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I’m so excited to reveal the 2021 American Flowers Week branding, created exclusively for Slow Flowers Society by Los Angeles-based artist, graphic and surface designer and illustrator Jeanetta Gonzales. Jeanetta is the owner of Jeanetta Gonzales Art & Design.

Like some of our past commissions, I first saw Jeanetta’s artwork on her Instagram feed (@nettdesigns) and subsequently lost myself following many beautiful threads to her website and store. Jeanetta’s artwork exudes joy, optimism, the spirit and strength of women, and, YES, there are often flowers and plants in her pieces. In addition to framed art prints, Jeanetta’s illustrations appear on products like phone cases, tea towels and other linens, mugs, and more.

Jeanetta Gonzales in her studio

To plan this charming illustration celebrating American Flowers Week, Jeanetta and I “met” over Zoom a few months ago to brainstorm and come up with a direction. I sent her a few photos of bouquets of flowers wrapped in Kraft paper, and she took that idea so much farther than I originally imagined.

Instead of hands holding a bouquet, we see a sweet, flower-loving gal. It’s so easy to imagine that she has just selected the stems at a local farm stand or purchased them from a florist who sources locally and seasonally. Her arms can barely contain the botanical abundance and we see this young woman peek out from the armload of blooms, her braid swinging over her shoulders. This image simply puts a huge smile on my face and gives me the hope we all feel at the beginning of flower season.

You can learn more about Jeanetta by visiting her website and watching this video introduction:

Meet Jeanetta Gonzales

I also recently interviewed our 2021 American Flowers Week artist about her life in art and more. Please enjoy this Q&A, edited for length and clarity:

AFW: Jeanetta, I’m so excited to partner with you to celebrate American Flowers Week 2021. Thank you for your creativity and talents! You have your fingers in so many genres and media as an illustrator. How do you describe yourself and your studio work? An illustrator? A surface designer?
JG: All of the above! I went to UCLA for a Bachelors in Fine Arts and then I ended up returning to school a few years later for graphic design. I hit the ground running as a graphic designer, which has been the foundation of what I do, for the last 20 years. I am always looking for creative outlets, so I continued taking classes, especially in surface pattern design. Around 2013, I started selling my surface pattern design at trade shows in New York where I exhibited with a collective group of artists. I have licensed my artwork, created pattern designs for my fulltime jobs and freelanced as a textile artist.

“Lady B” – available as an 8×10 illustrated art print from Jeanetta Gonzales

AFW: Your work looks very painterly. What is your medium?
JG:
I paint and draw and then switch everything over to the computer. My graphic design work involves drawing on the computer, which is something I really enjoy. I also do a lot of digital illustration in which I bring my painted pieces into the computer for the finishing details. I tighten and clean up the drawings. I draw over things and change colors, using Photoshop techniques you can’t really do when you’re painting.

AFW: You have an impressive career. Can you share some highlights?
JG:
In the early years as a designer I worked in traditional, corporate places like WebMD in the Bay Area. In 2005, I returned to Los Angeles and started working for boutique studios, where I designed advertising and pattern design. Then, I joined Mattel and I was a senior packaging designer on the Barbie brand. I also helped develop an African-American doll line that Mattel introduced in 2009.

Some of Jeanetta’s packaging for BARBIE® “SO IN STYLE”

AFW: That is awesome! Tell us more!
JG:
I was the branding and packaging designer on a whole team of African-American designers. The line was called BARBIE® “SO IN STYLE” which included dolls in high school who mentored a little sister doll.

AFW: What did you do next?
JG:
“So in Style” was probably one of the last Mattel projects I worked on. Then I was laid off and it was my moment to say: “Yeah, maybe I can do this on my own and see what I can make happen.” I stayed in toys for a while, specializing in packaging for girls’ toys, mostly dolls. I even worked for the Disney Store.

AFW: When did you start building your own body of work?
JG:
It’s been 10 years now. Wow, that just hit me! It has been a journey of trying a lot of things to see where they lead; saying ‘yes’ to things and figuring it out as you go along and just taking risks.

AFW: It’s so interesting to see your textile work. Can you talk about that?
JG:
I’ve done plenty of textile designs and normally, I license my artwork to an apparel client, mostly for women’s wear. Recently, I’ve collaborated with a fashion designer to create apparel from scratch.

AFW: That is so inspiring. Tell us about the “JUSTICE” Sweats fashion collaboration with Eva Franco Design.
JG:
I met Eva Franco through a mutual connection. She had this great idea to turn my artwork that I made earlier this year during the demonstrations after George Floyd’s death, into a limited edition line of clothing. Everyone was hurting and I wanted to express what I felt and make my statement through my artwork. I made a piece that had fists in the air with all different skin tones. It represents unity, solidarity for the movement. I see beauty in that and it’s so moving and powerful to see people coming together. My artwork made the rounds on social media and people were asking about it. I was really protective of it, but then this opportunity came along to collaborate with Eva Franco. She had a vision of putting my artwork on clothing and making it into a form of wearable protest art. We worked on it for several months using Eva’s fashion expertise. I learned so much about the fashion and apparel-making process from her.

