Tuesday, October 23, 2018






The language used to talk about locally grown flowers is problematic in that it infers (often in the mind of the masses) a ball jar of zinnias or sunflowers - which is to say 'farm flowers' feel pedestrian or worse, point to a country kitchen lined with sponge painted blue ducks. Not that theres anything wrong with that.

Cutting my teeth in the NYC marketplace, I've always favored locally grown product because I could find interesting nuances between stems that affected the overall feel of arrangements I was making. Having a conversation with a grower was the ultimate luxury because we could talk about what I liked and I could get more specific product -- I could say 'I want the brown flowers' or 'I want the diseased looking poppy pods that are crooked.' This was getting closer to what I started referring to as my 'dream flowers' which is to say stems that were otherworldly, strange and beautiful in their divergence from the norm. Perfection for me was imperfection, I always railed against (or at least was bored by) the idea of a giant vase of peonies. Not that theres anything wrong with that.

What I think is interesting is that we tend to equate luxury with flower product shipped in from halfway around the world. Peonies in December from Australia for example (it's usually spring somewhere in the world) or incredibly carefully flat packed budding peach branches from Japan. These stems cost $7 - $15 wholesale, I appreciate the incredulous nature of this and the luxury implied in it. I want to be clear that I don't reject luxury! Among other desires I am currently lusting after a private driver (a la Batman's Alfred), a castle in Umbria, and a $350 vintage floral hermes scarf. Aspiration keeps us engaged to some extent, keeps us dreaming.

However. Wouldn't it be incredible if we came to appreciate the luxury associated with locally grown product in the sense that it's rare, indicates the potential for a real human relationship (rare) and might lead to a genuine experience with nature (even more rare). The Japanese who are some of the best factory flower growers in the world, are obsessed with perfection in a way that's difficult to comprehend. The culture that gave us wabi-sabi also gives us medically inspired flat packed boxes of gigantic ranunculus. (Which I have enthusiastically thrown money at.)

Just like the wellness industry, the nature industry depends on people being deprived of nature. The fact that nature and luxury are twisted together is a result of our separation from nature itself. This reality has haunted me in the journey of Saipua which has inadvertently become known as a luxury brand. As complicated as it is, I feel my work now is to rework our notions of value and luxury while somehow making a living and creating my community paradise at Worlds End.




4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that both art and aesthetic taste have a perceived exclusivity with wealth? Where does that leave the mason jar with zinnias? How do I fit this all into my mind?

chris said...

Really stunning photos, beautifully retouched as well :)

Megan Peters said...

Just two of my own thoughts that run along yours... I've also been "bored with pretty" all the while still depending on it every single day working as a designer (architect). I don't think "pretty" is without value but if you work too hard at it (looking at you Instagram) it becomes superficial. So your logic that aspiration keeps us engaged is one of the only non-cynical arguments for it that I've heard and believed in a long while....hmmm, thinky thinky...

Morgana said...

In Australia there is quickly becoming a feeling of what local flowers?! Our rose growers seem to drop out weekly...the trend based nature of floristry here at the moment demands slick, perfect roses that can be “peeled” open, and only the rubbery Kenyan or Columbian roses can handle that sort of abuse! Having said that, I’ve been 100 bunches short of 150 because a local grower couldn’t end up coming through. Or been told to just turn up at market and see what’s there when trying to order large quantities for a wedding. In these situations the desire for something that can be relied upon is understandable. There are also flowers that America has (shout-out to fritillaries) that I’ve never seen in my life here. But growers also resist planting things that look like “weeds” or are brown “like shit”. Which again plays in to the fear and risk of planting something for a trend the industry is experiencing and then being left with a crop once the trend has passed...feels a bit like damned if you do damned if you don’t sometimes.