Debra Prinzing

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Episode 511: The Creative Journey, Finding Your Artistic Voice, Truth and Expression with floral artist and educator, Sue McLeary

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021
Susan McLeary (c) e.e. berger

In March 2017, I wrote a 10-page profile of Susan Mcleary for Florists’ Review magazine’s “Creativity” issue. It’s this article that inspired me to invite Sue to be our Keynote speaker at the upcoming Slow Flowers Summit, taking place next week on June 28-30th in the San Francisco Bay Area at the amazing venue, Filoli Historic House & Garden. Sue’s personal story of seeking, claiming and boldly nurturing her creative process and practice as an artist will inspire and embolden everyone who hears her at the Summit.

Susan McLeary
Susan McLeary — such an artist and inspiration!

Susan is a floral designer, artist and instructor who creates unusual, boundary-pushing floral art including elaborate floral wearables, large-scale installations, and her signature succulent jewelry. Her soulful, seasonally-inspired creations have been described as exquisite living artwork. A passionate teacher, Susan offers private design instruction for new and professional florists in her studio, on her online class platform, and through destination workshops.

Susan McLeary
Floral artist Susan Mcleary is a design influencer who advocates for foam-free practices in her large-scale botanical installations (c) Amanda Dumouchelle

Susan’s work has been featured on the cover of Fusion Flowers Magazine twice, and in leading industry publications and websites including Martha Stewart Weddings, Florist’s Review, My Modern Met, Refinery 29, SELF, Buzzfeed, Belle Armoire, Cosmopolitan, Ebony, and Grace Ormond Wedding Style. Susan is a member of Slow Flowers Society and Chapel Designers. Her first book, The Art of Wearable Flowers was released March 3, 2020. 

A few weeks ago, in anticipation of Sue’s keynote presentation The Creative Journey, she and I met up over Zoom to record this special episode. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. As I mention in the interview, Sue has appeared as a co-guest on two past episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast, but that was many years ago.

Learn More Here:
Susan McLeary on the Slow Flowers Podcast:
Episode 217 (October 2015)
Episode 220 (November 2015)

Read my 2017 article, A Curious Creative (pdf)

Here are the many ways to study with Sue McLeary:
Online Courses (a la carte)
The Essentials Toolkit (bundle)
The Virtual Studio (membership-based), includes Live Sessions and new courses. Total of 60 courses in the library to date

Susan McLeary (c) e.e. berger

As Sue mentioned, she launched a new course yesterday, June 22nd, called The Floral Mentor: A transformative floral learning opportunity.

Transform the 3 Key Areas of Your Floral Business in the Next 30 Days: 

  • The Heart – Cultivate your unique creative voice, overcome limiting beliefs, and cultivate a more purpose-driven floral business.
  • The Art – Unlock the magic of the principles of design to create more advanced, artful and balanced work every time.
  • The Business – Learn practical business, branding, and marketing skills to grow a more profitable and life-giving floral business.

The Floral Mentor opened on June 22nd and is available for signup through June 30th. In this course, Sue and her cohort of friends and colleagues help you master the art, the heart, and the business of floral design. It’s all about aligning your core values with your business, Sue explains. She writes: “Pull up a virtual chair in my personal studio to learn from me and some of my key mentors!” Sue introduces students her wonderful mentors who teach valuable lessons Sue has learned from each of them. Together, Sue and her mentors will help you create the art you’re truly capable of, build a fulfilling business you love, and join hands to move the floral industry forward together. I can get behind those aspirations! Maybe this course has your name on it, too. check it out!

American Flowers Week 2021

Next week is also our 7th annual American Flowers Week, June 28th through July 4th. Please help us celebrate! You can find all the free social media badges, logos, branding and other resources like a coloring map of all 50 USA-state flowers at! Show your floral patriotism and post photos of your red, white and blue, or any other color of your seasonal and local floral harvest! Be sure to use the hashtag #americanflowersweek when you post! I’ll be doing just the same, friends.

Thank you to our Sponsors

This podcast is brought to you by, the free, online directory to more than 880 florists, shops, and studios who design with local, seasonal and sustainable flowers and to the farms that grow those blooms.  It’s the conscious choice for buying and sending flowers.

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And thank you to our lead sponsor for 2021, Farmgirl Flowers. Farmgirl Flowers delivers iconic burlap-wrapped bouquets and lush, abundant arrangements to customers across the U.S., supporting more than 20 U.S. flower farms by purchasing more than $9 million dollars of U.S.-grown fresh and seasonal flowers and foliage annually, and providing competitive salaries and benefits to team members based in Watsonville, California and Miami, Florida. Discover more at

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For each Podcast episode this year, we thank three of our Major Sponsors.

Longfield Gardens, which provides 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. Check out the full catalog at Longfield Gardens at

Red Twig Farms. Based in Johnstown, Ohio, Red Twig Farms is a family-owned farm that specializes in peonies, daffodils, tulips and branches, a popular peony-bouquet-by-mail program and their Spread the Hope Campaign where customers purchase 10 tulip stems for essential workers and others in their community. Learn more at

Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, a farmer-owned cooperative committed to providing the very best the Pacific Northwest has to offer in cut flowers, foliage and plants. The Growers Market’s mission is to foster a vibrant marketplace that sustains local flower farms and provides top-quality products and service to the local floral industry. Visit them at

Slow Flowers Podcast Logo with flowers, recorder and mic

Thanks so much for joining us today! The Slow Flowers Podcast has been downloaded more than 738,000 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 our domestic cut flower industry, the momentum is contagious. I know you feel it, too.

I value your support and invite you to show your thanks to support Slow Flowers’ ongoing advocacy, education and outreach activities. You can find the donate button in the column to the right at

Debra Prinzing
(c) Mary Grace Long photography

I’m Debra Prinzing, host and producer of the Slow Flowers Podcast. Next week, you’re invited to join me in putting more Slow 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 Brenlan. Learn more about his work at

Music Credits:

DelamineSkyway; Turning On the Lights; Gaena
by Blue Dot Sessions

by Tryad

In The Field