AFW: That must feel so rewarding for you as an artist.
JG:
It’s so cool. Everywhere you wear these sweats you’re making a statement; starting a conversation. And so the art lives on beyond just being in my portfolio or on my social media. Fashion is an amazing medium for this type of art. I really like being able to see my art in a wearable form. It’s one thing to see the pattern, but to actually see it sewn into a garment and worn on a body takes it to the next level.

AFW: How can people order the sweat suit?
JG:
We’re actually in production right now. We are taking pre-orders. You can still order now and the garments will start to ship in the next week or two. Order on my shop at SHOPNETTDESIGNS.COM.

“Plant Addict” is an 8×10 illustrated art print, available in Jeanetta’s online shop

AFW: I assume you like flowers because you draw them a lot! That’s one of the reasons we were drawn to you as an artist, Jeanetta. Can you tell us more about your love affair with flowers?
JG:
I don’t know where my obsession with flowers came from. I’ve been painting and drawing flowers for quite a while – probably since I started licensing my art. I’m really taken by the textures and the different colors and the varieties of flowers – they’re just beautiful. Even when they are decaying there’s always so much to observe. Flowers are a never-ending source of inspiration for me. And I absolutely love painting and drawing them.

AFW: I adore the piece you drew for American Flowers Week, with its exuberance and excessive abundance. How many flowers can this gal hold in her arms? She’s barely hanging onto her bouquet – it’s so big! To get started, you created an inspiration board based on some of your past works as well as photos you liked. Is that your typical process?
JG:
Oh, yes. Research – always! Even if I do have an idea in mind, I still want to explore it and look for more inspiration. So I get on Pinterest or Google and poke around for related ideas that help me brainstorm. Next, I sketch and write out my ideas. The move forward for me is to have a visual jumpstart of ideas.

AFW: How do you turn a sketch into something so refined, detailed and multilayered as a final piece?
JG:
My process has turned into a solid combination of traditional media and working with digital media. For this piece, I painted all the flowers for my composition. I blocked them out with watercolor to get that texture where I wanted it. Then I scanned it and start digital painting. I draw and paint and refine by mimicking brush strokes on the computer. I like to draw the faces and the skin tones. I’ll spend time on facial expression and the individual flower details.

“It’s a Jungle out There,” an 8×10 illustrated art print from Jeanetta Gonzales, also available in her online shop

AFW: You are prolific in your work. It’s so beautiful!
JG:
Oh, thank you! I have an illustration agent so I update my portfolio and continue to create on my own to have new work to show. I would like to be drawing and painting a lot more than I do. But I still have graphic design clients, and I also mentor and coach artists.

AFW: Tell us about your coaching work?
JG:
Artists reach out to me and we walk through the concerns or challenges they’re facing at the moment. I like to do portfolio reviews, help clients with their art, show them techniques and encourage them to use their strengths to improve on what they’re doing now. Sometimes it’s like a birthing process to get to the other side. As artists, it’s such a vulnerable thing that we do. We’re working from our heart; we’re putting our work out there and for the most part, we want people to like it. And for a lot of (artists), it’s scary to put your work out there on social media. Coaching can be part therapist, part teacher, part life coach.

A peek inside Jeanetta’s Southern California studio

AFW: Please elaborate!
JG:
Working with a coaching client can be intuitive. Once I talk with someone for a while, I can really see, ‘Okay, this is where you’re scared, or this is where you’re blocking yourself.’ So we need to work through that first before you can get to the next stage. For one of my clients, that involved a lot of drawing and going back to her roots. We looked at her early artwork and I asked her, ‘What did you like to draw when you weren’t drawing for work but just for fun?’ She went back to her early days of art school and it opened everything up and she was able to work on new projects from a place of joy and not fear. Then new work and new opportunities started coming to her.

AFW: Your own illustrations and drawings are attracting some interesting partnerships and collaborations. In addition to the new fashion collaborations with Eva Franco Design, we noticed that Facebook is featuring you this month! Tell us more.
JG:
Facebook has a page called “Lift Black Voices” and it features Black stories, experiences and videos. Facebook also has a Black business holiday gift guide and my work is featured in it. You can see the gift guide at FB.me/BuyBlackGifts to shop for my “Juneteenth” art print and many other fantastic products from Black businesses. Every Friday in November (11 a.m. Pacific) you can watch Facebook’s #BuyBlack show on facebook.com/liftblackvoices. Hosted by comedian Phoebe Robinson, you’ll see  interviews with Black business owners, musical performances and more.

AWF: Well, all I can say to that is Congratulations, Jeanetta! We are so grateful to partner with you and share your incredible illustration with the Slow Flowers community in celebration of American Flowers Week.

Learn more about Jeanetta Gonzales Art & Design and see her work here:
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All photography (c) Lauren Sophia

In Portland, Maine, a group of Slow Flowers Members wanted to celebrate American Flowers Week with a public floral installation. As their search for a location hit several dead-ends, mostly due to COVID-19 permitting restrictions, they landed on a beautiful way to honor Portland’s Black community while also raising awareness about seasonal and locally-grown flowers.

After a few locations didn’t work out as planned, Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse landed on the perfect venue. “I used to walk past the Green Memorial AME Zion Church when I lived on Munjoy Hill in Portland. And I knew it was one of the first Black churches in Maine.” The stone church was built and dedicated in 1914.  You can read more about the history here.

