Hello everyone, I hope you had a great weekend. Today I am very excited to be welcoming Laurie on my blog. I met her and her lovely blog virtually last June as she participated in the peonies edition of the #2flowergirls project with Glomerylane. I instantly fell in love with her styling and photos, and asked her to present her fairly young blog Studio Abloom to you today and how she plans to develop it . I completely agree with Laurie when she says that "floral arrangements are really just like little gardens", but I don't want to spoil everything, so here goes to the interview. I wish you a great week full of flowers! Elodie
Hello everyone, I’m Laurie Wheeler, a photographer, stylist and designer with a love for flowers and gardens. My blog, Studio Abloom, is where I cast the seeds of my work out into the world. It’s kind of a young blog, but I see it as a place where I write about florals and gardens from the perspective of our senses and emotions as well as style, design and historical details. I also like to feature the use of floral and garden references in art, design, fashion and other parts of our everyday lives. And I include the process of restoring the garden that surrounds my late 18th century home and feature my own floral designs using my own garden-grown, local and foraged materials.
Visual images play a big part in my work, so my photography is a major feature of the blog. I’m a true romantic and so there is an ethereal and poetic feel to my photos and musings. I’m excited to be working with video as well and look forward to adding that to the blog soon. Eventually, I’d like to travel afar with my cameras to do garden and floral “interviews” for my readers. If they can’t be in a garden or have a floral arrangement sitting near them, then perhaps a beautiful photo or video would be the next best thing.
Gardens, to me, directly connect us with the natural world. Floral arrangements are really just like little gardens – only more immediate and portable. And floral and garden motifs are increasingly found in the design world. There are deep restorative powers in gardens and flowers. The senses come alive and their beauty touches us deeply. All can become right when in a garden or amongst flowers. I think we have a built-in desire to take care of what we love. So perhaps, in some little way, my work will instill a love that will ultimately help the planet. You just never know!
I look forward to seeing what Studio Abloom grows into and sharing it with you all as it blooms.
“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment.” Georgia O’Keefe
Where does your passion for flowers come from?
It may have started early on with the lilac bush that grew outside my bedroom window as a child, or the side of the garage at my childhood home that was lined with rows of lily of the valley. Or maybe the small bouquets of garden roses my mother would sometimes put on my bedside table.
But I think it really took root when I left the corporate world after a period of intense work and travel as a visual merchandiser and stylist for a major women’s clothing retailer. I was really burned out. Soon thereafter, I was hired on by a world-renowned botanical garden as a consultant and buyer to re-style and re-merchandise their gift shop. As a side benefit, I was able to take classes there and worked my way towards a certificate in Ornamental Horticulture. I also took classes in garden and floral design. When I wasn’t in the shop I was out in the gardens. It was a very healing time for me. I travelled to France for vacation around that time and had a brief stay in Paris. I didn’t want to see museums or really anything other than flower shops! It was that particular time that I looked back on recently when I needed to heal from a very tough personal life situation and I remembered how much I loved working with flowers and being in the garden. So I’m finding my way back to that now. As a designer and a lover of nature, garden and floral design really speak to me as it combines the two beautifully. It also has the sustainability that I find so essential now. I can do it in my back yard and on my kitchen table. I love the ephemeral quality, though it can make me a bit melancholy when the flowers come and go so quickly. My photographs help me get over that. I love the way flowers make me feel. They really are very powerful.
What inspires you?
I’m inspired by my surroundings – home and garden. It’s really hard to separate the two. I have a very deep connection to both. I live in rural Maine, so it’s definitely a bit wilder than what I’ve been used to. I can see that becoming incorporated in my work. It’s a very different gardening experience than what I’ve been used to. I spend a lot of time whacking back the wildness. But I ultimately want to work with it instead of fight against it. There is so much here that I want to work with.
I’m always using my eyes, if not all of my senses. I see in detail more often than broad views, so I can be inspired by anything at anytime. Fashion, movies, history, art, music, shops – they all play their part. I’m always prepared to receive inspiration no matter where I am or what I’m doing. It can often be in the most unlikely places! Because I’m living somewhat remotely, I rely a lot on the internet to stay connected. It used to be books and magazines that I devoured. Now it’s websites. I use Pinterest almost daily as a warm-up exercise to my creative work. Though I do still love and devour books and magazines!
What is your favorite flower?
As a photographer, designer and stylist, typically I fall in love with the specific flower I’m working with. As a gardener, it’s the one that’s currently in bloom. Oh, but okay, if I really must choose just one, it would have to be a heavily scented garden rose. The right rose can definitely make me weep. I am not exaggerating this.
Which other flower blogs are you reading regularly?
I’m enthralled with all the work so many are doing with flowers right now. Though I’m not yet in the business of designing for weddings, I do love seeing all the flower combinations on wedding blogs and they are usually photographed so beautifully. And flowers have been popping up on just about every other kind of blog recently too! On trend!
One of my favorite go-to flower blogs is Worlds End Farm. Sarah (of Saipua) and Eric live in a similar environment as mine and I love seeing what Sarah is doing with the materials that surround her. It also makes me think about doing some flower farming. I have to give a shout out to Chelsea Fuss of Frolic. She was my most recent floral design teacher and her work as a commercial floral and prop stylist is very inspiring to me.
I’m learning so much from so many and they have no idea how much inspiration they give me to go down this road. I’m really grateful to them all. And to you, Elodie! Thank you so much for this opportunity to share Studio Abloom with your readers!
In no specific order, here are a few others... (and oh, there are so much more!)
And my favorite gardener and garden writer/spokesperson Monty Don
You can find Studio Abloom on the web here:
(c) All photography by Studio Abloom