Gothic for a wedding theme? Yes please! I had the opportunity to work with a fantastic group of vendors to put together this inspiration shoot; a purple, red and black steam-punk meets Phantom of the Opera fantasy. We loved the idea of a Gothic theme because of the rich colours and elegant details that we could play with. Gothic style uses rich, dark colours, and lots of textures such as velvet and lace, for a darkly romantic look. It was also the perfect theme to show off the hanging cake from Too Nice to Slice. Yes, a hanging cake!
A deep purple ” Schwarzweld” calla, wired into a twiggy place card holder.
A pair of wire shoes to hold the bridesmaids bouquets. And rose petals. LOTS of crimson rose petals.
Many thanks to Scott, Chrissie, Vinti and James for sharing your amazing talents!
Would you buy from a local store, say a grocer or clothier, if you knew that they mistreated their employees? Would you buy from a local company if you knew that were major polluters in your area? Okay, now maybe they’re not so local, and you can’t see the faces of the workers, or the effects of their company on the environment. What then? Do we need to ask questions about our flowers? After all, flowers bring us joy, beauty and enhance our well being, so why question them?
In 1988, Marta Rodriquez produced a documentary on the carnation industry, “Love, Women and Flowers”, exposing the working conditions and pesticide use on Colombian Farms. I first saw it in 1992, and it was heart wrenching to think that those that supply our beautiful blooms could be treated so badly, and that there was no regard for their well being. While the chemicals that were used on the farms were banned for use in Canada and the U.S., they were most likely produced here in the first place, then used without restraint by many unscrupulous farms. Even more alarming was the apathy I encountered from co-workers and peers in the flowers industry. Very few seemed to show much concern, or felt that there was nothing that could be done. Even corporations who had the power to affect buying practices, both on the florist and the consumer level, seemed to turn a deaf ear to the situation.
I market my studio as being “green”, or sustainable, which is what I prefer to call it. To me, sustainable has a more far-reaching meaning, and takes in more than just the typical reusing and recycling practices. When talking about Flourish, I always state that the sources of my flowers are very important, mentioning Veriflora certified imports, the support of locally grown products, and the use of organic blooms when seasonally available. People are generally quite interested, and surprised, both at finding out where flowers actually come from, and that there are often social and environmental concerns attached to something meant to bring joy and beauty. In Canada, Veriflora labelled flowers are fairly easy to come by, but are not promoted at the wholesale level, and therefore, usually slip by retailers and likewise, consumers with no notice. Locally grown blooms often suffer the same fate.
As more and more consumers begin to question the origins of their purchases, as well as the conditions in which they are produced, the floral industry needs to take initiative in addressing these concerns, preferably in a pro-active manner. 90% of all roses, 98% of carnations, and 95% of chrysanthemums sold in the US are imported from South America, with similar numbers in Canada. In Colombia alone, 60,000 workers, mostly women, are employed by Colombian flower farms, making up 25% of rural female employment there. To ensure the well-being of these workers, as well as the land that the farms occupy, we need to pay more attention to the sources of our flowers, and be willing to pay a higher premium.
Larger corporations, such as FTD and Walmart, have started to offer and promote Fair Trade certified flowers, but it should be a part of the focus for small retailers as well. My outlook is that many small businesses together equal the impact of one larger company, and have the power to affect change, beginning in their own community. The first steppingstone to becoming “eco-friendly” or “ green” is to ensure the sustainability of the products that we sell, and the rest of our practices should naturally follow, with the lives of our neighbours and the environment as our prime concern.
Suggested video on Fair Trade Flowers;
Purple was the color of the day, with touches of spring green and cream. Dana chose an assortment of season flowers, including locally grown tulips, lisianthus, freesia and anemones, all at their peak of loveliness.
Shades of spring; anemones, velvety lisianthus, tulips, and wonderfully scented freesias nestled atop a bed of hydrangeas.
Frilly two-toned lisianthus and mauve freesias made up the bridesmaids’ bouquets, the colors working beautifully with the wedding stationary. and the rich purple of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
A handsome lineup, flanked by trumpet vases filled with hydrangeas, stocks, and towering delphinium.
Dana was wonderful to work with, and it was such a pleasure to be a part of this wonderful day.