Hoke recruited friends and fellow Slow Flowers members Michelle Rech of Electric Flora and Shelley Stevens of Bloomers Maine, to join as collaborators and then approached the church via email. According to Hoke, Pastor Kenneth Lewis, Jr., was touched by the idea and he put the group in touch with Merita McKenzie, a congregational lay leader.

Like many places of worship, gatherings for members of Green Memorial AME Zion Church had been restricted due to COVID. “They haven’t been able to have any physical ceremonies or services — just Zoom or Facebook services,” Hoke explains. “When we were talking about the American Flowers Week timeframe, McKenzie mentioned that Reverend birthday is July 4th — and they were planning on having a drive-by birthday celebration for him. The timing worked out perfectly, that we could celebrate the church and their Reverend.”

With the go-ahead from Green Memorial AME Zion Church, the designers pulled things together in less than one week. “We really wanted to make this a community event, even though we’re in this pandemic. This project is about supporting community. American Flowers Week gave us a platform to design an installation, but we wanted to take it one step further to show support for local flower farms, businesses owned by people of color, and finding sustainable design mechanics.

The team divided up tasks to procure and pick up flowers and to connect with the local Black Lives Matter organization for guidance. Hoke credits the local floral community for its generosity (see donor list below), including a Boston wholesale florist that saw Hoke’s social media post and reached out with a donation.   

Because of the historic landmark nature of the church’s architecture, the designers took care with the installation, which occurred on Friday evening, July 3rd. The asymmetrical, two-sided floral arch spans the front entrance to the sanctuary. The upright elements are built on a chicken wire base mounted with damage-free hangers. The design’s first layer of greenery covered the chicken wire. And then, thanks to another local florist’s donation of water tubes, the team inserted hundreds of flower stems, one-at-a-time into the foliage base.

Volunteers from Green Memorial AME Zion Church reinforced the feeling of community and collaboration. “We showed the ladies how to put the flowers in water tubes and they jumped right in. They were the best helpers ever,” she says. “Michelle and I decided that we want to hire them when we need freelancers.”

As an important finishing detail, they hung a “Black Lives Matter” banner above the door. It was designed and donated by Girl that Designs, a local Portland artist. “We pressed some of the flowers and now that the installation has been taken down, we plan to frame the banner with the pressed flowers and give it to the congregation,” Hoke says.

The experience was joy-inducing and incredibly meaningful for everyone who volunteered and who stopped and viewed the floral installation over the holiday weekend. “As a florist during the pandemic, I haven’t been able to do my job,” Hoke says. “Whether it’s designing flowers for a wedding, a funeral or helping people celebrate other life milestones, it has been very difficult not to help people heal through flowers. I  felt so proud and grateful to be able to help the congregation celebrate their Reverend’s birthday, the history of their church and to use all the locally-grown flowers to do so.”

On July 4th, Reverend Lewis viewed the floral installation during the congregation’s socially-distanced birthday tribute to their leader. He sat in front of the church, framed by flowers, as members drove by with signs, balloons, and mask-wearing smiles as they waved and wished him a happy birthday.

Hoke can’t help but feel emotional about the experience. “I got teary,” she admits. “We’ve all been feeling so helpless and after seeing other floral memorials and tributes around the country, we were inspired. Each of us has a voice. We can do something. It just felt right.”

Flower donations

*Meadow Ridge Perennial & Cut Flower Farm @meadowridgeperennials

Snell Family Farm @carolyn.snell

Bumble Root Organic Farm @bumblerootorganicfarm

Direct Flowers of Boston @directflowers2florist

Mechanics donation

Fiddlehead Florist @fiddleheadflowers (water tubes!!!)

Signage

Allie Norman, @girlthatdesigns

Florists

*Rayne Grace Hoke, Flora’s Muse @florasmuse

*Shelley Stevens, Bloomers Maine @bloomersmaine

*Michelle Rech, Electric Flora @electricflora 

Photography, Lauren Sophia @laurynsophia

*denotes Slow Flowers Member

We have live and virtual events, installations, interviews and demonstrations for you to enjoy!

For the sixth annual American Flowers Week, we have all sorts of free programming to share with you. Here’s a quick recap of what’s to come, beginning with Day One, Sunday, June 28th. Check the Calendar Tab in the menu above, and follow #americanflowersweek for more news and inspiration in real time!

DAY ONE: Sunday, June 28th

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies

Join our Facebook LIVE interview with Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies in Fairbanks, Alaska, creator of one of our American Flowers Week botanical couture looks for 2020!

Join Debra Prinzing on the Slow Flowers Facebook Page during her LIVE interview to meet Kim, see her flowers, her peony fields, and more.

Kim will also share the incredible mechanics that she employed to design a peony frock with thousands of her stems.

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

DAY TWO: Monday, June 29th

Virtual tour and visit to Filoli Historic House & Garden, site of Slow Flowers Summit 2021

Join our Instagram LIVE tour of Filoli Historic House & Garden and enjoy a floral design demonstration from the Filoli Cutting Garden.

Emily Saeger and Niesha Blancas

Slow Flowers social media manager Niesha Blancas of Fetching Social will be LIVE at Filoli, location of our upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, rescheduled for June 28-30, 2021. Her special guest is Emily Saeger, Filoli’s lead horticulturist and manager of the cutting garden.

