You could be the next American Flowers Week Botanical Couture Creator!
Slow Flowers will Commission at least FIVE Floral Couture Looks for our 2020 American Flowers Week Collection. We’re soliciting proposals from farmer-florist creative teams for this campaign. Those submitting must be active Slow Flowers members. Consideration will be made for geographic diversity, and for botanical elements not previously featured.
For the 2020 Application, you will be asked to submit a Mood Board or Pinterest Board to express your concept. You will also be asked to write a description of your construction methods and mechanics to be used. This is all to ensure that you will be able to execute the design for photography and publication. Please reach out to email@example.com with any questions.
You can read more about past American Flowers Week creations and collections here:
Floral artist Andrea K. Gristconjures a playful mini-dress infused with the personality of woodland, meadow and prairie, featuring botanicals sourced from Little Green Garden.
“I was inspired by the native plants and grasses that grow in and around the flower farms of Missouri and Kansas,” she says.
“I wanted a very organic look that’s youthful for our model’s age and size. I call the look ‘Cowgirl meets Yule Sprite’ for its sense of both innocence and powerful confidence.
Beth and Joel Fortin of Little Green Garden harvested all the ingredients from their farm, including flowers, grasses, pods and evergreens. The extensive grounds of our location include tall grass prairies and tree-lined horse trails, reflecting the flora of this region.
Andrea recently shared how she crafted the garment:
“I used felt purchased by the yard for the base of the floral bodice and skirt. I originally thought I could use a spray adhesive to attach the greenery, but I ended up using Oasis cold glue to attach the greenery – small pieces of spirea and cedar,” she explains.
A tip from Andrea: Use books to add weight to the foliage to ensure it attaches securely to fabric.
Once in place, the greenry became the neutral “ground” for Andrea’s botanical textile. The “print” was created by adding flowers of the season. Andrea encouraged her grower friends from Little Green Garden to bring what they loved and wanted to showcase. “It was a complete surprise,” laughs Andrea, who added: “my strategy was to place flowers wherever there was a hole in the greenery where the felt showed through.”
The finished felt panels wrapped around model Samantha Grist (Andrea’s daughter), secured with dress clips and a slender belt. Wavy, flowing hair, a lush floral crown and colorful trailing ribbons complete the “yule sprite” look.
On location, our photographer Tiffany Marie Buckley played with lighting to create a moody, mystical background, merging the initial concept with more fairytale qualities.”
Designer: Andrea K. Grist, Andrea K. Grist Floral Art, andreakgristfloralart.com, @andreakgristfloralart Flowers: Little Green Garden LLC, Richmond, Missouri, littlegreengardenllc.com, @littlegreengardenkc Venue: Sunset Trails Stables, Lee’s Summit, Missouri, sunsettrailsstables.com, @sunsettrailsstables Model: Samantha Grist Hair and Makeup: Andrea K. Grist Photography: Tiffany Marie Buckley, Tiffany Marie Photography, tiffanybuckley.com, @tiffanymariephoto
The fifth annual American Flowers Week celebration kicks off today, June 28th and runs through July 4th. You’re invited to join the party and share your beautiful flowers — local, seasonal and grown close to home.
A group of talented floral designers, retail florists and farmer-florists joined together to produce the installation. We transformed the 10-by-10 foot loading dock at SWGMC into a theatrical floral stage, complete with lavish botanical draperies and a marquee banner reading “American Flowers Week” (more on that below).
On Tuesday afternoon volunteer Slow Flowers member designers threaded more than 2,000 flower heads onto 15-foot-long lei-like strands. A festive — “it takes a village” — spirit of collaboration filled the workroom as these women, many of whom had not previously met, each shared stories of their floral journey, as well as personal insights into finding balance as creatives and entrepreneurs. Gathered around a table while threading long needles through freshly-cut flower heads onto bullion wire . . . it felt like a modern-day quilting bee. Great connections while making something beautiful together.
