There has been a lot of talk around the shop about 'the work’, and what makes Fern Croft different/special...
In the very beginning it was about making the flowers work for a photograph. The forever task of balancing negative and positive space. Then it became about making flowers for weddings, and how to make money with doing that.
Now, in the fourth year the focus has shifted. It's no longer how, but why we make flowers.
Our foraging efforts at Fern Croft may form our values, but I believe it is my personal work that gives the perception I am more artist than florist.
When producing a wedding with more than five table arrangements, the work becomes more process and production, and less about art.
I notice a delicacy in the arrangement above, is that the hand of the artist?
(To be continued...)
We argue most of the time. My right side thinking is a hindrance to her practicalities, yet we have so much in common.
For instance, we both own homes in Eden. Lately our conversations tend to to oscillate between the beauty of our sorroundings, and how much fucking work we have to do.
She primarily spends her off time working on her side business ‘Pistil Whip’. Last night she mentioned about a day last week that she went to a restaurant and sat at the bar to chart out her thoughts. To hear this was a revelation. The big life plan can become muddled by day to day ambitions, and to have that BIG picture written down is a good way to sort out what is important and what can be left behind.
My dad once told me, “confusion is best left behind.”
We both admit that sometimes we think, “at our age, we shouldn’t be doing this.” Sometimes I look around at people my age and think shit, society has totally degenerated.
Most of us are seeking some kind of purpose, at least I was for awhile. I wanted to be apart of something big, FEEL SOMETHING.
I’m totally over that now. I just want enough time to take a nap.
F E R N C R O F T ‘the florist’
The winter season in Buffalo New York is extremely uncomfortable. The local markets have little to offer in variety of botanical materials. An undefined selection of seasonal flowers or foliage leaves little room for creativity.
For me, my main argument is that flower market offerings should dramatically change by the season. For instance, the middle of February, forced branches, cool-loving tuberous/bulbous flowers, and other hardy flowering shrubs should fill the shelves. These botanic materials are complimentary to the season in which we live, and will remind the majority of the warmth and color to come.
Instead, they offer a consistency of fail proof, perfect stemmed, gas-choked flowers. These 'commodity' flowers provide assurance to the market, and give the florists ease. Years of recession has caused makers to be less of artists, starving the audience of imagination.
In my beginning years I fought the local markets resistance to carrying 'specialty flowers' by ordering out and using my own third parties. This works for events, but not sustainable for everyday deliveries.
So in a search to ease my own tensions caused by the superficial world of 'floral instagram' and my own hunger for creating beautiful arrangements for people (in Buffalo, NY) - I am reminded of one of Olmsteads design principles.
Avoid fashion for fashion’s sake
I will have to be more creative in my work and in my mind. I will not give in.
Finally, like much of my life currently, I don’t have enough time. I can't finish this blog post properly, so I will just give you this picture of me being very serious.
WHEN YOUR EXQUISITE POINTS BECOME BRUISED IT'S BEST TO RUN AWAY FOR AWHILE AND GAIN SOME PERSPECTIVE. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE INDUSTRY I HAD TO WAIT UNTIL WEDDING SEASON WAS OVER.
These images were taken by Nicole Mason of Nicole Mason Photography.
Fern Croft is teaching a four part class structure, offering one floral class per season.
Our summer class, Weeds, Wildflowers & Roses will take place on July 13th.
ATTENTION! :: READ
There is an untapped world of botanic materials available to you...
While the roses will be the major contribution to the whole of the arrangement, it is the foliage and gestural elements (WEEDS) that contribute to creating overall harmony.
We hope to challenge the students previous knowledge of floral design(though it's not necessary to have any) and to encourage using basic design principles such as scale, value, color and texture.
A major component to Fern Crofts unique style, is the concentration on form and the understanding of negative and positive space in a floral arrangement. This discussion will be a major concentration in our two hour class.
Spaces are limited. Class begins promptly at 6:30 in the Fern Croft studio located at 291 Bryant Street in Buffalo NY.
Cost of class is $65
This includes all materials and a vase to arrange in. Please bring your own scissors if you have them as we only have a limited amount on hand.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your spot.
For my college graduation my father bought me a road bike. It was something I talked about during our short and sweet long distance conversations while I was away.
That was 8 summers ago.
Since then, the bike hangs in my garage. Every summer I say 'I'm really going to get into riding this year" , and while I may ride more than most, it's certainly not enough for me to invest in the 'uniform' anytime soon.