We can’t be at Filoli in person next week, but thanks to Niesha and Emily, you’ll get a flavor of what’s in store for next year’s Slow Flowers Summit.

Emily has promised to design an arrangement on the live-stream, showing us the amazing selection of flowers, foliages, herbs and other botanical ingredients that flourish at Filoli.

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

DAY THREE: Tuesday, June 30th (1 p.m. Pacific)

Join Debra Prinzing on a Facebook LIVE interview with Slow Flowers member Tammy Myers, of LORA Bloom, an online platform for local floral delivery with an eco-friendly mission. 

Learn how Tammy and several of the florists involved in LORA Bloom have created buzz around their studios and shops with an American Flowers Week Sale.

A portion of the sale of their beautiful summer arrangements will go directly to @solid_ground_wa in Seattle. Solid Ground works to end poverty and undo racism and other oppressions that are root causes of poverty.

Debra has invited Tammy and the Slow Flowers florists in the LORA Bloom network to join her on a Zoom conversation that will stream live to the Slow Flowers Facebook Page. See their floral arrangements and hear their stories!

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

DAY FOUR: Wednesday, July 1st

Join Debra Prinzing on an Instagram LIVE interview with Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and The Floral Source, as they “unpack” the special American Grown at Home Box that Kelly has curated for American Flowers Week.

For American Flowers Week 2020, Kelly’s special Red-White-And-Blue Floral Box features an assortment of blooms and foliage from CamFlor and also red charm peonies from Alaska Perfect Peony

Kelly and Debra will connect in IG Live to open their floral boxes and talk about the varieties of US-grown blooms. After the big reveal, they will take a break to design with the stems . . . and then return later in the day to show each other (and YOU) what they have created with these beautiful flowers.

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

DAY FIVE: Thursday, July 2nd

We’ll be following along with Detroit botanical artist, Lisa Waud, as she creates the final floral installation in her six-week series “Big Flower Friend.”

Slow Flowers is sponsoring this final, July 2nd installation for American Flowers Week, in support of Lisa’s artistic endeavor to promote Michigan flower farms and raise awareness in her community around racial justice.

Lisa has promised to give us a behind-the-scenes peek at her beautiful installation, which we will share via Instagram.

Save the Date! We’ll announce the time to join us soon. We will also share the playback video of the interview.

MORE TO COME: We’ll be posting more details soon. If you have an installation or event, please be sure to list it in our Calendar via this link:

Flowers at Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island, Washington (c) Grace Hensley

Town & Country Markets, a six-location chain of neighborhood grocery stores in the greater Seattle area, has been one of our most consistent partners for celebrating American Flowers Week each year.

Led by Melanie Cherry, floral category manager, each floral department across the company put their personal spin on decorations and displays, all with the goal of driving sales and engaging shoppers who are inspired by local, Washington-grown flowers.

The flower & garden department at T&C’s Central Market Poulsbo

Here is how two of the floral managers created buzz and excitement in 2019. We asked Grace Hensley, a local photographer, blogger and container design expert to stop by and capture these photos at T & C’s Central Market Poulsbo and at Town & Country Bainbridge Island. Kudos to each manager, who I’ll mention below. Can’t wait to see what they create for 2020!

T&C used photography from one of Slow Flowers’ American Flowers Week botanical fashions to create in-store signage. The dahlia quilt was designed by Tammy Myers of LORA Bloom and photographed by Missy Palacol.

Josh Hessler, floral department manager at Central Market Poulsbo, shares this background:

At Poulsbo, we got excited about British Flowers last year and the floral couture gowns and dresses we saw during that time in the weeks earlier in preparation for American flowers week. Our thought was to do something similar for American flowers week while highlighting our local flowers from the Northwest. As we began to dig into our various ideas we honed our ideas down to two main thoughts:

A flag-inspired apron worn by a mannequin, with cheery sunflowers peeking from the pockets at Central Market Poulsbo

The first was summer-Americana, including the flag, and some red, white, blue themes along with bright sunflowers and other pops of color.

Floral-decor on summer garden hats, as part of the American Flowers Week displays.

The second was to create some hats with flower-craftiness creating some creative pops of floral high fashion on our display.

The result was a display that was fun to create and highlighted our regional and hyper-local flower offerings! Customers loved the end results as well.

Americana accessories to highlight locally-grown blooms.

Many offers to buy the floral hats, and the American flag apron (worn by one of the mannequins) came in even though we weren’t offering them for sale! This interest led us later in the summer to offer a free interactive clinic on flower crown crafting for customers, which was a tremendous hit and is still ask for regularly!

The T-shirt reads: “Bikes & Beer & Beaches & Bainbridge.” It pairs beautifully with a leather jacket and a charming floral skirt at T&C Market on Bainbridge Island (Washington).

Sarah Swalley, floral department manager at Town & Country Market – Bainbridge Island, and her team put the flavor of island living into their displays:

The fabulous floral fashion look (left); manager Sarah Swalley (right), at the floral design counter.

The department displays featured a vintage-inspired bicycle, decorated with local flowers, and a mannequin dressed in a popular local T-shirt.

The floral department greets shoppers who enter T&C Markets on Bainbridge Island, Washington, during American Flowers Week.

