Episode 275: Meet the Authors and Their Fab Floral Books: Louesa Roebuck’s Foraged Flora and Heather Saunders’ Flower House Detroit
December 14th, 2016
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We’re coming in on the close of this year — and what a year for Slow Flowers it has been. The final few episodes of 2016 are coming together and I know they will inspire, inform, and instigate — focusing on the creative process as each of us tries to set aside time to recharge body, mind and spirit.
Please meet two floral instigators, book creators whose new projects will introduce you to what’s possible when art and the artistic process are respected, honored and allowed to work magic.
My first guest is Louesa Roebuck, co-creator of a new book called Foraged Flora.
My second guest is Heather Saunders, the genius photographer who just released her new book Flower House Detroit.
You are in for a big treat to hear from these two innovators, artists who document floral installations in the printed form, with results that I find incredibly moving.
Listen carefully because we’re giving away one copy of Foraged Flora and one copy of Flower House Detroit — and you may be a lucky winner.
First, Louesa. I met Louesa in 2013 when Sunset magazine asked me to write a short piece on her tiny, eponymous flower shop in SF. You’ll hear us recall lunching together in Marin County for that interview — and since then, we’ve occasionally stayed in touch and definitely followed each other’s separate but parallel floral journeys. I just looked up the small Sunset article I wrote about Louesa- and this will make her smile when she hears this – I titled the piece “Foraged and Gleaned”
Foraging and gleaning are the subtext to Louesa’s newest project, the book we’ll discuss. Utterly unconventional in the best way, Louesa has charted a course in her professional life that is motivated by her season and nature-first ethos and the results are gathered in a gorgeous new book called Foraged Flora, released in late October. We’ve been trying to coordinate our schedules to record an interview and here it is, just in time to add Foraged Flora to holiday gift lists – for giving and receiving. As I mentioned, listen carefully for details on how you can win a copy of the book!
Foraged Flora’s subtitle is “A Year of Gathering and Arranging Wild Plants and Flowers.” Louesa teamed up with design editor and writer Sarah Lonsdale, co-founder of Remodelista, and Bay Area photographer Laurie Frankel to take flower arranging with local and foraged plants and flowers to a new level entirely.
Of course, this project struck a chord with me since when I created Slow Flowers in 2013, I set out to do something similarly inspired — to gather and design one bouquet per week for 52 weeks — to represent one year with elements clipped from my garden and procured from local flower farms.
You might say Foraged Flora is the sophisticated, literary and fine-art version of Slow Flowers. Louesa, Sarah and Laurie have taken this honest, simple idea way beyond what I could ever have achieved or envisioned. You will be blown away by the prose, poetry and personal expression of creativity in the pages of Foraged Flora.
Roadside fennel, flowering fruit trees, garden roses, tiny violets; ingredients both common and unusual; humble and showy, Foraged Flora introduces a new approach to flowers and arranging. It encourages you to train your eye to the beauty that surrounds you, attune your senses to the seasonality and locality of flowers and plants, and to embrace the beauty in each stage of life, from first bud to withering seedpod.
Both visually and through the written narrative, Louesa and her collaborators reflect on surprising and evocative pairings, the importance of scale, the scarcity or abundance of raw materials, and the environmental factors that contribute to availability of those materials. You’ll never look at the natural world the same way again.
Louesa Roebuck is an artist and floral designer who divides her time between the SF Bay Area and Los Angeles. She has created floral installations from foraged and gleaned materials for high-end clients like Vivienne Westwood, John Baldessari, and Alice Waters. In addition to her work with flora, Louesa has worked in fashion for many years. When not producing botanical commissions, she paints monotypes and works in textile design.
Follow Louesa Roebuck on Instagram
Check out the Southern California Hibiscus Society, a source that Louesa shared with me
Follow Sarah Lonsdale on Instagram
Follow photographer Laurie Frankel on Instagram
Next up, Heather Saunders. When I call her a book-maker, I say it with huge admiration. Heather and her muse, Lisa Waud, creator of The Flower House project, willed this book into being. It’s more than inspiring to realize that just one year ago we were all reeling from the emotions inspired by the amazing art exhibition that Lisa and many others installed in an elderly, abandoned house in Detroit.
Today those emotions are captured in a fine art quality book that Heather produced. As photographer, curator and author of Flower House Detroit, Heather did close to the impossible: She self-published a beautiful and evocative tribute in one year — with art direction, photo editing, pre-press production, pre-sale promotional efforts and all the related printing challenges to fabricate the physical book. Just released, Flower House Detroit is a singular project, one that symbolizes heart and art and what happens when those two forces are combined. As I mentioned, listen carefully for details on how you can win a copy of the book!