This past Father's day I took my bike out. Normally in the past I would have had help in the process of prepping the bike for the road. Ben would take it down for me and fill the tires with air and hang my helmut on the handle bars. Thoughtful.
This summer, I don't have that help, and this past Sunday both tires were flat. Aggravated, and lost I make coffee. My first instinct was to call someone, and ask what I needed to do to use the air compressor. What valve? How much is too much?
"No", I say. Not this summer.
So what did I do you ask? Well, I watched a youtube video like any good Millennial. The experience was quite thrilling I admit, and now I pride myself on the fact that I know my tires use a Presta valve rather than a Shrader. Apparently, according to Susan on Youtube, a Presta valve is the sexier of the two.
I may be digressing a bit from the normal trajectory of flowers, but the point to be made is that sometimes it's better to be in the trenches, out on your own- learning for yourself than always having a cushion, which (fortunately) I have always had… until now.
I have been meaning to give some words to this page for awhile. Trust me, I've tried.
Sometimes on my long drive back from the city I think of the perfect story line, but by the time I make it home it has dissipated into the reality of laundry, dinner and bedtime stories.
Here in this space I am a florist or better yet 'purveyor of flowers'. I should engage more with that, in words that is . I owe it to you I think.
Lately, and to my complete exhaustion, I have been trying to increase the range of materials available in the shop on a week to week basis. The expansion to 'neighborhood florist' from 'Bowser' world art (my brother coined this term) studio has completely changed my entire life dynamic. It is a day to day dedication (struggle?).
I may have felt hypersensitive before, but now I am really 'seeing'.
I have just begun to.
"Once a demand is voiced…
a supply will be found"
The buying and selling of commodity flowers and kitsch artifacts does not appeal to me.
I want the wild…
I want the branch and the nest.
291 Bryant Street • Buffalo New York 14222
May will leave me heartbroken
Photography by Mary Dougherty // http://www.marydougherty.com
what's the moral of the story...
Our spring flower class aims to introduce you to some of nature's uncommon flowers and explore their possibilites in the practice of floral design.
Frittillarias, ranunculus, flowering branches/ shrubs, peonies
(To name a few)
Designing with flowers is a meditation in itself. Carefully selecting each bloom based on the spacial principles of creating a composition, your floral design will begin to take on it's own energy and bring a relaxation to your mind, body and soul.
Class includes all floral material,vase and a light lunch.
Space is limited and you must register before.
Join us and be a part of the flower movement.
// email email@example.com to register - 8 spots only.
This is Bryant Street\Photos by Melody Hyatt // melodylanephotos.com
Adaptation - transformation - improvisation
515 Main Street :
Before Bryant Street, Fern Croft inhabited a smallish/ largish studio space at 515 Main Street.
I was meeting with some friends one day in June and on my way I saw a sign on the third floor of an old brick building that said 'art studios'. I pulled into the parking lot, walked up two flights of a fire escape and knocked on a heavy metal door.
Time was short and sweet there, and I really miss only two things…
1. The lighting at 3pm
2. Smoking an occasional cigarette on a Friday night and catching, from a distance, the last of the fire works at Pilot Field.
I don't live in the city, I live in an area called Eden. Though I have lived in a city before, I have a hard time with it.
When I was sixteen I took a two month course at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. It wasn't long after I got there that I had figured out the routes to get to Central Park. I would go as often as I could to just sit on rocks and be weird… I dunno I was channeling like Sylvia Plath from the Bell Jar.
Sixteen was also the time I started reading Tom Robbins.
Butterblock Dinner Set up : Photos by Ginny Rose Stewart
Mary Dougherty Photography stopped by the studio
(she took these pictures... thanks Mary!)
It was a whirlwind, with lots of emotional breakdowns. Especially when the bees swarmed the garden roses on the Lake of Chautauqua. You do know bees are becoming extinct, right?
My brother said to me today "Erin, inflection. not the inquisitive."
I try not to get too caught up with creating an iconic design style.
Learning from designs is most important to me right now and unfortunately, it's usually the mistakes that create most mental impact. No other way to grow i guess.
Like Paul Rand once said "don't try to be different, just try to be good."
The top was a lush bouquet for a wedding, and the bottom was a 'mid century design' for a birthday gift.
SATURDAY WAS COOL
Chelsea ^^ new to the Fern Croft team, and so glad to have her help.