Customers selected from lush, seasonal hand-tied bouquets, wrapped in kraft paper with the American Flowers Week bouquet label.

Here are some other inspiring design ideas from these talented floral teams:

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND:

POULSBO

Order Your American Flowers Week Bouquet Labels Here. Labels are a Slow Flowers member benefit.

Kelly Shore’s beautiful red-white-and-blue American-grown blooms in a compote arrangement (c) Beth Caldwell

You’re invited to join the Social Media experience and share images of #redwhiteblueflowers for #americanflowersweek (June 28-July 4). Of course, we hope everyone features local and seasonal flowers — from your own garden, or sourced from a flower farm in your area.

We love what Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and The Floral Source has launched as part of her AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK promotion and we want to share it here to inspire your own floral plans!

Kelly Shore of Petals by the Shore and The Floral Source

Kelly created the “American Grown at Home” weekly floral delivery subscription program to help flower lovers and florists familiarize themselves with botanicals from U.S. flower farms.

Every two weeks she features a curated collection of stems from one of the farms she supports (and most all are Slow Flowers members, as well). 

This direct-from-the-farm-door-to-your-door box program is a way for me to help create more awareness of what is grown seasonally and regionally, help the farms move their abundance of product, instill a sense of national pride in where our flowers come from and provide you a sense of hope & inspiration in the home with beautiful botanicals

For American Flowers Week 2020, Kelly’s special Red-White-And-Blue Floral Box will feature an assortment of blooms and foliage from CamFlor and also red charm peonies from Alaska Perfect Peony

Your box will ship Tuesday June 30th to arrive Wed July 1st.

The cost is $150 (shipping included) and features 100 stems, including: red peonies, crocosmia and dahlias; white foxglove, cottage yarrow and alstroemeria; blue nigella, tweedia and scabiosa; blue eucalyptus and mint. 

He’s your opportunity to experience a variety of Red-White-and-Blue domestic blooms and explore creative ways to celebrate local and American grown flowers – whether you’re making a bouquet, installation, centerpiece or wearable. PREORDER YOUR BOX HERE.

How to share your flowers!

Thanks for getting involved and supporting this initiative to promote and educate consumers on the source of their flowers.

Flowers at Town & Country Market on Bainbridge Island, Washington (c) Grace Hensley

Please help out the campaign by doing the following:

1. Photograph Your Red-White-and-Blue Flowers: Assuming you’re making wrapped bunches or bouquets, please take at least one image of your finished design. We’d love to see your creativity!

2. Order AFW Bouquet Labels for delivery tags, bouquet wraps and other packaging. Available only to active Slow Flowers Society members, you can purchase labels here.

3. Post your photo to Facebook, Instagram or Twitter (or all three!) and please tag #americanflowersweek and @myslowflowers.

4. Download more resources and free artwork at americanflowersweek.com.

Share Your Creativity With Local & Seasonal Blooms. Accepting Applications Now!

Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse created an impressive and simply gorgeous installation to celebrate #americanflowersweek.

Since 2016, Slow Flowers has commissioned more than 20 Floral Fashions for American Flowers Week. This beautiful Botanical Couture Collection resonates with flower and garden lovers everywhere, elevating flowers from a commodity to couture.

Inspired by the intentionality of the Botanical Couture Collection, Slow Flowers invites YOU to participate in a similar floral art project: a Botanical Installation Series for American Flowers Week.

Lisa Waud, our membership manager, shares her enthusiasm for Botanical Floral Art Installations and invites you to join her in celebrating American Flowers Week.

We’re soliciting proposals from farmer-florist creative teams who are eager to showcase their talents and their flowers with a public installation on display during American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4).

Everyone is welcome to participate in American Flowers Week! To be featured in our online publications and social media channels, however, you must be an active Slow Flowers member. Consideration will be made for geographic diversity, and for botanical elements not previously featured.

To participate as a Slow Flowers Member, complete our Application Form here.

Inspiration from past year’s Botanical Installations

Designed by Tonya Berge of Washington’s Berge’s Blooms for American Flowers Week. She captioned the image on Instagram with this sentiment: “freedom • the power to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.”
Isabella Thorndike Church of Jacklily Seasonal Floral Design designed a fantastic floral “painting” depicting a barn and fields for American Flowers Week.
Amerian Flowers Week Floral installation Seattle Wholesale Growers Market
Amerian Flowers Week Floral installation Seattle Wholesale Growers Market; this and all images (c) Missy Palacol Photography
Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, took over the public piano in her town square to celebrate American Flowers Week in beautiful & local blooms.

What’s in it for YOU?

  • Email/Zoom support from a Slow Flowers team member to guide your production process
  • Support from Slow Flowers for local media outreach
  • Publishing your business and installation on SlowFlowersJournal.com, AmericanFlowersWeek.com, inclusion in our Media Kit, and related social media during 2020-2021

Interested? We want to hear from YOU!

To participate as a Slow Flowers Member, complete our Application Form here.

BACK TO NATURE
Five designers showcase botanical couture in a collection celebrating the sixth annual American Flowers Week

Now, more than ever, florists have an important story to share with their community and customers. It’s all about connecting more deeply with the mindful floral consumer, ones asking how their purchases support sustainable values.

