Share Your Creativity With Local & Seasonal Blooms. Accepting Applications Now!
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.
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.
Romantic and mysterious, the floral cape designed by Tara Folker of Splints & Daisies features all-American grown botanicals from Stargazer Barn in Arcata, California. (c) With Love and Embers
Floral Palette: Bulb flowers, including Irises, tulips and callas; Foliages, including ornamental cabbage, sword fern and wild huckleberry.
Floral ingredients supplied by Stargazer Barn, Arcata, California Designer: Tara Folker, Splints & Daisies, Lancaster, Pennsylvania; splintsanddaisies.com @splintsanddaisies
Floral designer and artist Tara Folker
Tara Folker has been designing flowers for nearly two decades, having opened her own dried florals and woven basketry business when she was 19. Coming from a family of artists on her mother and grandmother’s side and of plant lovers on her father’s side, Tara concludes, “Things mixed for me, and I ended up in artistic florals.”
While she doesn’t describe herself as a fashion designer, Tara has produced a number of wearable floral garments for styled shoots. “I call it my playtime because it’s when I can actually do what I want to do. As anyone in the wedding industry knows, you don’t always get that. With styled shoots, I’m going to do what I love.”
When Bill Prescott, Stargazer Barn, offered to provide the flowers and foliage for Tara’s American Flowers Week concept, the timing was perfect. Tara and her team photographed in early January when not much local product was available on the East Coast.
She treasured the chance to select from Stargazer’s greenhouses and fields in Northern California: Fancy and standard tulips, ‘White Versailles’ Freesias, ‘Telsar’ Irises, ‘Cantor’ callas and all sorts of greenery, such as white and purple ornamental cabbage, sword ferns and lacy sweet huckleberry. The color palette: purples, peaches, white and green – quiet and moody for the season.
I had never seen the huck before, but it looked fun. Plus, I loved that the sword ferns were harvested from the Redwoods just a few days before the shoot.
Tara is comfortable with designing in real time, on location, rather than committing to a sketch or recipe in advance. She took as her muse Ashley Garner, the beautiful, edgy model, and the raw warehouse space at Hingework, a Lancaster event studio with large windows, white brick walls and a contemporary/industrial vibe.
The designer imagined a semitransparent floral cape that would showcase all of the fresh flowering bulbs, draping fluidly from the model’s form. “I didn’t want to do a dress or a skirt again, but I wanted to create something wearable that was new to me, too, so that I could feel satisfied with the design.”
Ashley’s style – juxtaposed against the soft, romantic, feminine florals – emoted an almost fantasylike narrative. A black leotard and leggings allowed Ashley’s body form to be another organic element while the makeup accentuated her eyes and lips. Of course, the model’s bare head also became part of Tara’s overall vision.
Tara envisioned a short shrug or capelet with sleeves, but while building the underpinnings with chicken wire, she realized sleeves would restrict Ashley’s movement and feel stiff. For a tall, lanky model, that just didn’t make sense.
“In the end, the chicken wire is almost like a scarf that lays across her shoulders. With not much of a base, the flowers themselves became the garment,” Tara says. “The flowers were tied onto the wire that I did use, and it really hugged her shoulders.”
RESOURCES Model: Ashley Garner Makeup: Stefani Burket, Bonafide Ginger, Lancaster, Pennsylvania Photography: Jillian and Ryan McGrath, With Love & Embers, Hummelstown, Pennsylvania Location: Hingework, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
In Year Three, American Flowers Week Salutes Iconic U.S.-Grown Flowers and Foliages with a Couture Approach
We’re so excited to share the story of American Flowers Week 2017 in the new issue of Florists’ Review! Here’s a sneak peek of the spreads in Debra Prinzing’s story, titled “Homegrown Event presents Floral Fashions.”
The opening paragraphs tell how American Flowers Week came to be:
In 2015, while in London for the Chelsea Flower Show, I met with Helen Evans, one of the geniuses behind New Covent Garden Market’s successful British Flowers Week campaign (June 19-25, 2017). The U.K.’s most important wholesale floral hub launched BFW in 2013 as a low-budget, social media-driven “annual celebration of seasonal, locally-grown flowers and foliage united the U.K. cut flower industry and sparking public and media interest in where our flowers come from.” It has become a popular and successful campaign to promote British flowers — and floral designers.
By the time we had finished sipping from our steaming mugs of tea in the Market’s employee break room, I was thinking to myself: “I should start American Flowers Week.”
Helen and her colleagues were immensely helpful and supportive. I returned to the U.S. in late May 2015 inspired by the BFW model, equipped with Helen’s suggestions and resources, and by the end of June, I introduced American Flowers Week.
It seemed entirely fitting that our week coincides with Independence Day, July 4th. Not only do these dates provide a patriotic hook on which to hang AFW, the timing is perfect because there are local flowers growing on farms in all 50 U.S. states, Alaska included, in late June and early July. And, as one wholesale floral manager suggested: “It’s otherwise a down time in floral, so we love having a new event to help promote flowers.”
The initial grass-roots endeavor enjoyed 400,000 social media impressions during the 2015 campaign. In 2016, we added beautiful collateral material, a free USA floral coloring map that participating florists and flower farmers could download and share with customers, and even red-white-and-blue stickers used by florists, flower farmers and retailers to label their AFW bouquets. Impressions on social media hit 1.3 million last year.
For 2017, I’ve borrowed yet another page from British Flowers Week. BFW selects five iconic U.K.-grown flowers and pairs each with a high-profile florist or design team to produce installations and vignettes. The press and online media devour these images — and of course, the publication of them creates a buzz about British flowers and the farmers and florists who supply them.
Slow Flowers, which presents AFW, has commissioned several floral-inspired fashion shoots depicting iconic American grown blooms. The designers who contributed their creativity and artistic talents teamed up with generous flower farms that donated stems straight from their fields and greenhouses.
The goal? To showcase domestic and seasonal flowers in a new and engaging way — and to show how inventiveness and ingenuity, along with American grown flowers, produce beautiful results.
These All-American floral looks would never have been possible without the support of Slow Flowers’ sponsors, including Certified American Grown, Arctic Alaska Peony Cooperative, Longfield Gardens, Syndicate Sales, Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, Johnny’s Selected Seeds and Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers.
Congrats to all of our talented designers, photographers, models, hair/makeup artists — AND ESPECIALLY, the Flower Farmers who provided the blooms. See credits below.
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)
Floral ingredients supplied by California Pajarosa, Watsonville, CA, and Bonny Doon Garden Co., Santa Cruz, CA
Model: Antalia Sabankaya
Makeup: Zachary Winer
Hair: Carly Vollers
Photography: John Kaemmerling Photography
Location: Sabankaya family garden, Bonny Doon, CA
AMERICAN FLOWERS WEEK PRESENTS . . . SLOW FLOWERS SUMMIT