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In the past few weeks I’ve shared with you a few interviews from floral designers involved with The Flower House in Detroit, the magical, celebrated, 3-day floral-art installation that was the brainchild of my friend Lisa Waud.
Today, we continue this miniseries with more conversations recorded with designers and flower farmers who came together just a month ago for this visionary project.
Please meet a trio of designers from three different states who came together to create the “living room” of The Flower House, the impactful first room that thousands of visitors were able to experience upon entering through the front door.
And you will hear from a floral designer-flower farmer duo about how their relationship has flourished this past season, culminating in the bountiful downstairs kitchen of The Flower House.
First off, please step into “The Living Room,” designed by Jody Costello of J. Costello Designs, Lia Colapietro of Lia Colapietro Floral Design and Kelli Galloway of Hops Petunia.
Based in Royal Oaks, Michigan, outside Detroit, Jody Costello shares this statement on The Flower House web site:
detroit is my city. my parents were born and raised here, i was born and raised here. my great grandmother had a flower shop for decades in detroit. it’s been hard to witness detroit crumble. over the last few years, there’s been a change, an energy that gives us all hope that our hometown is making a comeback.
flower house to me is about recognizing detroit’s history and creating an ephemeral honor with flowers. and, i just can’t pass up the opportunity to work with such an inspiring group of very talented, supportive designers. for my space in flower house, i want the flowers to feel as if they just started growing; taking over.
when i was 18, i lived in west virginia and i used to hike along the new river which once was filled with mining towns. they’ve all since disappeared but i loved the way nature began its takeover of the abandoned buildings. wildflowers and fern grew through the cracks of foundations and moss carpeted the roof.
i love finding just the perfect thing to put into an arrangement; gorgeous fruit from the local market, hunting down some sweet little blossom in my yard or finding a lilac bush blooming by the roadside. it’s all in the discovery and details for me.
Lia Colapietro is based in Perrysburg, Ohio, not too far from Toledo.
Here’s her statement:
what inspired me to get involved with flower house? to be honest, i just love what’s going on in detroit these days. flower house is a perfect opportunity to get involved, stretch my creativity, and work alongside gobs of talented, like minded folk.
as a hint of what i’m designing for my part, i would love play with a look that is overgrown, dreamy, and a little magical…
hands down, my favorite floral task is tromping around outside and hunting for the perfect hunk of moss, lichen-y branch, or snipping the most perfect bloom in the garden.
adding a foraged or home grown element to a project always makes a piece feel extra special. sharing that really makes my day.
Kelli Galloway of Hops Petunia Floral is based in Kingston, New York, about 1-1/2 hours north of New York City. Here are her observations:
i don’t exactly remember how i found out about the flower house project but i do remember the second i read of it i knew i needed to be a part of it. i grew up near detroit and went to college there, i spent a lot of my younger years running around that city, it holds a special place in my memories.
after i left, i was always drawn to it, i have such immense pride for it, it’s the hardest working city i know. watching it grow and change over the years and finally get the recognition it deserves, makes my heart so warm. that being said, i’ve been trying to figure out a way i could be a part of it again, both to give back and create something beautiful there. This project is the most perfect way for me to do so. i’m so honored to be a part of it.
my style is very layered and organic, like the way some of houses in detroit have become, i want to build into the house, as it would want me to, to add more layers and more shape, i plan on creating a floral room that engulfs you and hugs you, from the walls to your heart.
what do i love most as a florist? color, and the way nature can shake you when you least expect it. i love finding those special gems in a bunch of roses or anemones that is just perfectly different, the petals have fallen just so or the color isn’t quite the same, i love building drama with color, makes me giddy
I recorded my interview with Lia, Kelli and Jody on October 15th, the final installation day at The Flower House. Please enjoy this short clip!
Here’s how you can follow each of the creatives you meet here today:
Follow Jody Costello on Facebook
Follow Jody Costello on Instagram
Follow Lia Colapietro on Instagram
Follow Kelli Galloway/Hops Petunia on Facebook
Follow Kelli on Instagram
Follow Kelli on Pinterest
I captured this second interview on the same day with Susan McLeary of Passionflower Design and flower farmer Amanda Maurmann of Cornman Farms.
Amanda’s Michigan-grown flowers and produce were featured in “Fruits of Labor,” the downstairs kitchen designed by Susan, Francoise Weeks and several other talented designers. Hear my recent podcast interview with Susan and Francoise here.
This interview introduces Amanda’s story and reinforces the interdependence between floral designers and flower farmers. Susan and Amanda discuss this during our conversation.
I found it especially fun because we were all seated on the ground as Sue and Amanda stripped foliage to prep stems for the beautiful Michigan-grown floral centerpieces that would decorate the Field to Vase Dinner tables that evening.
Susan and Jody both mentioned their excitement about a new dahlia farmer named Michael Genovese of Summer Dreams Flower Farm in Oxford, Michigan.
Like Amanda of Cornman Farms, Michael and his beautiful Michigan blooms adorned The Flower House and the Field to Vase Dinner that amazing evening.
I want to give a special shout-out to Michael, who jumped in and helped the F2V staff and volunteers far beyond the call of duty. He lent muscle and equipment to prepare the yard where the giant dinner tent was erected – and boy do I have a ton of respect for this young man.
I hope to return to Michigan next growing season to visit Cornman Farm and Summer Dreams and share more about these flower farms with you. You can follow Michael and Summer Dreams here.
Episodes of the Slow Flowers Podcast have been downloaded more than 71,000 times. I thank you and others in the progressive American-grown floral community for supporting this endeavor.
Until 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. THANK YOU to each and every one of you for downloading, listening, commenting and sharing. It means so much.
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 Wheatley and Hannah Holtgeerts. Learn more about their work at shellandtree.com.