Adaptable and resilient floral entrepreneurs are returning to basics, especially during the uncertain time caused by stay-at-home and no-contact policies. They are pivoting to what’s “essential” and engaging with their customers more transparently than ever before.

It matters that we connect consumers with their flowers in new and thought-provoking ways. It matters a lot. How we communicate makes a difference between whether flowers are viewed as relevant and essential or whether they are dispensable and unnecessary.

In its sixth year, a social media campaign like American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) is one important tool that returns the floral marketplace to its roots.

At its heart, American Flowers Week focuses on the origin of each beautiful stem, where it comes from and who is the grower behind that bloom. The campaign also shines a light on floral design, promoting domestic flowers and foliage as a desired product category, inspiring professionals and consumers alike with a new aesthetic connected to locality, seasonality and sustainability.

Orchid opulence representing the state of Hawaii, designed by Alison Grace Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii for American Flowers Week, as featured on the cover of Florists’ Review

Our media partner Florists’ Review published the collection in its June 2020 issue, released to subscribers on May 25th. Designed by members of the Slow Flowers Society, the 2020 botanical couture collection for American Flowers Week presents cut flowers re-imagined as a wearable art. These floral fashions combine fantasy with reality, imagination with technique, inventiveness with grit. Flowers are fleeting, yet sensory and evocative, inviting us to view the natural world as a true art form. American Flowers Week captures imaginations and sparks curiosity. It is a true celebration of the artists who grow flowers and the artists who design with them.

Click here to read the online article. Let’s congratulate the five creatives — florists, farmer-florists and growers — for their beautiful and engaging take on America’s iconic blooms.

ALASKA Peony Princess

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies, based in Fairbanks, Alaska, returns to share her second couture look expressing the unique character and beauty of the peonies she grows. “Creating the dress was like ‘play day’ for adults,” she says. “The kind of enthusiasm we all felt generated so much energy and laughter, second only to seeing my fields in bloom.” There is a fairy-tale quality to the styling and the setting that evokes an imaginary storyline of old.

FLORAL SOURCE: Northern Lights Peonies, @northernlightspeonies

CREATIVE CREDITS
Design: Kim Herning, Northern Lights Peonies
Models: Kendra Underwood and Andrea Reisdorf
Hair and Make-Up: Kendra Underwood and Andrea Reisdorf
Photography: Claire Granger and Kristina Mulready

HAWAII Orchid Opulence

In 2018, Alison Grace Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii in Honokaa, Hawaii, and her team created stunning male and female garments for American Flowers Week to highlight the vibrant diversity of Hawaii-grown flowers and foliages. For 2020, the designer chose a quieter botanical palette of all white petals. Her look is highly feminine, reflecting the deep attachment between Hawaii’s landscapes and orchid breeding and production. “We often use dendrobium orchids for lei-making but also for petal scatters instead of roses, because they are local,” Alison says. “I don’t know what I did wrong with the math, but this dress happened because I over-ordered for an event by tens of thousands of stems of dendrobium blossom heads”.

FLORAL SOURCE: ACK Flowers LLC, Papaikou, Hawaii

CREATIVE CREDITS
Design: Alison Higgins, Grace Flowers Hawaii, graceflowershawaii.com, @graceflowershawaii
Dress styling: Kamaehu Duldulao, Grace Flowers Hawaii
Dress construction: Alison Higgins and Jade Woolford, Grace Flowers Hawaii
Bouquet: Nicole Cordier Wahlquist, Grace Flowers Hawaii
Model: Jasmine Kume Amari
Makeup: Kali Rose
Venue: G.B. Hajim’s Farm, Birdsong
Photography: Sarah Anderson

MAINE Petal Patterns

The prolific trial gardens and flower fields of Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Albion, Maine, a location for an American Flowers Week look in 2019 have inspired a new guest designer for 2020. “Having the opportunity to host a floral fashion designer has been a true highlight for the JSS team,” says Hillary Alger, product manager for herbs and flowers. “To pause from the busy work of trials and catalog production to participate in something so out of the ordinary stretches our brains in really fun ways.”
Designer Michelle Rech of Electric Flora, based in Portland, is a studio florist known for her avant garde style and custom art pieces. She eagerly partnered with Johnny’s Seeds, where she felt like a “kid in a candy store,” thanks to the abundance of late-summer blooms being evaluated for future seasons’ seed catalogs. “I was literally in a daze of happiness for months after creating this dress,” she says.
“Michelle gets full credit for designing and constructing the dress,” Hillary continues. “Our team, including Joy Longfellow and photographer Kristen Earley, get to play as art directors, dreaming backdrops and props. We wanted to compliment Michelle’s vision of playful, bright and modern, while using the research farm as the setting.”

FLORAL SOURCE: Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Flower trials

CREATIVE CREDITS
Design: Michelle Rech, Electric Flora, electricflora.net, @electricflora
Model: Kristina Alofaituli Hair: Kristina Alofaituli
Makeup: Michelle Rech
Photography: Kristen Earley, Johnny’s Selected Seeds

SOUTH DAKOTA A Prairie Gathering

A first for the American Flowers Week botanical couture series, with a new state and a new look: A prairie-inspired creation from Moníca Pugh of Floras & Bouquets LLC, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A farmer-florist, Moníca also teaches floral design through the local school district and she is a regular floral guest appearing on local television. “Flower farming is new to South Dakota,” Monica says. “I’m really hoping that (my participation in) American Flowers week will help get the word out about what’s happening with local flowers.”

