Posted: October 28, 2014 by: Amber Hourigan
Los Angeles based florists Holly Vesecky and Rebecca Uchtman of Hollyflora, a forward thinking floral studio serving Los Angeles and beyond have recently opened their new space, a twenties bow truss building in Mid City. Producing some of the most beautiful arrangements we have ever seen, including the floral crowns for Edition One, this duo is our go to for unique floral arrangements.
We sit down with Holly to find out what inspires their thoughtful designs, her favourite flowers and how we too can create a beautiful arrangement at home.
Can you tell us what motivated you to start Hollyflora?
I had trained for 15 years under other florists and was at a point in my life where I was getting offers to collaborate with artists to make elaborate floral art. It just sort of spun out of control from there. In 2006 there was a glut in floral creativity, we were coming to the end of the highly sculpted movement and entering a new phase of wild, organic, local driven work. It was an open field then and highly inspiring. Once established, the work became overwhelming and I conned my dear friend Rebecca Uchtman into partnering with me in 2008, she is the true backbone and inspiration of the operation.
Have you always had an interest in botany and/or floral design?
Yes, my grandmother travelled through Asia throughout her life and taught me the ikebana techniques she picked up. My mother is a deep ecologist, avid gardener and agricultural activist, I inherited the gene and had little choice but to fall in love with the natural world. I had intended to train as a botanist but my skills led me to the creative side, I started working at a local shop in Palo Alto California at 15 and never stopped.
Being based in California, you have access to such interesting and varied flora and fauna, what is your favorite flower to work with?
We have the most beautiful product locally, Santa Barbara dahlias, San Diego ranunculus, and abundant garden roses from all over. There’s a grower in Santa Cruz of tuberous Begonias that break my heart every time, they are difficult to use but worth the effort. The only southern Californian caveat is that there is a limited ability to forage. I see florists foraging thru the northwest, the south, and northeast and picking up ramps, wild clematis, bittersweet and blueberries. The drought and the natural conditions here leave you begging for more to play with which is good place to be, always wanting more.
Your arrangements are so unique, do you have the design in mind when choosing which flowers to work with, or do you let nature inspire you?
We work it both ways. Sometimes I will do a sketch, other times the flower market dictates the outcome. We’ll see a linen, pattern, or ceramic and just feel what organic element would compliment the object, its important to be entirely open.
You have recently opened your first retail space, is this something you have always envisaged?
We have always wanted to be able to showcase our work in a tactile way, the Market place is a vehicle to have broader vision. It’s a place to play and imagine, research and develop. We wanted to give the people stuck in traffic something to ease their commute, something wild from the natural world to soften the grind.
Can you tell us about the space?
The building is a twenties bow truss construction with a courtyard in the back. We have made three clear sections, retail and display in the front of the building, production, office, and cooler in the centre and storage in the back with the courtyard outside. We chose the Mid City location for the building but also the inspiring up and coming neighbourhood. It was essential to have an outdoor space so that we can attempt to propagate those varietals that are currently not available.
What are your top tips to creating a beautiful arrangement?
We recommend picking up a few specimen flowers at the florist, or farmers market and augmenting from the garden. Choosing a vessel with a mouth that compliments the shape you envision is important. Giving yourself plenty of time and patience will also help, so many of our best pieces are the third attempt.