Crazy for Pansies {The Pansy Ring}

001This is the time of year in the South where copious amounts of little Pansy plants are purchased and incorporate into landscapes outside business and homes across the region. They are adorable, edible, tougher than they look, cold loving, and come in a rainbow of colors and combinations. I started collecting them  a few weeks ago and could not stop. But that’s just part of the story here. You see, I’ve been waiting for pansy season because of a dear friend named Kevin. This summer I purchased from him the most curious little doughnut shaped vase. It was only two inches tall, from Germany, and almost looked like a circular ceramic frog. It turns out, in essence that is what the vase was. Kevin is a man well versed in antiques and oddities. If one needs to know what antique grape scissors look like, he knows and likely has a pair. He and his partner sell antiques and much more here in Memphis through a company named Posh Design Group. They are talented in many mediums, but getting back to the curious vase story, Kevin told me it was specifically designed for pansy flowers, known as a ‘pansy ring’  because obviously the stems are too short and blooms too flat to stand in a traditional vase. My mind was blown and ever since that moment I have been waiting to try this beauty out! Here are the results: I loaded the ring with flowers took some photos, then thinned them out, and took more photos.  I also gathered all of the smallest vases I could find and began to sort them out into the vignettes below.

Being up close to pansy flowers is not something I do often so I also learned that they have a very sweet and enchanting fragrance. What a unique decoration for any occasion or day of the week and lovely way to bring color into one’s home during those darker colder months of the year in which the pansy thrives. For all of these reasons I would highly encourage the ownership and use of such a fun vase. The color combinations are endless. This precious pansy ring has also continues to fuel my interest in flower specific products and frogs. I have quite a collection mounting for future features!

About this pansy ring: It is from a German company named Ulmer Keramik and dated sometime in between 1949 and 1960. The waterproof glazed ring has three little round feet and a blue stamp on the backside.

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A Potter’s Journey

aOver a year ago I met a beautiful and talented artist and student named Annaliese, and this summer she came to work with me in the studio. Since she is an art major, it made for a perfect internship experience watching me run my creative business while learning my medium of flowers. We were able to translate the lessons of art and art business into a lot more than just flowers while we modified the shop for work in ceramics. Soon there was a harmony of aesthetics as she and I drafted vases that were flower specific while working with so many materials in one room. We puzzle-packed and  fired the heck out of the kiln until the day she drove back to her school. I miss her dearly not because I need a helper so much, but because having a fellow artist near you daily for a month who understands things like the flow of diving into a project or the abstract ways that people like us get from A to B (which is never a straight line), or the excitement over the tiniest detail, is a rare and beautiful thing. There is a rise in collaboration with potters/vase makers and floral designers and it was so exciting to have a taste of that magic here at Haute Horticulture. We discussed artists like Frances Palmer who have been making waves by designing such flower specific pieces and their success of being embraced by what was seemingly a tight niche of customers, floral designers, and art lovers alike.

I often reflect on what I taught and what I learned while teaching and working with her. I wonder if it was I who actually got more out of the experience. It is no secret that we will be opening a flower school in the coming year and Annaliese was able to provide me with mindful feedback on my teaching techniques while I shared some of the successes and lessons of selling creativity in today’s world; after all, artists of all people have a product that is often so original it is difficult to market fairly to themselves with appropriate compensation for their time and ideas. Thank goodness there is a turning tide in the art world where emotions or thoughts are made into tangible objects; a renewed craving for the old methods of unique obtainable artwork that is slowly taking hold of the world conscious. Holding a hand made work or decorating with it offers opportunities to connect with the lives of artists and makers and with however one personally responds to the piece. It is a way to support those who take time to put their heart, talent, and dedication into a work for others to cherish; and a way to maintain the legacy of the art and culture of our society. This type of post is long overdue and this article has given me such pleasure to write that I look forward to a series of artist features coming more often on this blog.

The photos below are of her portfolio and a majority of the pieces were made in Japan where Annaliese studied for a year. I cannot take any credit for her magic attention to details or any of the art that flowed from her this summer, but instead for connecting her a little deeper with the nature around my crazy life, some new methods in hand building we practiced together, and my incredible friends like Annabella Brandon who captured her essence so perfectly with a camera (and is available for portfolio, commercial, and business image work). There is no doubt this is the first in many future features about Annaliese Davidson to come in the art community. I am so proud of her emerging style, her tenacity and courage to be herself and travel whenever possible, and her life guided by an extraordinary inner compass which is always pointed to the path of experiences with a humble heart, open mind, and noble purpose.

Annaliese Davidson and her work photographed by Annabella Charles Photography

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Sweet Violet Magazine Cover

Last Summer we worked on a concept shoot around the idea of having one’s closes friends join in a sample party at a bridal boutique. With cake, champagne, flowers, and of course dresses, everyone in a bride’s inner circle could participate in the experience. The results were so beautiful and the color yellow could not have been more perfect. When creating editorials, we have to look ahead past the current colors everyone is mooning over since the publications typically take a year to occur. Yellow hit the spot and was a sunny change that looked absolutely perfect on the cover of Sweet Voilet Magazine’s current issue. There is such a reward in having people respond to the ideas that take so much energy and effort to bring from a concept to reality. The team really pulled it together for a light and airy pairing with a few whimsical elements just for fun. Beautiful dresses and hair and makeup took the center stage as the sun filled boutique provided the perfect venue for a little bridal soiree.