FLORAL SOURCE: Floras & Bouquets LLC

CREATIVE CREDITS
Design: Moníca Pugh, Floras & Bouquets LLC, florasandbouquets.com, @florasandbouquets
Model: Echo Bettelyoun
Hair and Makeup: Echo Bettelyoun
Photography: Patty Solis Rivero

WASHINGTON Designer Dahlias

Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms lives and breathes dahlias at the farm she operates with her husband Steve Pabody in the Northwest corner of Washington State. As a farmer-florist, she also runs Triple Wren Weddings, a wedding and event design studio. After seeing how popular the farm’s dahlia fields were with local photographers and their portrait clients, Sarah fantasized about what it would look like if the people having their photos taken wore dahlias rather than only standing among the flowers. Her idea took hold and now Sarah teaches Dahlia Dress Master Classes for designers and floral enthusiasts who want to create, wear and be photographed in dahlia couture (details at triplewrenfarms.com). Beyond fantasy, the garments are thoroughly alluring, but also accessible, prompting others to imagine themselves wearing a dahlia dress of her own.

FLORAL SOURCE: Triple Wren Farms, triplewrenfarms.com, @triplewrenfarms

CREATIVE CREDITS
Floral design: Sarah Pabody, Triple Wren Weddings
APRICOT FROCK
Model: Taylour Aarons
Hair and Makeup: Beauty by Elizabeth Marie
Photography: Katherine Buttrey
TRIO OF DAHLIA GOWNS
Models: Simcha Heiser, Aspen DeGolier and
Taylor Moncrieff
Hair and Makeup: Beauty by Elizabeth Marie, Crowns
of Gold Styling, Kenna Balvanz, Brooklyn Matthysse
and Kennedy Lee
Photography: Ashley Hayes and Sarah Joy Fields
GIRL’S DRESS
Model: Chloe Wren Pabody
Photography: Abigail Larsen

AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK 2020
Here’s how you can participate!

American Flowers Week takes place June 28-July 4 and you’re invited to join in the campaign! Here are some resources for you:

Download our American Flowers Week Logo and Branding Artwork for 2020 by artist Tamara Hough

Download and post one or more Social Media Badges featuring the botanical couture you see here

Down load and print our free coloring sheets, including the USA Map and all 50 official state flowers

Photograph and share your flowers — red, white & blue is recommended. Use the tag: #americanflowersweek when you post on IG, Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to see your American-grown flowers, fields, vases and tabletops.

For the past several years, we’ve ordered our popular American Flowers Week bouquet labels from Grower’s Discount Labels. And we’ve loved working with this family-owned business with deep ties to farming and publishing!

For 2020, we’re thrilled that Grower’s Discount Labels is joining American Flowers Week as a sponsor, supporting this important domestic flower promotion campaign.

AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK
June 28-July 4
, 2020

We’re about to reprint the American Flowers Week labels (actual size: 2-x-3 inch oval) and it’s time to place your order!
It’s completely free to participate in American Flowers Week, but if you really want to dazzle your customers, we have an affordable resource for you to use. For the fifth year in a row, use American Flowers Week bouquet labels to highlight your product, your brand and your mission. 
The labels are available exclusively to all active Slow Flowers members. To offset the cost of design and production, we ask for a nominal contribution from you.
Pricing:
$20     50
$35     100
$50     200
$100   500
To order: Please send your request to: debraprinzing@gmail.com and indicate the quantity of labels you want. 
Payment: You’ll receive an invoice payable via PayPal and once payment is complete, the labels will be shipped. We will add $10 Priority Shipping & Handling to each order, due to a Postal Service rate increase to $7.75 for a flat-rate envelope.
Deadline/Shipment: All label orders must be received by Friday, June 19th in order for us to mail them to you in time. 

Since 1989, Grower’s Discount Labels has been providing graphic design solutions and high quality labels at a discounted price, with personal service at every step. Their goal is to make the process as simple and successful as possible. Check out the Label Gallery and for ideas, check out the Label Designs for Purchase link. When you order floral labels for your own enterprise or brand, take advantage of the special offer above.

NOTE: Grower’s Discount Labels is temporarily unable to accept new customers, but they hope to turn on their Quote Request Form very soon. To make sure you’re notified when that option is available to new customers, fill out this form!


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Note: Amy Ly (formerly Amy Kunkel-Patterson) of Gather Design Co. in Seattle created the unforgettable SUNFLOWER GOWN for American Flowers Week in 2017. She recently posted about how she produced this exquisite floral garment, along with her recipe and techniques. Here is an excerpt and link to her full post and the full gallery of Anna Peters’ beautiful images.

Amy Ly's Sunflower Gown
From the 2017 American Flowers Week Botanical Couture collection, our first wearable floral fashion series. Designed by Amy Ly (c) Anna Peters

The Sunflower Gown

I am the kind of person who always says yes to an outlandish idea, even before I know how I might make it happen. This dress came from one of those conversations, that went something like this:

Debra: I am starting to think about images to promote American Flowers Week 2017.

Amy: Oh, that’s exciting! What do you have in mind?

