I am a total perfectionist.
And today I feel like talking about it. I just feel like being honest about it because I think it’s a common struggle for people. It comes and goes for me but lately it’s got me feeling a little worn down. I mean, I KNOW that nothing in this world is perfect. I KNOW that striving for perfection is crippling. I KNOW all sorts of things about the pitfalls being a perfectionist but I can’t seem to absorb what I know in a way that helps me to let go of the drive for perfection. It’s just such a harsh and critical state of mind. Believing that something could always have been better is totally exhausting.
Here’s an example. I made this bouquet this weekend. Here is one of about 400 photos that I took of it. I just kept trying to get the perfect shot and when I couldn’t I became more and more frustrated and critical of what I had made. And I realized all of the sudden how sad this was. I realized that I wasn’t enjoying the flowers because I was too busy criticizing them. The truth is that I was letting perfectionism rob me of joy. The joy I get from working with flowers. The joy I get from taking photos. I have to find a way out of this mental trap.
I wonder what it’s like to not be a perfectionist. I hear you do a lot of being in the moment. I’m like what does that even mean? The moment. THE MOMENT. I think it has something to do with your mind relaxing. My mind, on the other hand, is relentless. I don’t ever stop thinking of what I should be doing or what I could have done better. It’s ridiculous. In college I had this friend Ainoah. She was a total hippy. I loved being around her. She used to take me on long walks into the woods and she would play her flute and I would hum along. We would pick wild flowers. I would forget about my worries. I think looking back on it, we were being in the moment. It was nice.
Basically, I’ve got to find my inner hippy. Wish me luck.
February 22, 2014 -Little Flower School – Long Island City Queens, NY
Despite it being the dead of winter, my month of February was all about growth. I met two of my biggest inspirations in this business. I worked for one and studied with the other at Little Flower School. As you can see from my photos, it was a gorgeous experience. I mean, can you believe these flowers? And all that stunning light streaming through the windows of The Metropolitan Building? I could barely focus on building my arrangement as I was so busy taking photos of all the flowers we had to choose from. Somehow I managed…
My arrangement is the last on in the set. I feel like I learned a lot. I had a successful “blue moment”. I learned to love tulips. I loosened up some. I think that last one was key. I had a mini tragedy occur towards the end of the class when my grapes fell out of the chicken wire and pulled out half of the surrounding flowers. But it was ok because it gave me an opportunity to try not to be a massive perfectionist and just go with it, be in the moment, rework it and move on. Sometimes I need that. A little upset to get me out of my head and into the moment. That’s my new thing.
Sometimes I wonder what to make of dreams. Some we experience while sleeping and others while we are very much awake. We dream of who we would like to become, places we want to go, beautiful things we’d like to see or make or do. Sometimes we run from our dreams and sometimes we go after them. The whole thing can be scary because what if we go after one and it doesn’t work the way we had dreamed it would? I guess that’s the hard part. But I’ve decided that dreams are not to be feared but rather embraced. Fodder for our creative growth. I’ve also decided that things hardly ever work out the way we think they will so why worry about that part? Sometimes you just have to go with it. Be a part of the process. Let it wash over you and change you. Collaborate with life. Let your dreams inspire you, not frighten you.
I don’t really remember my sleeping dreams so I tend to focus on my waking ones. Being a part of this shoot was a bit on the dreamy side actually. Allow me to elaborate. My friend Caitlin asked me to collaborate with her on a shoot for her gorgeous blog, Roost. Many of you are familiar with her work I am sure and if not, now is the time to enter into her beautiful world. She asked if I could do hair, makeup and flowers for a video she wanted to make about a dream. I was beside myself as I am a huge admirer of her work and have always wanted to see her in creative action. I always learn so much from watching people work and was thrilled to be able to be part of Caitlin’s process. Being a kind and generous friend, she allowed me to tag along with my camera and take photos throughout the day. It was such an honor to be able to capture bits of this dream world she created on film. I hope you will enjoy her video. I hope it encourages you to run toward your next dream. Our lives are always changing and sometimes our dreams really do become a part of our reality. Here’s to the dreamers…
So lately I’ve found myself taking the Rosegolden show on the road more and more. It’s an interesting process. Challenging. The logistics are much more complex than working in my city and out of my studio both of which I know so well. I can’t say that logistical planning and organization are qualities that come naturally to me – I’ve had to train myself to think that way. As a kid I was often labeled “artsy” or “out to lunch”. In fact my parents (in a very Royal Tenenbaums fashion) had me “evaluated” by a team of psychiatrists at a young age because they thought something was wrong with me. As it turns out, I was just a typical creative, a day dreaming middle child with an active imagination. You see, my grandfather was a general in the U.S Army. He was the most strategic thinker I’ve ever met. As a person who could rarely find my homework I often wondered how we were related. As odd as it may sound, it took doing flowers for me to discover that I had an inner general.
I think most good florists have a bit of a split personality – both an artist and a strategist. So much of the job is laying the logistical groundwork that allows you to create the end product. All I can say is that when I got into flowers I had no idea how good I would become at making spreadsheets. It’s been a such an interesting journey. I spent years of my life as a creative person avoiding being organized because I believed it was antithetical to being artistic. But I’ve realized how that thinking was holding me back. Being more organized has made me a better artist. This is not to say I have perfected any of this. Do I still lose my keys daily? Yes. Do I know where my phone is at this moment? No. I’m still myself, just more structured. Basically my inner day dreamer and inner general are like totally best friends now. I think they make an alright team. Cheers.