Photography: Annabella Charles

Boutique and Dresses: Maggie Louise Bridal

Prop Styling: Everbloom Designs

Cake: The Flour Garden

Rentals: Prop Cellar Vintage

Hair: Melissa Brandon

Makeup: Gia Marina

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Spring Sampling

Maggie Louise bridal boutique in Memphis, TN hosted a designer trunk show for a rising star designer named Olia Zavozina. Social Graces invited us to come create a high end sampling of floral designs for all of the brides eagerly awaiting to try on the dresses. We adorned the store with a little bit of everything from large urns filled with Olive branch to precious boutonnieres to touch. The wooden table and rentals from Mahaffey and Prop Cellar were decorated with all of our favorite offerings such as hand poured candles and spring fruit. The favorites were the enormous Japanese ranunculus that stole the spotlight in every arrangement and even took center stage on the feminine and demure cake design by our favorite Laura Jackson of The Flour Garden. The day was a huge success for brides who purchased designer gowns and got to have private consultations with the same woman who created them, who also happens to dress celebrities for the red carpet!

Between the first sign of Spring dogwood flowers, happy brides holding bouquets and posing for photos with family, and champagne popping there were nothing but moments of joy shared all around the room.

Luminous Photography as always from Anabella Charles

Gowns: Olia Zavozina

Boutique: Maggie Louise

Coordination and Design: Social Graces

Cake: The Flour Garden

Stationary: Emily McCarthy

Rentals: Mahaffey Tent and Party

Yellow Table, China, Crystal, and Flatware: Prop Cellar Vintage Rentals

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50 Years of Love and Devotion

When your daughter is one of the most talented cake designers in town and you are celebrating your golden anniversary, there is no doubt it will be the best tasting event of all! Laura Jackson of The Flour Garden Memphis invited all of us to work with her on this intimate project and make a memorable occasion for her parents. It was just that. I honestly can say that when Pat and Bud cut the extraordinary (and delicious) five tiered anniversary cake that their daughter created, it made me feel as though I was there the first time 50 years before –  and it appeared as if they did as well. What a magic day for the family. Purple is Pat’s favorite color and she is an avid gardener with an entire moss lawn: not a blade of grass! We created floral designs inspired by her lifetime of passion for art, flowers, and family and it was not hard to do considering the Lilac, Helleborus, Frittilaria, and tree blossoms were all in full Spring bloom! The photos and personal items incorporated into the design made us all feel like a part of the past and present love they share. I met two very precious  friends and look forward to working and attending their next anniversary party.  Congratulations to one of the sweetest couples that is 50 years strong and counting!

Cake and all Edibles: The Flour Garden

Photography: Annabella Charles Photography

Styling: Everbloom Designs

Coordination: Social Graces, LLC

Calligraphy & Signage: Natalie Chang

Vases and Gold Tableware and Accessories: Posh Design Group

Linens: LaTavola

Rentals: Mahaffey Tent

Buffet/Vintage Rentals: Propcellar Vintage Rentals

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Chlorophyll

The green chemical responsible for the absorption of light by plants is called chlorophyll and those tender leafy greens are precious and rare right now in the middle of winter. With a few herbs and flowers purchased here and there, this was a nice reminder that no season is eternal and that Spring will be here before long.

Maidenhair Fern

 Ivy

Mint

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The Leftovers {Flemish Palette}

Just couldn’t resist playing with some photo shoot leftovers that somehow survived over two weeks without any water or care. They were still lovely enough to make into some vignettes in a Flemish palette with a hint of winter greens and blues.

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Magnolia Rouge {The Romance Issue} Blush meets Blue

The new Romance Issue of Magnolia Rouge is out and as full of gorgeousness as ever! Issue 4 is live and all the digital issues are here in one lovely place. Kate Holland is the creative force behind this New Zealand treasure and we have been working with her for over two years now. It is hard to believe that our Memphis team has been inspiring international brides for so long and we are always honored to see what she does with our work. This color scheme sings with the beautiful blue privet berries that mixed with the blushing dahlias and earthy greens and enhanced with all of the lovely lace and vintage props and rentals styled and photographed together. The mismatched china really helped to play up the palate and unify the theme.

It’s good for blue hue loving brides to be to know that there are quite a few amazing naturally occurring blues in nature, such as the navy center of an anemone or the dusty shade of a blue thistle, that not only are available at different time of the year but can truly compliment the rest of the colors in a combination such as this.

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Photography: Annabella Charles

Styling: Everbloom Designs

Furniture, Silver, and China Props: Prop Cellar

Cakes and Cookies: The Flour Garden

Stationery: Natalie Change Designs