Slow Flowers Creative Workshop with Russian River Flower School
October 27th, 2016
Earlier this month I had the distinct pleasure of teaching with Dundee Butcher of Russian River Flower School in Healdsburg, California.
This was a lovely chance to share the Floral Storytelling and Floral Memoir curriculum in one of the most inspiring places for followers of our Slow Flowers ethos.
I believe our inspiration comes from “place,” and there was no shortage of beautiful scenery, gorgeous botanicals and the most to-die-for studio space you’ve ever seen.
Dundee and her colleague Naomi Mcleod, along with their volunteer Vicki McFadden, hosted our workshop for two days in which we exercised our writing skills, stretched our perception of language, and stepped outside the comfort zones as florist-writers.
One of the participants said this about the value of the experience:
“The topic interested me since I have been on a mission to find where I am going with my business and how to incorporate our family farm and tell our story.
“I plan to use this as I update and rebrand my business and where I am going with it.”
This is the third Creative Workshop and what I am finding most inspiring is how willing our participants suspend fear or apprehension and dive into unfamiliar exercises to express themselves through words. I salute everyone involved for the way they encouraged and supported one another — that makes a huge difference during any creative process, right?!
What drew people to take this workshop and invest in themselves in a new way? Here’s a sampling of the reasons:
“I lost track of my connection to creativity. I could stand behind another designer and sell someone else’s work, but not my own. I want to use flowers to tell a story.”
“I became so separate from who I am, and I started thinking ‘what would I do if I could do anything I dreamed of?'”
Our writing exercises ranged from simple botanical descriptions (describe a rose without using the word rose, for example), to playing with new ways of naming color, to journaling about our earliest memory of nature, flowers or art. The ultimate goal? To identify our “why,” our “North Star,” our personal value system that underscores our brand.
On Day Two, Dundee led the students in a floral design exercise to think differently about how their creations reflect personal aesthetic. We had some amazing flowers to play with, both from local flower farms like Aztec Dahlias, Home Farm, and Chalk Hill Clematis, as well as cuttings from Dundee’s personal garden. The designs are exquisite and I’m so happy to share them here.
The final element of this workshop was to speak on camera. Davis and Ludell Jones of Eazl.co, joined us for a brief filming session. Using a two-camera format, and conducting casual interviews with each student, they gathered the raw footage to build short video clips for each participant to have as a take-home piece.
It was pretty special to see our group come together as a cohort of peers — and to see how valuable it is to set aside a few days to invest in our personal growth. Thank you to Dundee, Naomi and Vicki for making our experience so unforgettable!
Thank you to our students — you trusted me and you were open and accepting of trying new things. That’s sweet and I can’t wait to see where it takes you!
If you’re interested in hosting or participating in a future Slow Flowers Creative Workshop, shoot me a note to add your name to our planning process. Debra@debraprinzing.com.