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Honest Magazine, Flora Issue

Spring 2017

Interview With A Florist

 

Interviewed by Shannon Douglas

Interviewed by Shannon Douglas

 

Interview with a Florist

Meet Renée Beaudoin. Along with her lovely French name comes a lovely main of falling blonde locks and a smile a mile-wide.
 
Q
How would you describe your profession?

A

Storytelling through flowers.

 

 

Q

Your aesthetic?

A
Wild. Let the flowers be my guide.

 

 

Q
Where do you draw inspiration from?

A

Inspiration comes from all angles. I am constantly being inspired from stories and memories, art and books, color and textiles, tastes and menus.

 

 

Q

What do you look for when winding through the forest?

A

When walking through a forest, meadow or garden I look at how the whole canvas of the landscape weaves together. What are the shapes of the branches? How do the leaves fan out to catch the light? Is a vine winding up another stem? I also look for jumps of color and anything unusual, like a unique curve of stem or intricate leaf pattern.

 

 

Q
How do the seasons affect your arrangements?

A

Seasons are a tremendous factor in my arrangements on many layers.


If Spring comes early, the branches bud before expected. If there is an unexpected frost, that may end a flower early one year. It is hard to predict exactly what will be in peak on a certain date, especially as our seasons here in the northwest have been seeing the effects of global warming.

Working within the seasons captures the present moment. It captures what is happening around us in a heightened way. Only using what is in season means roses in the summer and rose hips from the same bush in the Winter. Since I only have a window to work with the rose, that makes me want to celebrate it that much more, as it is not in bloom forever.

Fall and Winter can be harder seasons to push through, but then I start looking for new ways to use the evergreens, foliage and other offerings.

 

 

Q

What are your favorite flowers and botanicals to work with?

A

Apple branches, cedar, elderflower, strawberry leaves, anise hyssop, blackberry buds, poppies, nigella, wild roses and rose hips.

 

 

Q

What elements do you try to bring to your arrangements?

A

I like to intertwine a lot of greeney in arrangements. Leaves have so much shape and texture. I also like to incorporate a hard element; I am very drawn to thorns and brambles. And end with a soft element, a focal flower that is delicate and rare.

I try to braid in seasonality by adding flowers that are in first flush, as well as full bloom, so the young buds will open as the ripe ones fade. The flowers will change the arrangement as it sits and adds life and movement.

And there are always exceptions to the rule. Sometimes a branch is so amazing and glorious I won’t want to crowd it and end up leaving it on it’s own. Less can definitely be more.

 

 

Q
A career highlight for you?

A

Anytime I get to transform a setting completely, like when I collaborated with Desert Jewels and Rachel Jensen for the Grand Gesture dinner. Or when I get to make personal bouquets for a meaningful day, letting a client’s own memories and stories dictate the arrangement.

 

 

Q
What do you think flowers bring to setting?

A

Flowers open up a setting. They bring beauty and nature inside. A place to rest your eye. Flowers can also add height, depth and space depending on where they are placed in a room.

The environment plays just as much a factor to the arrangement as how the flowers are placed in the vase.

 

 

Q
How do you pair your food and flowers?

A

It usually starts with the menu, what is going to be prepared and which ingredients are jumping out most visually. Then there is the factor of where is the meal being held... Is it outdoors? At a small or long table? Will it be crowded or sparse? After determining that, it is all about evoking and inviting the table to be a taste of what is to come. I want to enhance the meal, without distracting or taking away. The food will come and the plates will be cleared, the flowers will be that constant thread throughout the meal.

Pairing with dinner can be as simple as having a large bouquet of the same herbs that are being used to roast a chicken, or it can create an entirely new environment, turn an everyday kitchen into an exotic location.

 

 

Q

Do you have go-to table settings for certain types of meals or gatherings?

A

Each table setting I have done is different and unique to what is available and gathered for that day, as well as what is inspiring me in the moment and the menu, so I tend not to have go-tos.

I do lean towards some favorite seasonal elements, like a lot of tomato leaf bouquets (one of my favorite scents) in the Summer, and laying down rosemary and cedar on the table in Winter.

When in doubt or lack of time, lay a single leaf on each plate at the table.