In the Studio with Liz

Thoughtful Floral Designs, More is Not Always Better

In my experience, big, full arrangements with a high stem count are easy to design.  It doesn’t take a skilled designer to wow an audience with huge containers crammed with lots of flowers.  While it will take more time and money to go big, it requires a lot more knowledge and experience to create smaller, more thoughtful designs. How do you get the WOW factor with smaller more thoughtful designs?  This is when true design expertise and years of experience shine. A thoughtful floral design happens when the bend of each stem as well as the size/color/texture of each bloom matters.  It is when a designer is forced to really think about depth, line, and negative space versus just filling a vessel with lots of pretty stems.

Now, I’m not going to lie; like most designers, I love to go big.  I enjoy having access to tons of blooms and the opportunity to create a jaw-dropping arrangement with loads of product spilling out.  However, I also love a design challenge.   I truly enjoy creating something that I have to really think through because this is when all my years in the trenches pay off.  Since the young age of sixteen I have worked under many different designers learning, growing, and developing my craft.  When I am given an opportunity to tap into my extended understanding of floral design I truly feel creatively fulfilled.

Sometimes these design challenges come in the form of weddings or corporate jobs.  However, I don’t like to just wait for something to come to me.  When I’m feeling the need to push boundaries I love to collaborate with my dear friend and photographer Liz Nemeth.  She’s a fellow daring creative and we love to brainstorm off the wall ideas that I can design and she can photograph.  Check out some of my favorite images from our collaborations, which I think are great examples of thoughtful designs where less is more.  Check back in next week when I will talk about a recent large corporate job that required lots of smaller, intentional designs in a wide assortment of gorgeous containers.



In the Studio with Liz - A Zen Photo Shoot


Liz and I had a blast together with this shoot. We played for hours with all the props and design elements (personally, I enjoyed stacking rocks!).  While the amount of flowers I used was minimal...that is kind of the point with a zen setting!  My favorite idea was using Japanese Maple leaves to create a lotus bloom.  We used this on a napkin for the shot, but it looked pretty cool floating in a bowl of water too.  

Hanging in Liz's studio is a perfect way for me think outside the parameters of traditional design. I'm already anxious for our next design adventure!



In the Studio with Liz - Totally Random Corsages

So I made a bunch of random random wrist corsages and brought them over for Liz to shoot.  Why did I pick wrist corsages?  Because I am trying to embrace what I don't love to make.  What is ironic...I had a blast making these!  

First lesson - design for fun and get it out there.  It is my job to give future clients interesting things to pick from.

Second lesson - wrist corsages don't have to remind everyone of prom.  Keep it interesting.



In the Studio with Liz - Woodland Designs

Last week I met with photog Liz Nemeth at her studio with my woodland designs.  To prepare for the shoot I spread out the following ingredients on my workspace to design with:

Woodland goodies I collected on a hike with my daughter (moss, pinecones, sticks, etc.)
An old picture frame with the glass removed
A piece of birch and a small stump I kept from a past event
2 bunches of red tulips purchased from a local grower

I created a "woodland wreath" - even though it does not resemble a wreath it would be fabulous hanging on a door!  I also made a small matching design inside a piece of wood.  I used lots of floral adhesive (sticky fingers!), zip ties, and deconstructed some of the tulips to create open blooms (I learned from the best...Francoise Weeks!).

Enjoy these amazing images by Liz.  I LOVE how she captured all the small details (did I mention she just got a new 100mm macro lens!).



Woodland Inspiration


Today I am " in the studio with Liz" and I get to make any design I can dream up for our photo shoot.  The one thing I have been itching to do since this summer is a woodland design.  

Last June I attended an amazing workshop - the instructor was Francoise Weeks.  In a nutshell, she is the master of woodland design!  In 2 days I learned so much from her and she inspired me to continue to experiment with woodland design.  I made several woodland creations during the workshop including a woodland bride bouquet - this is probably one of my favorite creations!  


To prepare for the photo shoot I went foraging on our family property with my eleven year old daughter.  It was a very cold day so we bundled up and went for a hike.  This is my sweet Bella (future artist and maybe floral designer!).

We found mossy sticks, pine cones, assorted pods, reindeer moss, and so on.  It was a blast! These are some of the goodies we collected...

Stay tuned for images of what I created after this woodland journey.  I can't wait to share how Liz Nemeth captures it...she is amazing!


No Vase Required - In the Studio with Liz

One of my favorite new pastimes is hanging out in the Nemeth Photography Studio.  Liz Nemeth is not only an amazing still life photographer, but also a source of inspiration and motivation (who doesn't need a motivator in their life!).  We have collaborated several times over the last year doing photo shoots.  Each shoot has no set plan…it is just an occasion to do ANYTHING we want.  How cool is that…to have an idea, test it out, and then have amazing documentation of the process.  We both embrace the unusual, which makes it pure fun.  

One of our latest collaborations resulted in using an eggplant as the vessel for a design.  I love the deep purple hue of an eggplant and its glossy and almost reflective skin.  This was the first time I used an eggplant as a vessel and did not really have a clear plan about the mechanics.   This is what I discovered:

-eggplants hold water easily when part of the flesh is carved out
-the flesh can act as a kind of foam…I inserted woody stems directly into it!  
-water tubes are perfect as a water source for fleshy stems and they were easily inserted into the eggplant flesh too
-it is important to find a flat spot on the eggplant before starting - they tend to roll!

Below is the final product along with images of the steps.  I love how Liz shot not only the final product so beautifully, but also the steps and materials.  Give it a try - and then enjoy your design while eating eggplant parmesan for dinner! 

Stay tuned for more images that come from my visits to the Nemeth Photography Studio.  This will be a series, so follow along.  There will be all types of styles and designs - things I have not tried but that are swimming around in my head.  I think that finding the time to do this and really create for the sake of creating will make me a better (and happier) designer!