“I am drawn to foraged and local materials because they bring authenticity to the design, and I like usual materials that some might overlook,” says Holly Vesecky of Hollyflora, a floral and styling studio in Ojai, California. “I’m also inspired by my husband Josh’s ceramics that I use frequently in my work—their organic shapes often mirror my aesthetic.”
All of Holly’s floral designs in this story (except for her step-by-step floral tutorial, for which she chose a vintage piece) use ceramic containers by her husband, Josh Beckman of FBP Works.
A native Southern Californian, Josh has been a crafter all his life, studying painting in college, gravitating toward sculpture and fabrication, and eventually working at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, where he designed and built exhibits for over 10 years. He ended up working with 2-D and 3-D software, but it removed him from the tactile joy of design.
“I explored clay as a new medium, and that was it—loved it as sculpture, as painting, raw, fully analogue, intimate, and expansive,” explains Josh. “The accumulation of skills is routinely drawn upon for inspiration and execution in my ceramic work.”
Josh’s camping and hiking experiences in California have inspired his use of texture, form, and color. “I have a keen interest in materials and processes, along with a strong connection to the outdoors and the perpetual inspiration found in natural environments,” he says.
Holly & Josh Collaborate
Holly’s autumn arrangement strikes a dreamy scene against an Ojai landscape. Materials: mix of fall ball dahlias, ‘Café au Lait’ dahlias, crabapples, white peaches, plums, pink immature pomegranates, pomegranate foliage, foraged California buckwheat, and cotoneaster.
A single, dramatic stem of ‘Angel Tears’ bromeliad allows the vase shape to stand out.
Materials: foraged California buckwheat and ‘Valley Rust Bucket’ dahlia stems.
Holly’s Floral Tutorial
- Pistachio branches
- ‘Distant Drums’ roses
- Foraged California buckwheat
I chose a vintage, low footed container and added a very large floral frog from my collection. Next, put some putty on the bottom of the frog to keep it from moving, and add water.
Establish the shape of the arrangement starting with the pistachio branches—they are large, so you only need two. I intentionally left the middle of the design open.
For the focal flowers, I chose ‘Distant Drums’ roses—I love that they come in such a range of colors while they mature from deep-pink and red buds to lavender pink with a bronzy brown in the center. Make a V shape with the roses, and overlap some blooms.
Finally, use sprigs of foraged California buckwheat (Apache plume would work in the Southwest; wild carrot or marsh grasses would work in the South and Northeast) for some additional texture and movement. Keep the stems fairly long, and place throughout the arrangement.