Yes, April 2018. This post may be long overdue, but I cannot even begin to elaborate enough on what an important and heartfelt event this was was for so many people.
I’m going let my vulnerabilities flow for a minute here. After months of contemplating over whether to attend a floral design workshop, I began filling out the sign-up form for the Flora and Fauna Workshop at Hope Flower Farm and finally clicked that ‘Register’ button. As a first-timer to any kind of workshop like this, I was excited, yet apprehensive, and filled with starstruck nervousness about coming face to face with some big names in floral design. Scary stuff, am I right?! My submission was quickly followed up with an email from Amy McGee of Chapel Designers/Botanical Brouhaha, which put me very much at ease (the way that Amy just has that ability with people, if you’ve ever listened to the BB podcast.)
To expand a little more on the idea behind the workshop, while it was very much about learning new techniques, business perspective, and meeting other floral designers, the final day of the workshop would feature a fashion show benefiting Along Comes Hope and Team Matthias, two organizations with the mission of helping children and families affected by pediatric cancer.
Holly Chapple, host of the workshop and “Flower Mama” as she is known by many in the industry, dreamed of utilizing Hope Flower Farm as a way to give back, to do something meaningful for a good cause. It was evident that Holly put her heart and soul into organizing this event. Our group spent the days leading up to the fashion show observing demonstrations and lessons from Holly, Gregor Lersch, Hitomi Gilliam, Francoise Weeks, Susan McLeary, and Allison Ellis. We used the techniques taught by the masters to create botanical couture to be worn by the fashion show models, who were all cancer survivors - many of whom were children that deserved, more than anything, a day to have fun and let their strength be known. It was an incredibly moving and emotional culmination.
This gathering reaffirmed what I say about flowers and what I love most about flowers, which is that there is an emotion tied to every single bouquet or bloom that is given from one person to another. From our client’s point of view, they are often experiencing an overwhelming emotion - be it joy, love, or grief as we all inevitably face in life. Yet these emotions are all to be celebrated; maybe it’s a love to last a lifetime, a newborn baby, or a celebration of a life that touched others. In these moments, a florist channels that emotion and turns it into something of beauty to be honored, affirming the heart. What happened at the Flora & Fauna show was a celebration of the undeniable strength of every individual who walked the runway.
Reflecting on it all, I look back to the day when I clicked ‘Register’ to attend this workshop with a completely different perspective. It was really not such a thing to have been nervous about in the grand scheme of life. But I guess, the moral of the story, is simply a reminder to do the things you’re afraid of - because you do have the strength to do them.
I am honored & humbled to have been in attendance and want to give many thanks to Holly Chapple and Amy McGee, Along Comes Hope, Team Matthias, and Sarah Collier who captured the event with many beautiful photos.