Debra: Well, I am wanting something really bold. I’d love to take what Susan McCleary did last year with botanical fashion and commission a designer to create something even bigger, like a whole dress made out of sunflowers. I want it to feel like classic Americana, but with a high end design.

Amy: Great, I’ll do it.

Debra: Wait, are you serious? Do you know how to create a dress out of flowers?

Amy: Not yet, but I will soon!

Amy Ly's sunflower gown
Kelly Uhlig of Sonshine Farm, herself a young flower farmer, modeled the dress. It was photographed by Anna Peters at Everyday Flowers, Vivan Larson’s flower farm in Stanwood, Washington

From this initial conversation in mid-August, we compared calendars and talked to the Seattle Wholesale Grower’s Market about when sunflowers would be at their peak, settling on a day in early September. Debra graciously let me choose the photographer for the project, and Anna Peters was the first person I called. I could tell she was skeptical when I explained the idea of a dress made out of sunflowers (I fear she was picturing something like this), but we’d worked together before and she trusted my idea and agreed.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF AMY’S STORY . . .

Amy (right) as she attended to finishing details of the magnificent sunflower gown (c) Anna Peters
Kelly looks divine in the botanical couture ensemble featuring sunflowers and other late-summer blooms from the farms of Seattle Wholesale Growers Market. Makeup by Yessie Libby (c) Anna Peters

Amy’s post concludes with this:

Special thanks to the talented artists that lent their creativity to this one of a kind project!

Model: Kelly Uhlig of Sonshine Farm | Hair & Makeup: Yessie Makeup Artistry | Photography:  Anna Peters | Shoot Location: Everyday Flowers, Stanwood, WA

This shoot was featured as part of American Flowers Week – you can read more of the story behind the gown in an interview with Amy, here.

American Flowers Week 2017, celebrating floral art, American-grown flowers and foliage, and the importance of domestic floral agriculture (c) Anna Peters

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For the fifth consecutive year, our Slow Flowers Botanical Couture Collection will feature creativity and fashion with American-grown flowers and foliages — all to celebrate American Flowers Week!

You’ll soon be the first to see our AFW 2020 Botanical Fashion Collection, created over the past year by a talented lineup of Slow Flowers Members around the U.S.

The series will first appear in the June 2020 issue of Florists’ Review, followed by many other platforms and channels. In fact, we’ll soon share American Flowers Week badges for you to download free and use in your own promotion and branding.

Until then, help us thank, congratulate and celebrate our Featured Designers:

ALASKA

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies

Kim Herning of Northern Lights Peonies returns to share her second couture look for American Flowers Week, expressing the unique character and beauty of the peonies she grows. Read more about Kim’s 2019 peony gown here.

Creating the dress was like ‘play day’ for adults. The kind of enthusiasm we all felt generated so much energy and laughter, second only to seeing my fields in bloom.

HAWAII

Alison Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii (c) Sarah Anderson & Anna Pacheco

In 2018, Alison Grace Higgins of Grace Flowers Hawaii in Honokaa, Hawaii, and her team created stunning male and female garments for American Flowers Week to highlight the vibrant diversity of Hawaii-grown flowers and foliages. Read more about Alison’s 2018 tropical couture look here.

For 2020, the designer was inspired by a new floral palette – Hawaii-grown orchids – and a feminine, romantic aesthetic.

I’m so glad we could also show the greenhouses where these flowers come from.

MAINE

Michelle Rech of Electric Flora

Designer Michelle Rech of Electric Flora, based in Portland, partnered with our Slow Flowers sponsor Johnny’s Selected Seeds to create a playful dress adorned with flowers harvested from Johnny’s famous trial gardens in Winslow, Maine.

“Having the opportunity to host a floral fashion designer has been a true highlight for the JSS team,” says Hillary Alger, product manager for herbs and flowers.

“To pause from the busy work of trials and catalog production to participate in something so out of the ordinary stretches our brains in really fun ways.”

Click here to see our 2019 botanical couture look from Johnny’s Seeds, in collaboration with florist Rayne Grace Hoke of Flora’s Muse.

SOUTH DAKOTA

Moníca Pugh of Floras & Bouquets LLC

American Flowers Week welcomes a new state and a new look by Moníca Pugh of Floras & Bouquets LLC, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Flower farming is new to South Dakota,” Moníca says. “I’m really hoping that (my participation in) American Flowers week will help get the word out about what’s happening with local flowers.

WASHINGTON

The Pabody Family, pictured in a 2016 American Flowers Week IG mosaic

Sarah Pabody of Triple Wren Farms lives and breathes dahlias at the farm she operates with her husband Steve Pabody in the Northwest corner of Washington State (see their family photo above).

As a farmer-florist, she also runs Triple Wren Weddings, a wedding and event design studio. After seeing how popular the farm’s dahlia fields were with local photographers and their portrait clients, Sarah fantasized about what it would look like if the people having their photos taken wore dahlias rather than only standing among the flowers.

GET READY!!!

We’ll share the BIG REVEAL of our 2020 American Flowers Week Botanical Couture collection on June 1st. Stay tuned! In the meantime, EVERYONE is invited to conjure their own American Flowers Week botanical couture wearable, because we hope to flood social media with #americanflowersweek goodness come June 28-July 4! Let your imagination go wild!