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
May, June and July were crazy busy. Weddings, weddings, weddings, weddings, weddings. The whole time I was planning, coordinating, ordering, arranging, setting up, taking down, cleaning buckets, organizing ribbon, etc. I just kept thinking about how amazing August would be – my month off. Well, it’s August and all I can think about is all the flowers I get to play with in September and October. Maybe I’m not so great at time off. Or maybe it’s just been a rough month. A lot has gone on. My husky, Kobi, passed away. Being unable to bear a silent house, I adopted another dog, Bella. On her second day as the newest member of the Carlisle pack, a rather large woman fell on her and broke her leg. Long story… She’s ok, no surgery was necessary, although she isn’t supposed to run or jump for 6 weeks. Did I mention she was a puppy? Needless to say, monitoring her has been challenging. But damn if I don’t have a newfound respect for parents of toddlers! How do people do it?!
Basically, I’ve missed my flowers. And I’m sorry to say that for a minute here in August I rather forgot I had a blog to keep up with. My apologies! Here are a couple of photos I took recently, styled by Ginny Au. We used beautiful hand-dyed silk ribbon from her new line Frou Frou Chic. Check out her website. I adored these flowers. The clematis especially but let’s not leave out the pulsatilla, the lilac, that gorgeous variegated ivy! And those kiera garden roses! Yes ma’am! That’s what I’m talking about!
I hope you will all enjoy these last days of summer. And keep your eyes open and your clippers close! I just passed some wild clematis on a walk this morning. Gorgeous! My limping dog appears to be getting in trouble so farewell for now – I’ll see you in September!
How beautiful is Laura in her gown?! If you happened to have read every post on this site (which is rather doubtful unless you are my mother), you might recall that I too wore a pale pink gown. A gal who goes against “the bride wore white” grain holds a special place in my heart. It’s a small, very exclusive club of very stylish girls. Anyway, I was so very excited when I heard from Laura about making some flowers for her bridal portrait shoot. She attached photos of this gown which she designed and had made and I was beside myself! When she mentioned she wanted a flower crown too I loved her style even more. Little did I know about her adorable blue shoes until I got these photos! So smitten by her style as well as these beautiful photos by Eric Kelley.
This wedding was really so much fun for me to work on. I LOVED Whitney, the gorgeous bride in the photos. She has great taste and a fabulous personality. I really felt like we connected from the beginning and that I understood how she imagined her wedding looking. One of the main components was an arbor. I LOVE arbors. They are so romantic and frame a couple so beautifully. This one, if I do say so myself, was perfection. It was very Whitney, which was important to me. I think that as a florist it is crucial to always be thinking of the bride when you are designing and creating her flowers. Sometimes it’s tempting to just do what you love in that moment rather than do what the bride would love to see on her wedding day. It’s a delicate balance - trying to understand someone else’s dream and interpret by using your own style as you make the flowers. I love it. Best wishes and congratulations to Whitney and Blake!
Venue: Swann Lake Stables
Coordination and Planning: Mariée Ami
Photography: The Reason I Love
No wedding (or shoot in this case) is complete without something new. Fortunately for me, this event introduced me to two new favorites. First up is fritillaria, the petite little flower in the first photo. I do love working with new lovelies and she was no exception. Delicate, detailed and unique – just like I ‘em! Secondly, and I should say most importantly, I was able to meet and work with Odalys Mendez, a film photographer living in Atlanta, GA. Not only is she lovely to be around, her images are just gorgeous. What a beautiful collaborative day which has led to some additional creative projects. Exciting! I hope you will enjoy these images and I’ll keep you posted as more work with Odalys emerges. In the meantime you can view more images from this shoot on Once Wed.
So as I mentioned in my last post, I got a new camera, a Contax 645 to be exact. It’s a medium format film camera and I am in love with it! The week I got it I had to make a flower crown and petite bouquet for a client’s bridal portrait session and so I was able to shoot those and throw together an arrangement out of my leftovers and some foraged magnolia and greenery. Love my job.
I think the most special thing about this camera is it’s lens. It renders light and the details in the background of the photo in such a painterly way. I absolutely love that quality. I hope to be able to shoot more of my flowers with the Contax. The only bummer is that you have to wait a few weeks to get your film back and I’m hardly the most patient person around… But the qualities of the film itself are so attractive to me that I think it’s worth the wait. I love the grain and the subtle pastel tonal variations you get from this particular film.
That’s not to say I won’t shoot digital. I love digital cameras because you are free to experiment and find your way using by trial and error. It’s more about being in the moment. Shooting with film can feel so studied, but at the same time it makes you more disciplined. Anyway, glad to be able to shoot with both. Hope you enjoy!