Linda at Flora-Ly is a true artist. She creates custom botanical collages with wedding flowers that honor love and hope for the future. The artwork she creates is truly one-of-a-kind. She sat down with Bustld to tell us all about the heart behind her business.
The power of flowers is real. Alan Ginsberg knew it in the 60's. Poor Ophelia knew it too. I know it every day in my work. I preserve flowers. Flowers with meaning; be they wedding, funeral, birth, any occasion at all. I do this through the age-old method of pressing. I place flowers, petals, leaves and stems in sandwiches of paper and cardboard and place those sandwiches into presses. After a few weeks the flowers emerge, flat, dry and ethereal. Then I go to work creating a botanical collage, a timeless piece of art to be enjoyed for years to come.
We know that flowers have meaning: white roses for truth and pure love, red rose for passion. But what I'm talking about now is a different meaning. I guess it's more of a moment than a meaning. The moment when someone handed you a particular flower and you fell in love. Driving through Maine and seeing fields of lupines on a summer vacation is forever etched in your mind. Seeing Van Gogh's sunflowers in Amsterdam that made me cry.
The realization of this power really hit me this summer with two clients in particular:
Maya was sent to me from a wedding planner. I always talk with prospective clients to see if we are going to be a good fit. Maya had done her homework and knew just what she wanted: a large botanical collage for herself, two for her mom and mother in law, and nine lockets for herself and her bridesmaids. She knew before we even talked that she wanted all of this. When I remarked what special gifts these would be, she sighed and told me I had no idea. Pressed flowers were a big part of her childhood – she would sit with her grandmother and look through books. No matter which book they picked up, pressed flowers would fall out and a story would ensue. That is powerful. Flowers tie us to our loved ones.
The second clients were KC and Mary. KC called to book me before the wedding. In our chat, she mentioned her floral designer and the instructions she was given... massive amounts of riotous color and texture. They wanted the feel of their own gardens for their wedding. Now when flowers come to me from a wedding I usually get the bouquet. KC and Mary brought me two coolers full of flowers. They gently took each vase out of the cooler, ooohing and aaahhing over each one as if it were a dear friend. They started to cry. The floral designer did everything they had hoped she would. Now they were entrusting me to preserve it all. I will never forget their relationship to the flowers. The flowers embodied their entire wedding. Not the food, the music or the clothes. It was the flowers and how they made them feel.
For me, flowers also hold many memories. My mother loved peonies and had many peony bushes but one year she bought four more, all in varying shades of pink. She planted them in a row and named them Linda, Evi, Kendra and Lydia (me, my mother's sister, my daughter and herself) – the women who meant the most to her. My mother and aunt are now gone and those bushes are in my garden blooming sweet-scented globes of pink every June, connecting me to the women who made me.
And that's the power of flowers… evoking love, joy, connection, tears and creating ties that bind. When I said the power of flowers is real, who here thought about their own flower experience? I can’t wait to capture your floral story.
Photo courtesy of Jill Maldonado