We loved the palette: white, cream, pink coral, lavender and maroon blooms, generously donated by the Market and its member growers. The color choice was a nod to red-and-white stripes of the U.S. flag while also blending nicely with the Josie Ricefloral mural that covers the entire surface of the Market, including around the loading dock opening. Keita Horn of Smashing Petals designed two beautiful, tapestry-like floral tiebacks using nigella, scabiosa, delphinium and sea holly, among other blue-petaled options.
We also utilized several sections of greenery garlands, custom-made by Camflor, a California flower farm and Slow Flowers member. The texture and density of the eucalyptus and grevillea garlands added lots of volume and interest to the floral strands.
Early Wednesday morning, we installed the floral draperies from the lip of the roll-up loading dock door. S-hooks and zip-ties were perfect mechanics to engineer the scheme. A time crunch before the market opened to buyers at 6 a.m. kept everyone focused. As soon as the garlands and floral strands were in pace, Emily Ellen Anderson of Lola Creative her assistant Alana Crawley climbed ladders to install a fabulous bunting-style banner that spanned the opening of the loading dock declaring: AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK.
Our favorite part: the F L O W E R S part is spelled out in red spray roses, dianthus and other tiny flower heads.
Thank you to everyone who attended. For those of you who missed the festivities, please enjoy the party virtually, through Missy Palacol’s lens (thank YOU, Missy!).
More Thanks: Lainie Kertesz, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, who brought flower seed giveaways and cut flower resources Erin Murphy, Tilth Alliance, for sharing resources on organic farming and farm tours Suzanne Carson and Laura Ridenour who just kicked off the Washington Flowers Project in conjunction with American Flowers Week and lent major support and enthusiasm for the installation and party. Jessica Lutovsky, Must Love Frosting, for her fantastic and delicious cookie artistry
Beth Syphers of Crowley House Flower Farm wanted to tell a story of a sassy, confident, modern-day young woman, and she framed her narrative around the late 1950s and early 1960s.
“I also wanted this design to embrace women in all shapes and sizes and reflect their power,” she says. Bethany Little of Charles Little & Co., a farm known for fabulous dried flowers, joined Beth as co-designer to fabricate the production of the late-summer/early autumn garment.
“We decided to highlight the 1960s dried flower vibe. We loved showcasing a combination of dried and fresh flowers as a way to extend the ‘local’ season in our floral designs,” Beth explains. She designed the outfit’s top with mostly fresh-cut flowers, ornamental grasses and foliages. Bethany assumed design responsibilities for the skirt design, incorporating a mix of dried flowers from her farm.
Beth envisioned a storyline for her model (who happens to be her beautiful daughter, Rilley Syphers): Wanderlust has taken hold of the young woman’s imagination and she strikes out for town, hitch-hiking at the edge of a country road.
Rilley’s outfit began with a trip to a vintage store, where she found a top and skirt that felt comfortable to the skin yet was stable enough to support the weight of hundreds of flowers. Beth embellished the top using a combination of Oasis cold glue for the fresh material and hot craft glue for dried material. Similarly, Bethany created a tapestry-like pattern on the skirt, including using silky grasses as a fringed detailing.
Photographer Haley Swinth followed along on the narrative, as Rilley first posed at the edge of a country road, holding a vintage suitcase in one hand and sticking out her thumb with the other.
Lucky for Rilley, she hitched a ride with her cousin Remington Kuenzi (shown above), driving a vintage coupe. Suitcase loaded into the trunk, sunglasses popped onto their faces, the two made the trip into town to catch a movie on the big screen. What a stylish couple!
As inspiring to the creative team as it is to followers who viewed the images in Florists’ Review and in social media, this Oregon-grown botanical fashion look is a true celebration of flower farming, floristry and flowers as art.
“Flowers in all stages of their lifecycle have beauty,” says Beth Syphers. “I would love folks to look at this design and be confident about stepping away from following the crowd; to not be afraid of what people think of their art, but to be bold and unique.”