Another bride in blush!!! You know how I love a gal en rose. And so beautifully captured by A. Bryan Photo. I love how classic Bryan’s work is. When you look back at your wedding photos you want them to tell the story of what the day felt like. You want the details but I think more importantly you want the moments and he is so talented at capturing those. I loved working with this bride and her lovely planners at Marieé Ami who always do such a fabulous job managing what always seems like the MILLIONS of details that make up a wedding day. Very grateful to have been a part of such a talented team. Cheers.
A Welcome Dinner.
Welcome to Bend, Oregon! I happily found myself there in October setting up this lovely welcome dinner for the attendees of the Erich McVey Photography Workshop. It was such a wonderful experience for me to work with Ginny Au, Erich and Amy McVey, and Abany Bauer to create a table inspired by the landscape itself. All of the greenery and berries were foraged from the environment in beautiful Bend which was ripe with sage and juniper and strewn with stunning branches of deadwood. I was the first of the creative team to arrive. I touched down in Oregon on a prop plane that had me more than a little nervous. Adding to my slight anxiety was the uncertainty of what it would be like designing and assembling the decor for 48 feet of table from all foraged materials. But the moment I arrived was immediately struck by Bend’s soft desert beauty and saw that the natural environment would provide us with everything we needed to create a perfect table. I was full of anticipation as I was the first member of the team to get to Bend. I scored a huge secret service style Suburban and packed it full of about 4oo lbs of flowers I had flown in via Alaska Air. Me and the girls made our way to Brasada Ranch and checked in. What a gorgeous resort to say the least. After processing what felt like 8 million flowers, I ambled down to the main lodge at Brasada and had a sunset beer. I was ready.
As you can see, this was a busy day. We wanted to provide the attendees with a variety of themes to shoot and I think we accomplished out goal. From the dramatic and moody to classic and elegant – we covered it all. I was particularly moved by the bouquet in the first photo. It was the last thing I made when I thought I had nothing left to give creatively. It reminded me that sometimes you have to dig deep and let the flowers talk to you. I just took a moment to let myself listen and that bouquet practically made itself. I love those moments with flowers. When they start to really sing.
When I had a spare minute here and there I was able to watch the attendees photograph the models and loved seeing how they all approached their subjects a little differently. I learned a lot from watching them shoot and seeing how they directed the models in unique ways. I thought of the attendees often as I worked behind the scenes. I wanted to be the best I could be for them, to do everything I could to create an environment that inspired them and helped them grow creatively. I know I learned a lot just part of such a special team of creatives.
Laura and Billy.
What a lovely time we had setting the mood for this gorgeous couple whose love for each other is so palpable here – especially in that last shot which is probably my favorite. I wanted these flowers to feel like love – complex and sensual – a journey through both light and dark. For me this shoot was all about juxtaposition. Marrying competing design elements – lush and stark, light and dark, soft and hard. In that marriage lies the portrait of a love that is multifaceted and changing. Enduring.
Recently my husband and I went to Asheville, NC for the weekend and were able to visit The Biltmore Estate – a Vanderbilt family home. Not bad if you’re into palatial 250 room, 178,926 feet square summer homes. Honestly, it is a national treasure. The home, the land, the gardens are all just stunning. Being a flower nerd I was thrilled to visit the gardens. The roses, as you can see, were just breathtaking. The dahlias growing like crazy. And I was so fortunate to be there just in time to see the Japanese anemones in bloom. I’d never seen one in person so that was exciting. Our guide mentioned that they host weddings all over the estate. Can you imagine! Well I certainly can. Which brings me to this very important announcement to the brides of North Carolina – Rosegolden Flowers is willing to travel. In fact, I am heading to Oregon this week to do flowers for the Erich McVey Photography Workshop at Brasada Ranch in Bend. I am beyond thrilled to be a part of such a wonderful team of creatives! AND I get to bring my camera and be a student when I’m not babysitting or arranging flowers. YAY. I can’t wait to meet everyone and share images with you guys when I return. Until then, happy Fall.
I can’t say I know a whole lot about farming. Some days, when I get 8,000 voicemails, texts and emails then spend ungodly amounts of time on my phone perusing Instagram and Pinterest, I think – I wish I worked on a farm. I could gather cool colored eggs and milk cows. Wake up at the crack of dawn, make biscuits, work with my hands all day then fall into bed and sleep until the rooster crowed in the morning. No email, no iPhone, nothing but the land. I guess I just feel like we city folk have become obsessed with technology and that we could learn a lot if we unplugged and spent a little time on a farm.
As much as I would have loved to learn to churn butter in a cool dairymaid outfit this particular farm visit was all about flowers for the lovely Jaci. We had such a connection right from the start. She has a fabulous eye for detail and a real appreciation of color and texture. I loved her vision and for months looked forward to bringing it to life on her wedding day. When she described how she imagined her bouquet I thought – I love this girl. I teared up when I made it and when I was done I knew it was my favorite I’d made yet. After the ceremony I found it sitting daintily on a white pew at dusk under the arms of pear trees strung with lights. Fortunately I had my cameral and one roll of film left in my apron. Lucky me.
Wedding Venue: J&D Farms