It’s that time again, the annual Slow Flowers Holiday Music Special!
Today’s guest is Carolyn Kulb of Folk Art Flowers, based in Seattle. Carolyn and I met in the fall of 2018 and I’ve enjoyed watching how she fully participates in the benefits available to Slow Flowers members — from submitting designs to our monthly Slow Flowers Design Idea galleries on Houzz.com to showing up and volunteering for projects like an installation at the Seattle Wholesale Growers Market to celebrate American Flowers Week.
Last April, while chatting with Carolyn at the Whidbey Flower Workshop, I learned that she is not only an aspiring farmer-florist but also a musician. She plays and teaches violin and is a member of a HONK band called “Neon Brass Party,” here in Seattle.
I often try and feature a musical guest during the holiday season, so when I learned about Carolyn’s other artistic outlet, I asked if she would join me and share some of her talents for this episode.
You’ll hear portions of a violin piece that Carolyn played for me in person. Here is a link to listen to her digital music compositions.
But mostly, today we talk flowers — including the trials and challenges facing a startup farmer-florist.
I hope you’ll enjoy the conversation. Carolyn says she started Folk Art after a long journey doing work that did not match her strengths. She continues:
“Early on I worked with the Peace Corps, which was incredible mostly because I got to work with farmers all day. I kept climbing the ladder, including jobs that let me travel, but I was miserable behind a desk. What I did love about my career was working with other farmers in the field and connecting with people and nature, so I decided to start doing more of that.
“After moving to Seattle, I joined the Sustainable Farming Education Program at Tilth Alliance, which is an incubation program for beginner farmers. I joined a farm to experience a full season in action, and started growing flowers in my backyard. I also did a lot of arranging and experimentation to improve my craft, and designed full-service flowers for several weddings. (I also joined two bands, which is another story!) After this wonderful incubation period of creativity and learning, I finally decided to start Folk Art Flowers. I am so excited and grateful to be able to share some of my joy with you by bringing you beautiful, local, and sustainably produced flowers.”
As a design studio, Folk Art Flowers offers a flower subscription service, individual arrangements, wedding and event flowers, and more. Carolyn sources flowers locally through family farms in the Pacific Northwest, farms that employ sustainable growing practices. In the winter months, she occasionally sources botanical ingredients from California, saying: “I believe in American-grown flowers and will never use flowers that are flown in from another country.”
As you’ll hear from Carolyn, in 2019 with new leased land, she began to realize her dream to grow all of her own florals. Her commitment to sustainability includes everything from growing flowers using organic practices to recycling vases. It also includes a philosophy of building soil health naturally, avoiding the use of pesticides through integrated pest management, using only organic fertilizers, providing habitat for wildlife and bees, and rotating crops.
Find and follow Folk Art Flowers at these social places.
Thank you so much for joining my conversation with Carolyn! I love hearing her story and I know that 2020 will be a big, bountiful year as she develops her new farmland. This is the message that appears on Folk Art Flowers’ web site: “We are a member of the Slow Flowers community, and our flowers are local, meaning that you are supporting local farmers in your community in addition to supporting a small, woman-owned business. Since we use farm flowers, you’ll get to see the seasons change based on what we select for you. And we might be biased, but we think we create the most beautiful arrangements out there.” — I couldn’t love this sentiment more!
Fifty States of Slow Flowers continues today with a stop in West Virginia. You’ll hear from Tamara Hough of Morning Glory Flowers, our West Virginia guest in the 2019 Fifty States of Slow Flowers series. A few months ago, we commissioned Tamara, a flower farmer, botanical artist and new Slow Flowers member to design our American Flowers Week branding for 2020! I’m so excited for you to learn more about Tamara and the special role she is playing as our guest artist.
You can see Tamara’s playful and charming floral ladies, faces and fashions that she posts on her Instagram feed . This artwork captured my imagination as a perfect way to represent the spirit of American Flowers Week! I asked Tamara to create an original illustration with three botanically-styled women to represent the best of Slow Flowers and American Flowers Week. She designed a trio of gals in beautiful floral headpieces, with bits and pieces from the garden used to create all the facial features — and their fashionable looks!
Check out our American Flowers Week 2020 branding artwork — and download your own badges and graphics here (thanks to Jenny Diaz for the beautiful typography!). Click here to find Tamara’s Etsy shop where you can order prints and cards.
The Early Bird promotion for the Slow Flowers Summit continues through the end of this month and I’m so encouraged by the incredible response we’ve had — passionate and progressive floral folks from nine states from East to West and one Canadian Province have already registered! We encourage you to take advantage $100 off the Member or General registration for the 2020 Slow Flowers Summit and purchase your ticket to the Slow Flowers Summit by December 31st.
If you’ve not yet checked out details, you can find links to all the exciting news about our partnership with Filoli Historic House and Garden, our venue for days 1 and 2 of the Summit (that’s June 28 &29) and our fabulous speaker lineup. By the way, Day 3 is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes tour led by our friend Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers. This is rare access, folks, available only to Summit attendees. As I said, check out those details in today’s show notes.
The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 558,000 times by listeners like you. Thank you for listening, commenting and sharing – it means so much.
As our movement gains more supporters and more passionate participants who believe in the importance of the American cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too. I value your support and invite you to show your thanks and with a donation to support my ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right.
Thank you to our Sponsors
Florists’ Review magazine. I’m delighted to serve as Contributing Editor for Slow Flowers Journal, found in the pages of Florists’ Review. Our partnerships with Florists’ Review is such a valuable one, providing a forum for beautiful and inspiring editorial content in the #slowflowersjournal section – month after month.
Thanks to Florists’ Review, you can now order a subscription for yourself + give one as a gift this holiday season.
Set your 2020 intention to enrich your personal and professional development!
Click here for the Buy-One-Gift-One special offer for members of the Slow Flowers Community.
FarmersWeb. FarmersWeb software makes it simple for flower farms to streamline working with their buyers. By lessening the administrative load and increasing efficiency, FarmersWeb helps your farm save time, reduce errors, and work with more buyers overall. Learn more at www.farmersweb.com.
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.
Arctic Alaska Peonies, a cooperative of family farms in the heart of Alaska working together to grow and distribute fresh, stunning, high-quality peony varieties during the months of July and August – and even September. Thank you to the many farmers and growers who have been part of this operation to supply peonies throughout the United States and Canada.
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.
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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at soundbodymovement.com.
Glass Beads; Betty Dear; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions
Lovely by Tryad
In The Field; Acoustic Shuffle
Music from: audionautix.com