Mary Dougherty & F E R N C R O F T
The first wedding I ever worked on Mary shot. I was pretty overwhelmed, and never saw the bride when I dropped off the bouquet. I had anxiety the rest of that day until I received an email from the her. All it said was ' these are gorgeous'.And so it goes... Still trying to figure the flower power out, but working on styled shoots helps.I had a mishap with some of the flowers dying before the shoot, and I think that experience has helped shape my current work.I identify more to a grassier, weedier less is more kinda thing. Or to speak technical -equal part foliage to flower.Rhythm & Repetition. I am a self taught flower designer/ garden novice with 8 yrs of graphic design experience. And so it goes... Mary Dougherty has an artist's eye when it comes to capturing an image, and I love how she edits.Check out more on her blog :http://www.marydougherty.com/2015/03/bridal-session/ to see more.
Not crazy about the darkness of this image. I need a crash course in some aperture 101
A year of my favorite images
Click on the photo to view the gallery.
While trying to search for the right words to accurately describe a childhood memory I have come to the realization that I actually do not remember that much. and as much as I'd like to say more I can't seem to find my way back to that day. Today I am left with a memory of seconds of a moment made in minutes.
Around the age of ten I can remember playing upstairs in my bedroom. At some point during this time I began to hear the sounds of a guitar. Not entirely unusual in my house as my father did play once in awhile, though not regularly. As I walked out of my room I realized it was my father playing. The curtains were drawn and he was sitting on the edge of his bed softly strumming the guitar strings. Not really playing a song, just letting sound vibrations fill the room. I asked him after a bit what was wrong and he simply said "i am just a little sad thats all" and that was it. It was a while that I sat there on the floor with him and his sadness.
I enjoyed that moment of melancholy with him and I still recall it fondly. It was so like him to embrace the sadness, and I find that so comforting and respectable in a man.
This year I will try and embrace more moments of sadness, while also enjoying the good times. After all thats what it's all about, right?
Christmas colors done right.
Click on the picture to view the galley. Photos by Lindsay Dedario
Tomorrow I leave for Vermont. I am climbing a mountain with some friends. It's quarter to midnight and nothing is packed. I tell myself I will wake up early. Phone is dead, no alarm..
ALL PHOTO CREDIT TO NICKLE CITY STUDIOS
i fell in love again
Tonight I was working out in my garden! I haven't had a chance most of the summer. I was so happy working, weeding and transplanting that I completely forgot why I was so pissed off 15 minutes prior. Gardening = cheap therapy.
Another great summer passing by.
We had a great wedding this past weekend. Friday night started with an iced Timmy Ho's and a car ride to some backroads. Jessica and I foraged for Grapes, Viburnum Berries and Pokeweed. I found all of these materials while on a bike ride a few days prior. RIding your bike is a great way to look for local product.
We used lots of nine bark and burgundy smoke bush from my garden. Cutting from Nine Bark is okay, and really it's actually great! The shrub loves the pruning and will come back bushier.
I can officially say that Fern Croft exists of three others aside from myself. We have Leah, kick ass designer and also a 'master gardener'. For reals, she owns her own garden company.
This is Amanda, a Buffalo attorney and floral enthusiast, here she is whipping up one of her signature bouquets. She does well under pressure.
I have been making connections lately to other kindred flower folk. It's so unlike myself to be this way. Bold and confident.
" I hear you love dahlias, and grow them...."
All from my garden. If only our dinner that followed was as sensational
Big, small, tall.
Unbelievable talent from the ladies who participated in the floral workshop at Larkin Square in the Filling Station.
I practice every chance I get.
May 17th • 1pm- 3:30
Learn to create a loose, sculptured flower arrangement. Concentration in form and color.
$100 class price - includes, yours to keep, vase, scissors and flower frog. Oh and not to forget... A bounty of flowers & foliage to choose from.
Credit card reservations taken.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Lost in the thought of summer.
Looking back on some old photos. Ordering seeds and drinking coffee thinking about how my garden will look this year.
I'll be a participating vendor at this event. Come make some buttonholes!
Wednesday 01.22.14, 6-8:30PM
Bridal Crafts & Cocktails Presented by The Boutique Bridal Party
The Mansion on Delaware, 414 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14202
Join some of Buffalo's best wedding artisans as they present hands-on craft stations for brides to try! Learn new projects, be insprired & enjoy a delicious spread of appetizers provided by the Mansion, with a cash bar full of unique wedding inspired cocktails! Tickets include entry, all materials needed for projects, food, live music & more!
This is a smaller, exclusive bridal event, therefore, space is limited!
Tickets are $15/presale and $20/at the door.
Boutiquebridalparty.com for more information