Dahlia Quilt

Dahlia Quilt by LORA Bloom
It’s hard to believe almost two years has passed since I put down my floral tools to begin the creation of LORA Bloom.  In my heart, I will always be a florist.  Now, most of my time is spent on a laptop. 
2018 was a year of big change.  That year, I had been considering the trajectory of First & Bloom. Should I keep growing in my community as the preferred local florist, or build a new path to not only benefit the entire floral industry but also take on huge risk and debt among a few? I pondered the question for months, but we know which path I chose. Stepping away from the hands-on creative space has been hard at times.  I still long to play with flowers in the physical sense, but there is much creativity in my role now too.  It’s just different.  
One of my most cherished and challenging experiences as First & Bloom was also one of my last in 2018.  “Dahlia Quilt” is now featured in the latest publication by Debra Prinzing, called “Slow Flowers Journal, The Best of Slow Flowers from the pages of Florists’ Review.”   I am incredibly grateful for this honor and since we are quickly approaching the end of growing season, it’s a good time to remember such a special collaboration.  This piece is incredibly special to me.
The quilt’s presence is ever more important with the ground-shaking steps in equality right now.  Quilts are a beautiful symbol of American history and represent resilience, strength, and warmth on cold winter nights. It also displays hope, love, and comfort through difficult times. In the past, groups of women gathered to sew and stitch scraps of fabric from wore out clothing, patching together a new formed quilt. 
Now, more than ever, women are forming similar groups with different mediums to spread love, hope and kindness to all. 
This collaboration wouldn’t have been possible without the following people, whom I am very grateful for: Anne Davidson, Model | Elizabeth White Artistry, Hair & Make-up| Missy Palacol Photography |Laughing Goat Flower Farm, Flowers/Venue | Seattle Wholesale Growers Market, Additional Flowers | Debra Prinzing, Slowflowers.com   
A little background on the making of this quilt.  One, it was a lot harder than I thought!   Initially, I planned to work on-location out in the field. The day happened to be super stormy- wind and rain!  Luckily, Amy Brown let me work in her giant garage.  I had issues with the dahlias staying in the garden fencing right from the start. My original plan was a patterned quilt previously sketched on paper. It was a traditional five star pattern, well known in quilt making. The colors of the flowers would follow that pattern. Very soon, I realized I had to deviate from my months of planning and go for an obre look.
Yes, this stressed me out!  I had my heart set on it!  
Next, I hadn't anticipated having to move the install, but when we did attempt the move, all the flowers started to fall out. I was super stressed now as the model was ready and the stormy conditions had subsided.  Again, the crew rallied and we got the quilt out into the field. Positioning it on the model was the next hurdle.  It was SUPER heavy and required a ton of floral product! At one point we just had to stop adding flowers!  Devising a plan to shoot frames of the quilt, we kept rotating the quilt and model, Anne Davidson, allowing Missy Palacol to photograph the necessary details and sections. To do this, we had to move flowers around to different sections, making it appear as a finished product.  This is why you don't see a complete and finished quilt in some shots. 
Smoke and mirrors, my friends! The plan worked!
It was such a joy to work together with the whole crew, and I felt overwhelmed with their support. I'll admit,there was a moment I almost lost it. Quite literally, Debra Prinzing slapped me out of it. :)  It was one of the best collaborations I've ever had, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!