I am honored that Heather included a Q&A with me called “Locally Sourced,” a conversation sandwiched between Lisa’s lovely foreword and Heather’s own introduction to the book. She asked me to discuss the Slow Flowers Movement and to reflect on the changes in the floral industry that led to a big gap in the marketplace. The chasm between flower farming and floral design is one slowflowers.com aspires to fill — and I am so pleased that Heather turned over six pages of the Flower House Detroit book to allow me to share my world view.
Heather Saunders is a professional photographer based in Michigan.
As the Official Flower House photographer, Heather gained exclusive access to document the year-long preparation + exhibition.
For 19 years, Heather has been committed to photographing real, meaningful and powerful images, with a sense of humor and a genuine interest in the authentic spirit of faces, landscapes + objects and, of course, FLOWERS.
Her vibrant imagery has been described as thoughtful, cinematic + timeless; she aims to live her life in a sea of these same adjectives!
Her work has recently been highlighted in The Washington Post, Colossal, The Jealous Curator, My Modern Met, Frankie Magazine, Vogue Portugal, Flirty Fleurs Magazine, Huffington Post + CNN. A traveling exhibition of some of her work as well as speaking engagements on her experience documenting this life-changing project now fill her calendar. You may see more of her work on her web site and be sure to follow hash-tag #FLOWERHOUSEBOOK to join Heather on her adventures as a first-time author.
Follow Heather Saunders on Instagram
ORDER Heather Saunders’ Art Prints, including Prints from The Flower House
Buy Flower House Book here. Until December 31st, use promo code: SLOWFLOWERS10 for a special discount
To participate in the Slow Flowers Podcast book giveaway, please post a comment HERE. I’m asking you to share your earliest experience with nature, flowers or art.
Two winners will be drawn from all who comment. The drawing will take place on December 23rd and announced during Episode 277, our final show of 2016 on December 28th. A special thank you to Ten Speed Press/Penguin Random House for providing the copy of Foraged Flora and another special thank you to Kasey Cronquist of Certified American Grown Flowers for providing the copy of Flower House Detroit.
Join me at The Whidbey Island Flower Workshop
On April 23th, 24th and 25th, you’re invited to escape to Whidbey Island and take your creativity far beyond the vase. Tobey Nelson Events & Design will host a floral and event design styling workshop and retreat with several great speakers, including me. For those of you who like to plan ahead, Tobey and I thought it would be smart to share a few details before year’s end.
Investment & Registration
Registration will open December 17. We are offering an early registration discount of $200 until January 17, when the price will increase to $1900. This will be a fairly intimate group with limited seats so you are encouraged to reserve yours soon! A $750 deposit is required to hold your place.
You may choose to pay in full at the time of registration, or to make installments. Contact Tobey to make arrangements. All tickets are non-refundable, but they are transferable. You must be paid in full by March 15th in order to attend. Register early to save – and to get that continuing education write-off!!
Included in the cost:
- Admission to the workshop (see the itinerary below)
- Dessert and drinks for the welcome session
- Snacks & lunches on Monday and Tuesday
- Farewell feast on Tuesday night
- Transportation to and from Langley lodging to the winery before and after class each day
Not Included (but we are more than happy to help you arrange this):
- Lodging (we have room blocks reserved at local Inns for your best rates)
- Transportation to Whidbey
- Transportation to your lodging outside of class times
Thanks for staying with us on this extended episode. I’m pretty jazzed to share this episode and its ideas with you – Our theme today is obvious: it’s about the transformative power of creativity, nature, art and community.
NEXT Week is our 2nd annual Holiday Special and I’m delighted to welcome Ellen Zachos, her story, her music and her foraged cocktail recipe with you on December 21st.
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 138,000 times by listeners like you. THANK YOU to each one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.
If you value the content you receive each week, I invite you to show your thanks and support the Slow Flowers Podcast with a donation — the button can be found on our home page in the right column. Your contributions will help make it possible to transcribe future episodes of the Podcast.
Thank you to our lead sponsor for 2016: Certified American Grown Flowers. The Certified American-Grown program and label provide a guarantee for designers and consumers on the source of their flowers. Take pride in your flowers and buy with confidence, ask for Certified American Grown Flowers. To learn more visit americangrownflowers.org.
More sponsor thanks goes to Syndicate Sales, an American manufacturer of vases and accessories for the professional florist. Look for the American Flag Icon to find Syndicate’s USA-made products and join the Syndicate Stars loyalty program at syndicatesales.com.
