During my time in the Sonoma County Region of California, I met up with Betany of Chloris Floral. We had met earlier that year on an online photography course and it became apparent that we had to meet while I was travelling.
And so we did.
We instantly bonded over our love of flowers and travel at The Shed in Healdsburg over some food. We decided prior to my arrival to do a collaborative photo shoot, and Betany so very kindly organised a trip to Front Porch Farm. Since Betany knew the farmers there, we were treated to something I had never done before, but had always wanted to do - pick our own flowers to make our own bouquets. What a treat!
Betany writes a well-written, unique blog about "Musically Inspired Bouquets", as she is not only an amazingly talented florist, but also a wonderful opera singer who trained at the famous Juilliard School of Music. Follow her on Instagram, where she sings in her Instagram Stories which is SO SOOTHING AND CALMING. I love it!
We both made bouquets - I made one just for fun, but Betany decided to stay true to her art-form and made a bouquet while listening to "Dawn" by Dario Marianelli from the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie soundtrack.
Betany recently visited England and stayed with me. We did another photo shoot where it was my turn to do a Musically Inspired Bouquet. You can read about this on her blog here. The music I chose was Always With me (いつも何度でも (Always With Me)) - by Youmi Kimura from my all time favourite movie Spirited Away (千と千尋の神隠し). You can find the video here.
Interview with Betany of Chloris Floral
How did you get into floristry? What did you do before you became a florist?
Most of my life and passion have been centred around music. I studied vocal performance at The Juilliard School and I have been singing opera professionally for several years. Flowers only recently came into my life and it all started by volunteering on a flower farm. I was so entranced with locally grown blooms that I bought into the flower farm business and co-owned a flower farm for a year and a half. Ultimately, I wanted to focus on floral design, so I left the farm and began my own business, Chloris Floral, where I exclusively support local flower farms. I’m also still singing professionally, so combining these two disciplines in my musically inspired bouquets is so lovely for me.
Are you self taught or did you study it?
I've had many of my flower friends teach and guide me along the way. I love the inspiration of Instagram and that medium of sharing beauty. I'm inspired by many and I've studied formally with the ladies of Studio Choo and The Blue Carrot.
How long have you been doing this for?
I started volunteering at the flower farm in June of 2013. I began Chloris Floral in January of 2015, and I’m now in my 2nd year of my business. So, that means I started as a novice in flowers 3 years ago.
What is your favourite thing about being a florist?
I love visiting the flower farms and communing with the blooms in the fields. It’s very much so a spiritual experience for me. I believe this comes from me starting off as a flower farmer. I also adore the people in this industry. I believe that other flower lovers are innately attracted to beauty and creativity and we find each other. I find this also to be true about musicians.
What are your favourite colour palettes?
I’m attracted to the softer palettes, pale yellows, blues, whites and greens, but ultimately, I work with what is singing to me out in the fields.
Your favourite flowers or foliage?
I love the flowers that contain many small flowers within itself such as fever few, yarrow, orlaya, and saponaria. I find them to be so romantic and sweet. I also love Queen Anne's Lace and white cosmos. My favourite foliage is rose geranium. Ahhhh, the smell is divine!
Do you have a favourite type of floral arrangement that is your favourite to make and why?
Part of my business is my weekly flower CSAs or subscriptions. I use whatever I wish, in terms of container and flowers. My favourite to go out into the field, find what is the most beautiful that week and allow to flowers to dictate everything.
Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?
Most definitely music. My blog is based on sharing musically inspired bouquets and I was recently featured in the SF Chronicle for these. I'm inspired by everything from Mozart to Van Halen. The inspiration is truly endless.
What is your favourite season?
Up to this point, I would say autumn, but I'm finding that I'm getting more and more excited about spring! Ranunculus and tulips are so so romantic.
If you weren't a florist what else would you be?
Well, I'm also an professional opera singer, but if I wasn't that, I would be an actress.
What makes you unique?
I believe that I'm the only professional opera singing florist out there and doing the musically inspired bouquets is unique. I use the Language of Flowers to help tell the story of the music and it's been such a great way to combine my two passions.
Any advice for up and coming florists/floral designers, or people wanting to quit their job and immerse themselves into the creative industry?
Practice, practice, practice. Work a little in the flower fields to gain knowledge of how flowers are grown and you’ll make relationships with farmers along the way. Find what speaks to your heart and inspiration. Find inspiration in others work without feeling inadequate. They didn’t start out masters of their art. Reach out to people in the industry to learn and don’t waste your time with energy suckers, gossips and unkind people. Find the lovely people out there who lift you up and be one of those in return.
Remember to check out her website, blog and Instagram! :)
All photos taken by me