A NEW DIRECTION, AND A NEW ADVENTURE
You may have noticed that our Instagram account has been slowly changing.
We’re still posting photos of flowers and our garden and our life, but it’s been looking a little bit difference.
There’s been a subtle, but very apparent shift in our lives that we have only recently realized. Funny how change happens in that way - you just wake up one day and realize that things are very, very different from how they used to be.
It all started back a couple years ago when we discovered a little store in town that sold the Japanese incense that Steven loves. He went into the store and chatted with the owner, who revealed that she was an ikebana teacher.
Steven has wanted to do ikebana since he was sixteen, and when we had the opportunity to start taking ikebana classes, Steven was over the moon at the possibility.
Steven also signed me up for classes and the two of us took ikebana classes together - kind of as a couples activity at first, but the more classes we took, the more both of us fell in love with it.
Ikebana is different from Western floral design. It’s more than just arranging flowers and more than making a final product - it’s about seeing the shape in your mind, the way your floral snips cut through the stems, the way the water ripples and reflects, the stillness between the placement of each stem.
There’s just something so serene about doing ikebana. As opposed to the way I feel when making a Western-style arrangement, I’m not stressed when I’m doing ikebana. Each stem, each leaf, each bloom and bud has its place, and I feel like I’m able to leave the noise of the world behind when I’m doing ikebana.
It’s a feeling I don’t experience with anything else.
And I have to admit - I’ve been feeling stressed recently.
Some due to regular life events, but mainly due to growing flowers for sale.
Let’s just say I’ve been experiencing major flower burn out recently.
While I appreciate the renaissance in flower growing and the use of seasonal, unique and new materials for floral arranging, I’ve reached maximum flower saturation on many levels.
While I used to get excited at seeing buckets of blooms and dense arrangements packed with flowers, they’ve lost their appeal. While it was exhilarating at first to see, it’s causing me to have very mixed feelings about this now.
It’s not enough to just have the flowers anymore. You need more. Always more.
More peonies. More dahlias. More stems and more blooms. And all the eucalyptus. And bigger blooms, with ranunculus the size of softballs and dahlias the size of watermelons.
I’m appreciating the newfound interest in a wide variety of plants and flowers never before used in floral design, but I think that a lot of designers have kind of missed the mark by shoving so much shit into a compote bowl that you can’t even see the individual flowers anymore.
And while the sight of rows and rows of flowers and buckets and buckets of blooms does make me happy, it also feeds the flower monster inside us. The flower monster that is never satisfied, and always hungry for more. More rows, more acreage, earlier in the season and later in the season, in more colors and with longer bigger stems until all I feel is a sort of hollowness inside.
While I love the opulence and abundance demonstrated through these displays, I just think it’s kind of missing the mark.
Or at least missing the mark for me. I got into growing flowers because I am, by nature, a gardener. I love nurturing my plants from seed, watching them grow and expand and burst into bloom, creating a delight that nothing else in this life can really match.
Ikebana in particular has helped me to recapture that magic. While previously I was concerned about filling a bucket full of stems, now I can focus on the individual flower - the way the stem kinks and curves ever so slightly is a thing of beauty. Or having a leaf with a bug-bite in it is seen as a thing of beauty - the leaf is as it was found in nature, and the insect chose this leaf to make its mark, making it even more beautiful.
It’s a new way of looking at things. Or at least a renewed way of looking at things the way I did as a child and as a beginning gardener, celebrating and appreciating each and every bloom as it comes into being.
Ikebana and the Japanese culture has shown me a different appreciation for nature and for floral design. It’s more than just a flower being a beautiful color, or having a large amount of them - it’s about the miracle of the flower blooming, the changing of the seasons, the life and death cycle of the plant itself and the way it weaves itself into our lives.
It’s because of this newfound appreciation that Steven and I had a very long and hard conversation about where we are at, and where we want to head and be in the future.
We are finding ourselves fascinated by the way that the Japanese think and view the world and life. And though our interest started with ikebana, we have expanded our interest into other areas as well - tea ceremony, textiles, Japanese minimalism, ceramics, hospitality and home. There’s just something that resonates so well with us, and we feel a magnetic draw to it.
You can’t have everything. And with one of our goals being to focus on the things that truly matter and sparks joy in our lives, we needed to clear our lives to focus on this new aspect of our lives.
It’s because of this realization that we have made the decision that next year, we will no longer be growing bulk blooms for sale or for designing on a large scale in order for us to focus on the appreciation of ikebana and Japanese culture as a whole.
We will still be fulfilling out this year - we have some workshops, classes, events and weddings that we are very excited to be a part of - but this will be the final year of us really doing Western floral design and flower farming on a large scale.
We still will be growing flowers, appreciating their beauty and creating and arranging, but it will be in a different way. We’re still the same creatives and artists, but things will look a bit different.
We hope that you follow us on our journey as we continue to learn about and experience what is increasingly a Japanese lifestyle and mindset.
We are so excited by what we’ve experienced so far, and can’t wait to see what lies in store for us in the future.