Designer: Beth Syphers, Crowley House Flower Farm, Rickreall, Oregon, chflowers.com, @crowleyhouse Co-designer: Bethany Little, Charles Littl e& Co., Eugene, Oregon , charleslittleandcompany.com, @charleslittleandco Fresh and Dried Floral: Crowley House Flower Farm and Charles Little & Co. Venue: McMinnville, Oregon Models: Rilley Syphers and Remington Kuenzi Hair and Makeup: Rilley Syphers, @rilley.h.s Photography: Haley Swinth, haleyswinthphoto.com, @haleyswinth
“Our brave, boundary-pushing young woman is wearing 1960s Vogue attire created from gerbera daisies,” says artist and photographer Jenny M. Diaz. “The ’60s were such a pivotal decade for women. Women were demanding more inclusion in the workforce, equal pay and control of their personal rights.
“I chose the city of Fresno as my backdrop because many of the structures date back to the ’60s. The gerbera daisies are strong, not only in their appearance, but also how they create a pattern on the dress. Our gray background contrasting with a beautiful model in my bright gerbera dress made for a perfect combination.
“We wanted to show how strong women can be — on the rooftop, looking out into the world, hanging over the edge, riding a skateboard — all while looking stunning. My hope is that when someone sees this look, they are inspired to push themselves further. I am a graphic designer who wanted to push myself to create this look from start to finish. Yes, I was absolutely terrified, but I stepped out of my comfort zones and jumped in head first!”
Creative Credits: Designer: Jenny M. Diaz, jennymdiaz.com, @jennymdiaz Flowers: Dramm + Echter, Encinitas, Calif., drammechter.com, @dramm_and_echter Venue: Fresno, Calif. Model: Kara Trukki @luckytrukki Hair and Makeup: Sixx Valenzuela, @sixxvalenzuela Photography: Jenny M. Diaz
We’re so excited that Tammy Myers of First and Bloom, who’s based in the Seattle area, centered her American Flowers Week botanical couture look around quilts and dahlias.
“I’ve always been inspired by the American West,” she explains. “My mother is a quilter. My father loves American history. My grandfather was a descendant of the Karuk Tribe in Northern California. To me, a quilt is a beautiful symbol of true American history.
Tammy continues: “Upon more research, I discovered these iconic patchwork designs actually originate from women during the Colonial period of the 1700s. Later, Native women, known for making beautiful blankets, also started using these same quilting techniques. Quilts are truly a labor of love that brings warmth and comfort to whomever they surround. I find flowers have a similar nature. They too, bring joy and comfort to whomever they are near.”
was very important to me for this project. Our model, Anne Davidson, is of Native Athabaskan descent and the area
where this scene was photographed at Laughing
Goat Farm in Enumclaw, Wash., is an area rich in Native American
“My hope is that others will be inspired to take lessons from their past, apply those lessons to their present challenges and work to create a better future. Working in the floral industry is a lot like making a quilt. Quilt-making takes proper planning, specialized skills, a lot of time, and a fair amount of trial and error before one gets it right. A quilt can be a valued piece of art or seen as just a blanket. Nevertheless, both flowers and quilts have a valuable purpose in life. We must never forget that and discover ways to preserve our craft for future generations.” — Tammy Myers, First and Bloom
Creative Credits Designer: Tammy Myers, First & Bloom, firstandbloom.com, @firstandbloom Design Assistance: Amy Brown and Leila Jorden @leilajjorden Flowers: Laughing Goat Flower Farm, Enumclaw, Wash., laughinggoatfarm.com, @laughinggoatflowerfarm Additional Flowers: Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, seattlewholesalegrowersmarket, @seattlewholesalegrowersmarket Venue: Laughing Goat Farm Model: Anne Davidson, @amd98065 Hair and Makeup: Elizabeth White Artistry @elizabethwhiteartistry Photography: Missy Palacol Photography @missy.palacol
The beauty and inspiration of our American Flowers Week wearable fashions continues with a stop in Seville, Florida, on the grounds of FernTrust, one of the country’s largest sources for U.S.-grown ferns, fronds and foliage. Founded in 1986 as a cooperative of family fern farms sharing a rich history in agribusiness, FernTrust grow the highest quality foliage available.
Eileen Tongson is an urban farmer-florist in Orlando and owner of FarmGal Flowers. She partnered with FernTrust to create this lush, contemporary, all-Florida look for American Flowers Week.
