Sunday, November 25, 2018

making flowers again, teaching again

This is work from my studio here at the farm around the beginning of August.
Morning glory, service berry, borage, hydrangea, daucus, black lace elderberry foliage. 

I was very happy to make it. It was a good day on the road to recovery with me and my relationship to flowers. 

I've enjoyed many conversations with other florists this fall - both in person and via email. Many of you that I talk to describe feelings of burn out and emptiness around the flower industry and events and I've been thinking about this a lot. 

I think it's tricky to take something that starts as an intimate personal joy and turn it into a business. That there is even a flower 'industry' stands in contrast to the intimate power that flowers have to express joy, highlight celebration, or aid in the process of grief. 

I felt disconnected to flowers for most of the last two years - indifferent and empty around them. I did not care to think about what to grow on the farm. It was like being out of love. 

When I gave up teaching it was because it felt disingenuous to preach the floral arts to excited women at the start of their careers in flowers, or even worse - women who were coming to me for inspiration and rejuvenation. The last class I taught here, two Septembers ago, I fell apart in tears when a student innocently asked me what I did to 'refill my cup.' That was the beginning of the end of a certain era of Saipua.

Time passing is the only way to sort things out. This last year has been a different kind of hustle for me; tying off all the loose ends of what was once a large complicated company. Trying to learn how to take time and find new pathways to patience and rest. Times of transition are incredibly painful. But we don't get new things, new births without them. 

This summer and fall I started to feel my way around flowers again. There were no epiphanies and there were not many euphoric highs - at least not the way I used to have. Which is ok. 

I made work in my barn studio. Sometimes I photographed it, sometimes not. Sometimes I would collect a bucket of stems from the field and then let it sit for days without ever making an arrangement. I realized that just the act of collecting - walking the field at dusk and selecting certain stems was the work.

As I've gotten new bearings in just the last few months I've thought a lot about teaching again. I want to do it in a different way; a way that is longer, more thoughtful and more holistically oriented around all sorts of things that we do here at Worlds End. I can show anyone how to make a flower arrangement. But really what I want to do is show people how we live. 

I'm working on a series of Worlds End Floral Classes to launch in 2019. Providing time, space, and solitude first with some floral tutelage sprinkled in for good measure. 

It's what I could have really used; what I have had to figure out for myself, and what I can now offer to you. It's going to be so, so good. 


Grizelda O'Connor said...

Glad to have found you back at the worktable. Its a very wet Sunday here on the west coast of British Columbia, the garden is sinking into slumber, my last few bouquets are drying out but I cant ditch them yet; the hydrangeas and roses are still lovely in their fading. A planned foray into the woods and fields for mosses, twigs, branches and berries didn't happen as one of my knees ( haha) is the size of a football. Now 'Im messing around on the Glowing Box, and wishing I were in upstate New York and could join your reading club and drink some - more- tea with a kindred spirit.
Enjoy the snow and ice, and your lovely cuddly critters.

LPC said...

It will be wonderful.

NRH said...

I’m excited

Anonymous said...

It is good to read your words!! I am across the Atlantic but I often find myself wondering about your lifestyle, business, world. Mine is also vaguely chaotic. All mixed in community living, flowers, animals, growing, living. After 7 years of building my flower business with my mum I suddenly feel a little burnt out. But I feel I have the best work/life ever so not quite sure I am allowed to be feeling this.I am up in the mountains right now trying to make sense of this and glad to find this post! Thankyou. All the best. Freya Joy

rare things said...

please do, sprinkled with sarah's magic. signing in.