How do people live green in their everyday life? What motivates and inspires them? In Re-Nest's new column, Creative People, Living Green, I interview interesting people I meet to find out their habits, thoughts, creative pursuits, business ventures, and green living wisdom.
Heather, the lead designer at Quince Flowers & Events, creates gorgeous arrangements exclusively from locally-grown flowers. Lucky for us in Portland, Oregon, there are a variety of plants and flora for Heather to spin into imaginative combinations. Everything this woman touches is beautiful! More photos below:
Heather has a way with nature's materials. After visiting the wholesale flower market in North Portland, it became abundantly clear that Heather is indeed a fine artist, who happens to work with plant life. She puts together disparate elements such as dogwood, moss, calle lillies, cat tails, passion flowers, succulents and even a bird's nest (and tiny eggs) all in one thematic manner. She has a gift for scale, both large and small, working with the tiniest detail such as a mini hydrangea boutineers to show-stealing center pieces that reflect the natural world.
Heather's exclusive use of locally-grown plants and flowers doesn't limit her vision in the slightest; she takes the challenge head-on, seeing what her region has to offer instead of complaining about what it doesn't. Besides, many an exotic flower can grow in a green house in Portland! Where Heather's work shines is in her unfussy, dynamic aesthetic—in Heather's creative hands, each arrangement and bouquet looks as if all the elements grew harmoniously together, she simply waved her wand and brought the creation to life.
Heather Hollern, owner of Quince Flowers & Events
What does a typical day look like?
Every day is different, but generally includes a trip to the market to pick up flowers and supplies for whatever is going on. It might be an order, our weekly hotel account, or an all out wedding. Some more unusual tasks do come up, like sourcing 100 vintage medicine bottles or trying to figure out how to suspend a 20 foot branch of blooming dogwood in the air. And of course there's always paperwork to gets done between design projects.
The term "green living" can be so generic. What does it mean to you?
It's a pretty broad term and can be a little daunting. We just try to do our part by composting and recycling, using as many locally sourced, seasonal flowers as possible, and re-using lots of vintage or re-purposed containers. We make a conscious effort to waste as little as possible. Overall, I think it's just about being responsible.
What inspires you?
Well, Oregon is a pretty inspiring place to live! As far as flowers go, I really try to let their natural beauty come through. It doesn't take a lot when your raw materials are already so inspiring.
The one thing you can't live without:
My lovely, supportive husband that I've been with for 16 years and our two amazing kids. Is that what everyone says?
Favorite quote or personal mantra you live by?
Follow your passion in life and don't get too complacent. Every now and then, it's important to take a blind leap.
Thanks Heather for talking to us about your work with local flowers!
• Visit Quince Flowers & Events
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross. Originally published 2011-06-14)