“My starting point for the design was a visit to FernTrust, where I was able to see up close all the foliage they grow,” Eileen says. “All of the shades of green, not to mention the textures and shapes of foliage, were so inspiring! Many people still do not know that Central Florida is the cut foliage capital of the world. I wanted to create a design that highlights this amazing botanical product and encourage other designers to use it as more than just foliage in their floral arrangement
Eileen’s botanical gown and the fern-farm location are thoroughly integrated. “We want you to look at our story and immediately know its setting — the real, natural Florida,” she says. “We were so fortunate that the most perfect oranges were still on the trees at FernTrust. Spanish moss was moving in the breeze. There were also majestic oak trees overhead and countless varieties of ferns below. What a dreamy, magical place!”
We asked Eileen to share more about how she constructed the gown, modeled so perfectly by Isabel Tongson, her daugher.
“The base material is ‘poultry netting,’ aka Oasis floral netting. The floral netting was cut and shaped into two pieces — the ‘skirt’ of the gown and the ‘top’ of the gown. Ends were attached with zip ties. The top of each piece was left loose and then tightened with zip ties after our model stepped into it. The floral netting was covered with plastic wrap; then, I attached the foliage with cold glue.”
Eileen allowed the shapes, textures and forms of each type of foliage to inspire the surface pattern. For instance, she says, “the long Calathea and large Monstera leaves looke best applied verticall on the skirt — elongating the design.”
Foliage selection includes: Monstera, Calathea Louie, Calathea Blue, Feather Fern, Plumosus, Fatsia, Ming, Leatherleaf Fern and Victoria’s Lace Fern. See all of these varieties in FernTrust’s gallery.
“Many thanks to Jana Register and the team at FernTrust for providing me with foliage to practice and create samples prior to the actual gown production,” Eileen says. “That allowed me to determine how the leaves would look best and which would hold up longest for the photo shoot.”
Designer: Eileen Tongson, FarmGal Flowers, Orlando, Florida, farmgalflowers.com, @farmgalflowers Foliage: Jana Register, FernTrust, Seville, Florida, ferntrust.com, @ferntrustinc Venue: FernTrust Model: Isabel Tongson, @isabel.tongson Hair: Katrina Elbo, J. Bauman Salon, shearkatrina.com, @shearkatrina Makeup: Miki Walker, Make Me Up Miki, makemeupmiki.com, @mikilanii Photography: Danielle Werner, Live Wonderful Photography, livewonderful.com, @livewonderful_
Co-designers Toni Reale of Roadside Blooms and Laura Mewbourn of Feast & Flora Farm viewed their American Flowers Week botanical couture collaboration as an opportunity to highlight the unique heritage and culture of coastal South Carolina’s Gullah Geechee, a community descended from West African and Central African enslaved people. The women explain, “we were also inspired by the work of noted Southern painter Jonathan Green and spent a lot of time pouring over photos of his work, as well as photos of women in traditional Gullah dress.
“We wanted to focus on primary colors for the flowers — the reds, blues, yellows that so frequently appear in Mr. Green’s paintings — and we selected a location that reflects the culture and story of the Gullah Geechee people,” Laura says. “This palette pops brilliantly against the greenery of the marsh location, as well as the Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767, a fraternal common house built in 1915 by black farmers for their community.”
Flowers grown in local soil at Feast & Flora Farm and foraged on location compose a brillant floral garment for their model, Giovanni Richardson, “Queen Gigi Ma’at Ogechi,” Sea Island Gullah Chieftess and founding member of A Taste of Gullah. “As we created Queen Gigi’s dress, we listened to her stories, bearing witness to a beautiful, strong woman, living her life and honoring her heritage as a descendant of slaves. Through listening, understanding and facing the dark reality that is our history, and our present, we believe we can create a different future,” Toni says.
