it is a community-focused floral holiday that encourages all floral lovers to participate – from flower seed and bulb producers to growers; from designers to retailers; from cutting garden enthusiasts to artists. It is one week dedicated solely to bringing awareness to consumers about America's flowers and the people that grow them.
In its third year, American Flowers Week has caught on and welcomed flower enthusiasts from all backgrounds to engage with their farmers, engage with their consumers, engage with their inner artist all to celebrate what is grown here in the U.S. The hashtag #americanflowersweek has produced over 5 million impressions just this past month! Each year Debra commissions floral designers to create floral couture designs to feature local, season and domestic florals and foliage for the national social media campaign. Last summer I was able to work with Debra and Beth Van Sandt, owner of Scenic Place Peonies, while we were both in Alaska spending a week at Beth's farm for the Field to Vase Dinner tour. I created an Alaskan peony inspired design to reflect the two important economies of Homer, Alaska – fishing and peony farming.
Last week, while both in Washington, DC for the Slow Flowers Summit, Debra and I sat down and discussed the inspiration behind my designs as well as how I created the pieces. Below is the link to the podcast where Alison Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii discusses, first, her Hawaii inspired designs.
Slow Flowers Podcast with Debra : Episode 356
Teaming up with Beth and Debra, after spending a week on Beth's peony farm and getting a feel for the intensity and excitement of peony farming it was such a thrill to be able to get my hands on piles and piles of oversized peony blooms! The Field to Vase Dinner had concluded and I had also finished two photo shoots to fuel my creative hunger - yet I couldn't get enough! I've learned I thrive on opportunities to just create and to bring a voice to others passions and design in a way that reflects who they are. To create these peony fashion designs for the Alaskan peony community, and especially my dear friend, Beth Van Sandt was a true gift. I felt honored to be asked to do this and hoped that my final designs only brought inspiration and light to this thriving industry!
When we went down to the Homer Spit we scoped out the perfect location in the boat harbor that would fit my vision of this maritime and peony world colliding. I knew I wanted the story to unfold with our model on the docks or on a boat "catching" the peonies in her net but I never imagined we'd find the perfect boat! I mean - so perfect, right?? I love when kismet happens! Homer, Alaska boat + glacier background + peony model = perfection! Joshua Veldstra Photography blew me away with "getting" me and knowing what I was trying to create visually. He nailed it!
Being creative people that we are and wanting to get that perfect look we couldn't not get up close and personal with the boat. Thank goodness Joshua, native to Homer, Alaska, his wife Brittney and their second shooter, Martina were comfortable hoisting us up in this boat - mind you we didn't know the owners but feel they would appreciate the art we created! Sometimes you just have to go that extra step and hope it all works out - while holding your breath.
The end results were just absolutely stunning! I think we achieved the goal of bringing both Beth's and my vision to life and it was beautiful! See all the photos below as well as some fun behind the scenes. What an honor it was to be a part of this national campaign and to be part of the bigger picture! I hope you celebrated American Flowers Week in a spectacular way and that you are inspired to get involved and think outside the box for the 2019 American Flowers Week!
Behind the Scenes creating the 2018 Alaskan peony floral couture designs - whatever it takes to get the shot ... enjoy:) Thank you to Elizabeth Morphis for doing hair and makeup and to Lisa Thorne of Thorne & Thistles for assisting with getting that heavy netting and all the fishing props down the docks!