What is your background and how did you come to floral design?
I started out in marketing and special events and eventually opened my own business called 'Gather' while living abroad in Cape Town in 2011. Cape Town is an extremely creative and entrepreneurial city and my business grew from marketing and special events to include styling, curation, event design and branding. But it wasn't until I moved back to the States and started working again that I included floral design in my list of services. It's always been something I've loved to do for myself, friends and family and now that I've started doing it professionally, I can't imagine doing anything else!
How did you get into Foraging?
When I started working in floral design it seemed obvious to me to go outside and pull from what surrounded me. Without exception, I would always rather use greenery and foliage that is growing out my front door than something I've bought at the wholesaler. I find that it makes my flower arrangements so much more interesting and authentic.
What are some of your favorite types of flowers or greenery to forage?
I joke that I know what's growing in every abandoned lot, alley and public park within a five mile radius of my house, but it's not too far off. I love snipping honeysuckle vine before the honeysuckle has appeared - it's the perfect curly tendril. Fig leaves are some of my favorites - I often cut branches for my home. Unfortunately once they are cut they don't last very long, so using them in arrangements never ends well. Jasmine is another favorite to forage and so are wild flowers and Queen Anne's lace this time of year.
Do you have a philosophy when it comes to floral design?
I think my philosophy centers around wanting everything to look as loose and perfectly imperfect as possible. The colors used in my arrangements are equally as important to me as the flowers. I often find myself sticking to one color family but using a wide gradient of color within that family.
What's your advice for making an arrangement "perfectly imperfect"?
Start with your greenery first and then add your largest flowers. Keep adding flowers by size until you've finished with your smallest flower, rotating your arrangement as you go and filling in on all sides.
What are some basic tips you can give others if they are making an arrangement themselves?
Use good tools - I recommend using a quality pair of clippers, flower food, and I prefer using oasis over flower frogs, but that's just personal preference.
Think about your container - Think about the flowers you are going to use and the type of arrangement you want to make and choose your container accordingly. The right container makes a big difference.
Think about color - Try choosing your flowers based on their color and what would play nicely off of the other.
How does the concept of "Terroir", or the idea that how/when/where/why things are grown influences everything about our experience of it, connect to your experience with floral design + foraging?
Terroir is a beautiful concept and is so intertwined with floral design because flowers are seasonal. And, yes, we can ship and import flowers from other parts of the world, but sometimes you can't or its too expensive or a million other reasons.
Each season has something beautiful to offer and I've found that working with the seasons has its own special joys that wouldn't exist if I could get every flower I wanted whenever I wanted it.
I think if people could see the whole picture from start to finish of where their flowers or food are grown, how and when it is harvested, they would have a better appreciation for both the thoughtfulness of the process as well as the beauty of the finished product.
What's next for Gather?
I started a small cutting garden this Spring and would love to take it to the next level - as in becoming a flower farmer. I'm a beach girl so I don't know that moving out to the country is really for me, but I would love to find an acre or two to farm close to where I live now. I've still got a lot to learn, but I've never been happier in my professional life than right now.