This project was personal and meaningful to the creators, and they credit their model for her guidance and collaboration. “We saw this as an opportunity to highlight the Gullah Geechee community with the hope of challenging people to think of Charleston not just as a place of iconic landmarks frequented by tourists, but as a place whose farms, homes, and plantations were born on the backs of enslaved people, people whose descendants live here and to whom we owe a debt we will never be able to repay.”
Creative Credits: Floral Designer: Toni Reale, Roadside Blooms, North Charleston, S.C., roadsideblooms.com, @roadsideblooms_shop Farmer/Florist: Laura Mewbourn, Feast & Flora Farm, Meggett, S.C., feastandflorafarm.com, @feastandflora Venue: Seashore Farmers’ Lodge No. 767, James Island, S.C., National Registry of Historic Place Model: Giovanni Richardson, “Queen Gigi Ma’at Ogechi,” Sea Island Gullah Chieftess and founding member of A Taste of Gullah, tasteofgullah.com Design Assistants: Kelsey Bacon, Joy Colby, Scott Woytowick Photography: Philip Casey, philipcaseyphoto.com, @philipcaseyphoto
The inspiring Botanical Couture Collection is central to the American Flowers Week celebration. This beautiful series of wearable floral fashions was created with locally-harvested flowers and foliages by design teams around the U.S. For 2019, we have the largest collection to date — NINE Looks!
In the days leading up to the American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4), we want to highlight stories of the people, flowers, studios and farms behind these beautiful looks.
Let’s visit Alaska’s Prolific Peony Fields
The fanciful and feminine peony gown designed by Kim Dunshie Herning of Northern Lights Peonies incorporates hundreds, if not thousands of peony stems!
Kim is also on the board of Arctic Alaska Peonies, a sponsor of Slow Flowers, so we’re thrilled that she listened to her inner fashionista and came up with this fabulous gown!
We asked Kim to share how she created this wonderful look.
Materials list: -Two layers of heavy-gauge chicken wire to form the base of the skirt -Wire to fasten and attach sections of chicken wire -Landscape plastic mesh to cover the chick wire skirt -Spruce branches
Peony Varieties: Festiva maxima, Sarah Bernhardt, Felix Supreme, Walter Faxon and My Love
Method: “I rolled out the heavy-gauge chicken wire to create the basic shape of my skirt. I realized that I would need two layers of the wire to make the base strong enough to stand up on its own in order to support the hundreds of peonies I planned to use!
“After I finalized the shape, I wired a layer of plastic landscape mesh over the chicken wire base (the openings in the mesh are comparable to the diameter of a peony stem). I also cut a ‘bendable’ door on the back/hem of the skirt that was large enough for my model to slide into.
“From the underside, I also wired on spruce branches to provide more support for the peony stems once inserted. Then, my team and I filled all of the holes with short-stem peonies that I had been saving during the season in our cooler.”
P.S., Kim says that because the Fairbanks weather was so mild last summer, “the dress lasted a good week!”
What’s next for you, Kim? “My head is spinning with plans for Summer 2019 with a bigger and better peony dress — or maybe two, this time! Who knows?”
California Pajarosa roses adorn the tutu, bodice and headpiece designed by Teresa Sabankaya for American Flowers Week 2017.
Floral Palette: California-grown hybrid tea roses, garden roses and spray roses and their seasonal companions Designer: Teresa Sabankaya, Bonny Doon Garden Co., (Santa Cruz, CA) www.bonnydoongardenco.com, @bonnydoongarden
Floral ingredients supplied by California Pajarosa, Watsonville, CA, and Bonny Doon Garden Co., Santa Cruz, CA
Teresa Sabankaya in the Bonny Doon Garden Co. cutting garden.
Teresa Sabankaya launched her floral business Bonny Doon Garden Co. by selling single stems, bunches and bouquets from a kiosk in downtown Santa Cruz, Calif. She often stocked the tiny shop with cuttings from her vast residential garden in the nearby hamlet of Bonny Doon, called Shangri-La by locals for its remote and stunning natural beauty.
As author Amy Stewart wrote in her groundbreaking book Flower Confidential, “Teresa Sabankaya has the kind of flower shop that you would dream about opening, if you are the kind of person who dreams of opening a flower shop . . . (it) fit with my idea of how floral commerce must work — you’d grow some flowers in your garden, you’d buy some from a farmer down the road, and you’d put them in buckets and sell them to your neighbors.”
