Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Flower Power: Meet The Flower Girl

It is Saturday morning and I am filled with pure delight; I am invited behind the scenes of a big flower production! Rhea Calpeno, the owner of Photosynthesis, is making floral arrangements for a 200-guest wedding.

Two of her friends, Jo Corban & Leah Whitehouse, are along their friend's side, creating floral pins and bouquets.

As soon as I enter through the front door I am engulfed in a flower kingdom. The fragrance filling the air, buckets of flowers everywhere - each waiting patiently for its turn to become a part of something special, unforgettable. Flowers are crafted into beautiful arrangements as they take over every available horizontal surface: tables and shelves, fireplace mantel and chairs seats… Each composition is unique and yet very cohesive. A variety of vintage milk glass vases completes the centerpieces, adding a romantic touch.

Calpeno, an interior designer, moves back to Richmond earlier this year after a six-year stint in New York City following her graduation from VCU. Armed with great experience and a dream to open a floral business she returns to make this dream a reality. I use the opportunity to interview the flower girl about her passion.

NBS: How did you become a floral designer?
Calpeno: After working as an interior designer for over 10 years, it was time to shift into a different medium. Flowers have been calling to me for a long time. I mostly just needed to take a deep breath and take the plunge.
NBS: What is your favorite flower?
Calpeno: I don't really have a favorite, but right now I'm especially drawn to Scabiosa. It is so beautiful in all stages of life, from bud, to flower to seed pod. Jo said it best this weekend "it's hard to believe there is so much poetry in just one flower...."
NBS: Where does your inspiration come from for each project?
Calpeno: Beauty is everywhere, but nature has always been my number one source of inspiration. Color is also a constant source. Certain color combinations make me so happy I want to dance!
NBS: Where do you shop for interesting vases to complete your flower arrangements?
Calpeno: For classic designs I mostly get my vases at vintage and thrift stores. If I am doing a modern arrangement Crate & Barrel, West Elm and CB2 are great sources for affordable vases. Here are a few links to some inspirational sources that can be a bit pricier, but lovely:
NBS: What would you recommend to readers as far as making their own flower arrangements?
Calpeno: The most important thing is to relax and not overthink it. Flowers will always be beautiful! Every flower has its own shape and movement. It's best to work with that movement, not against it. A good rule of thumb is to select flowers that you are drawn to and that are varying in sizes. If you have three varieties in your arrangement, there will be more visual interest if you have small, medium and large flowers. If they are the same size, they tend to compete with each other.
NBS: Favorite pattern in your wardrobe: plaid, flowers or stripes?
Calpeno: Funny, I'm mostly a solids/textures girl, but the few patterns I have are floral. Go figure.
NBS: Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?
Calpeno: Happily working with flowers!

I leave with a big bouquet Calpeno generously offers me to take home. Flowers in-hand, I walk through the streets enjoying the beautiful autumn weather. Inspired by the flower girl I keep thinking about the power of flower.

1 comment:

  1. love your quote of "power of flower", makes me thinking about how much we, the human beings rely on mother nature... thanks for sharing the beautiful flowers and the experience. :)


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