A big bouquet of thanks goes to Longfield Gardens… providing home gardeners with high quality flower bulbs and perennials. Their online store offers plants for every region and every season, from tulips and daffodils to dahlias, caladiums and amaryllis. Visit them at lfgardens.com.
A fond thank you Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of 50 family farms in the heart of Alaska providing high quality, American Grown peony flowers during the months of July and August. Visit them today at arcticalaskapeonies.com
And finally, thank you Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers. Formed in 1988, ASCFG was created to educate, unite, and support commercial cut flower growers. It mission is to help growers produce high-quality floral material, and to foster and promote the local availability of that product. Learn more at ascfg.org
I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more American grown flowers on the table, one vase at a time. And If you like what you hear, please consider logging onto Itunes and posting a listener review.
The content and opinions expressed here are either mine alone or those of my guests alone, independent of any podcast sponsor or other person, company or organization.
The Slow Flowers Podcast is engineered and edited by Andrew and Hannah Brenlan. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.
December 14th, 2016 at 11:32 am
I grew up in the english country side in a 300 year old stone cottage surrounded by fields. My earliest memory of flowers is gathering roses from the wild climbing vine that covered the front of the house, and spending hours with my older sister squishing petals from the beautiful blooms into jam jars of water to create what we certainly felt were glamourous perfumes and concoctions. Looking back I am aghast at how I could have done this rather than enjoy the flowers on the stem, but then, when you are a toddler I guess you admire nature and beauty in your own visceral physical way! What a wonderful post and giveaway, can’t wait to hear the episodes on my next flower market trip!
Jess at Periwinkle Flowers
December 14th, 2016 at 5:40 pm
Hard to say when my first memory of flowers was, as they were always around. My sisters and I grew up out in the country and played in the vegetable garden my mother planted. She always planted 3-sisters teepees for each of us and we planted and planted, Before I went to school I knew which end of a bulb goes up and that when school began we would take a mammoth sunflower to our teacher.
December 15th, 2016 at 11:34 am
My mother and father are both gardeners so plants and flowers are a part of my memories from the very beginning. I think one of the earliest that really stands out though was when mom caught a friend and I “cooking” treats (all play of course) from the Sumac berries and feeding them to my little brother. To say she flew into a panic is an understatement. No little brothers were harmed, at least not this time…
December 16th, 2016 at 12:51 pm
My earliest memory with flowers is with my mother. I was born in New Zealand and my mother is from Western Samoa. We are Polynesian women and flowers are a large part of our celebrations. Growing up, we moved around quite a bit as my father worked as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. While we were abroad, my mom would often host cultural events that included traditional dances and showcases of island textiles and outfits. I remember one day going into the yard with her to collect frangipanis that we used to make leis and crowns for women to wear while performing Samoan dances. I would help her gather them while also delighting in their aromas and sticking them behind my ears, replacing them as they fell out along the way. To this day the scent of frangipani reminds me of sweet memories with my mother.
December 18th, 2016 at 6:00 pm
I’ve loved flowers as long as I can remember. My grandmother had peonies surrounding her house and to this day, they’re my favorite flower!!
December 18th, 2016 at 7:45 pm
I have a memory of when my family briefly lived in Wyoming, so I was less than 2 years old. I remember sitting on a blanket watching my older siblings play on the lawn. Right behind me, growing against a sheltered side of the house, was a bed of pink and purple sweet peas. I remember the color and the scent more than anything. This is probably my earliest memory of all and it’s fitting it also involves flowers!
December 18th, 2016 at 8:55 pm
I can remember going out to my grandmother’s farm, as a young child and her being outside with her wide floppy hat on, sitting on a small stool working in her garden. My mother followed in the same tradition loving roses and flowers. She still enjoys picking bouquets to share with other. These memories link one generation to the next. I’m grateful for that legacy.
December 21st, 2016 at 10:54 am
In all my memories, the sun was shining and I was a happy, carefree child, who loved to wander through my mothers garden. I remember as a little girl pinching snapdragons open to reveal their “mouths”, repeating the motion over and over again, making a flower talk to me. Also I remember running my hands over the furry Mexican salvia flowers that lined a planted burm, stroking the ends that were so smooth between my fingers.
December 30th, 2016 at 5:57 pm
February 4th, 2017 at 8:32 pm
[…] Listen to my interview with Heather Saunders here. […]
February 28th, 2018 at 9:56 am
[…] as the visual artist who captured Flower House in 2015. I can’t wait to reunite with her! Listen to my podcast interview with Heather on the publication of Flower House, the […]