A decade after being profiled by Stewart, Teresa is still designing and selling her signature garden-style florals throughout the greater Santa Cruz area, although today Bonny Doon Garden Co. is housed inside the coastal city’s New Leaf Community Market. As a Veriflora Certified Retail Florist, the shop assures customers the product they buy is grown in a sustainable manner, including from domestic flower farms.
“We source mainly from local organic and sustainable flower farms, thus assuring you a very fresh product,” Teresa explains on her web site’s home page. “We love to incorporate materials from our own cutting garden in Bonny Doon, too, while using the surrounding woods, meadows and vineyards as our inspiration.”
The 11-acre Sabankaya grounds are often home to styled shoots, attracting private design students and photographers alike. It serves as the ideal setting for Teresa’s American Flowers Week creation, a wearable rose tutu and headpiece to accompany her model’s pink satin corset.
With her model (and daughter) Antalia Sabankaya as her muse, Teresa selected an intense, fiesta-hued palette with roses dominating her design. The pristine hybrids, sprays and garden roses are more local than most, having been raised in sheltering greenhouses just miles away in Watsonville, where friend and flower farmer Paul Furman runs California Pajarosa Roses.
“I absolutely love his product,” Teresa raves. Her enthusiasm and commitment to green practices in her business are in alignment with the second-generation rose farmer’s decision to pursue Veriflora Certification for California Pajarosa.
“I am so impressed that Paul went through the process of switching from conventional growing to a sustainable method that allowed the farm to also become Veriflora Certified,” she says. “It can be an expensive process for growers and it’s not easy.”
While planning the rose-infused wearable floral fashion shoot for American Flowers Week, Teresa zeroed in on one of her favorites grown at Pajarosa: the ‘Alhambra’ rose. “That was my star rose,” she says. “It almost looks like a garden rose with its high petal count and the petals range from pinky peach to orange to fuchsia on the outer petals.”
Teresa wanted to design a flattering floral tutu that accentuated Antalia’s fitted pink satin corset. She researched magazines and Pinterest boards for inspiration and found a tutu made from silk flowers that got her thinking about constructing a tutu that wouldn’t collapse under the weight of real roses.
“While tulle fabric wouldn’t have worked, I found a gold mesh product from Oasis and began playing around with it,” Teresa says. She used 24-inch lengths of the mesh to shape “petals,” layering them to form a “flower” skirt. Matching gold Oasis flat wire woven through the mesh grid serves as a “belt” that fastens to Antalia’s waist.
The design begins with a tight pavé rose pattern to accentuate the tutu’s waistline. Teresa attached botanical elements with a combination of glue and gold wire, the tails of which are like little tendrils dangling from the skirt.
“The metal mesh itself isn’t that strong, but the wire edges of each petal hold their shape,” the designer explains. “As I folded the pieces, they formed a pouf here and a tip there to create the petal look I wanted.”
Teresa realized she didn’t want to complete cover the mesh with flowers, but instead allow the material to be the tulle-like element of her design. “I put something lacy toward the tips of each petal, pieris and jasmine from my garden that supplements Paul’s roses for a lacy, frilly look.”
The corresponding headpiece relates to the skirt with one distinct difference. “We had been cutting tree peonies from my garden to sell at the shop and the intense color was a perfect complement to Paul’s roses,” Teresa says. “I knew I had to add one to the headpiece.”
With the backdrop of her property’s Mediterranean-style architecture and its lush, secret garden to showcase her all-local floral couture, Teresa’s imagination plays out in the third dimension, made more special because she collaborated with family and longtime floral industry colleagues to celebrate American Flowers Week. “I want people to look at this picture, to look at those flowers, and feel the way I feel when I get to design with them,” she says.
Model: Antalia Sabankaya
Makeup: Zachary Winer
Hair: Carly Vollers
Photography: John Kaemmerling Photography
Location: Sabankaya family garden, Bonny Doon, CA