The Farm Studio

Our growing season has come to a close for 2018, so I wanted to reflect upon the many many weekends this year that we have filled our little studio to the brim with buckets and buckets of freshly harvested flowers from the farm for our delightful couples. I thought it might be fitting to share how we operate the studio, week to week.

The outside of our little studio building. The front facade is covered in vinyl siding, for reasons unknown (and maybe best left unknown). But the other three exterior walls are all chippy-charming.

The outside of our little studio building. The front facade is covered in vinyl siding, for reasons unknown (and maybe best left unknown). But the other three exterior walls are all chippy-charming.

Our studio is about as old as our home (circa 1880ish) and was used as the summer kitchen, then transformed into a storage shed of sorts when the luxuries of indoor plumbing and electricity were bestowed upon the property. When we decided to start offering wedding design services, I hardly even considered the building as suitable for a studio - it was so dark and depressing in there, filled with junk from previous owners, the windows covered in crappy wood paneling.

A healthy handful of ‘Xanthos’ cosmos outside the studio door. The first of the season.

A healthy handful of ‘Xanthos’ cosmos outside the studio door. The first of the season.

Nothing a little elbow grease and a paint sprayer can’t fix though.

A creation using all the best flowers: Merton foxglove, coriander, white echinacea, ‘distant drums’ roses, ‘starlight dancer’ nicotiana, cupcake cosmos, astrantia…

A creation using all the best flowers: Merton foxglove, coriander, white echinacea, ‘distant drums’ roses, ‘starlight dancer’ nicotiana, cupcake cosmos, astrantia…

We cleared it out, Brad built some large tables, I filled it with some vintage cabinets and shelving, installed some light fixtures I salvaged from an old shoe factory, and away we went.

Farm flowers are harvested Tuesday and Wednesday, we sort through our wholesale orders heading to the city for our florist friends, and I begin pulling buckets for our own weekend weddings. I also comb through the garden, looking for special ‘secret menu’ items - varieties of flowers that we are maybe testing out, and don’t have sufficient quantity to offer wholesale.

This year my favorites that we tried out and I only wished I had more were ‘creme brulee’ annual phlox (Phlox drummondii), 'Southern Charm’ verbascum, and ‘supercrest’ Celosia.

Charming me into another dimension.

Charming me into another dimension.

Rest assured, we will have no shortage of these charming beauties to share next year.

I loved these airy centerpieces, created for a mid-July wedding.

I loved these airy centerpieces, created for a mid-July wedding.

For a typical wedding, we begin designing on Thursday morning, first by assembling our ‘flower bar’ by color and texture, and snapping a photo because it’s always so beautiful. This is also where I take a quick sigh of relief, that the vision of the couple is being realized. I also can identify gaps in my color palette, or areas where we may need a little something-something, and one of us runs out to the garden to fetch some more stems.

100% small farm grown weddings are always beautiful and fun to create. We most often pull-off this during August and September, when we are simply swimming in gorgeous flowers.

100% small farm grown weddings are always beautiful and fun to create. We most often pull-off this during August and September, when we are simply swimming in gorgeous flowers.

A reasonable work day is important to me. We aim to start designing around 9AM, and cut off the work an hour before sunset, at the latest. I find I never create my best work when tired, I want to give my team the opportunity to take care of themselves and come back to the studio feeling refreshed and energized.

I much prefer to throw all the frass on the ground and sweep once at the end of the day.

I much prefer to throw all the frass on the ground and sweep once at the end of the day.

Also, artificial light is the pits.

This bouquet was snapped atop a dirty chest freezer…but the lighting was great!

This bouquet was snapped atop a dirty chest freezer…but the lighting was great!

Our workspace, our way of doing things, is ever-evolving. Many a-lesson has been learned, and always The Hard Way. Next year, we will be taking our studio on the road for several events, and if I have gleaned anything from our home base, it’s to have plans, procedures, and methods. This is creative work, however our medium requires specific skill sets to keep our flowers fresh and beautiful, and our minds clear and focused.

Bud vases packed for a September affair. You may have detected that I only own one pair of sandals: you are correct.

Bud vases packed for a September affair. You may have detected that I only own one pair of sandals: you are correct.