To growers, flower brokers, and florists alike, cut-flower waste isn’t a part of the plan but it happens more often than we’d like. A crop heats up and blows out too quickly and needs to get cut, a row is harvested but frozen in the cooler because somebody left the door open, or you just straight up can’t sell your goods.
In floral design, the most difficult aspect for me has been the break down also known on the streets as “the strike”. I’ve pulled all the freshest flowers, re-vased them and sent them to hospice on many occasions, but it isn’t always possible (plus the flowers often look really spent from partying the night before).
A few years ago, when I was growing roses on a large scale for cut-flower production, we would have thousands of roses every week hit the compost heap for one reason or another. It seemed like such a waste so I started bringing bundles of spent blooms home to experiment with. One night I started making tea with a batch of ‘Gertrude Jekyll’ when I noticed pigment bubbling up in a petal and wondered if I could encapsulate that color somehow.
That night, I stripped my shirt, added it to my tea brew and started exploring different ways to savor cut flowers a little longer than their shelf-life. For the past few years I’ve been working on a ‘Post-Vase Revival’ project where, through several mediums, I process used flowers from photoshoots, weddings and spent flowers from my garden to transform them into pieces that can have life beyond a few days of beauty. The process has been mostly chaos and part science- which works well for me. It’s a bit more time consuming than composting but it feels a hell of a lot better.
I’ve had the pleasure of creating some incredible pieces for people who want to incorporate a part of what they’ve already enjoyed once into a work of art that they can cherish time and time again, whether its an installation in their home or an heirloom they can wear.
Watching these flowers morph and transcend my wildest intentions for them has been quite a treat and I’m looking forward to sharing more of my explorations here with you.
These images are from my most recent collaboration with an incredible couple (love you T + B) that I had the honor of working with on their wedding. Their flowers traveled 26 miles off the coast of Avalon on Catalina Island, partied it up all night long in the Ballroom, and made it back to the studio to become a camisole for the Bride and a handkerchief for the Groom.