dahlia flower arrangement by Holly Vesecky of Hollyflora, in front of a background of trees

Holly Vesecky’s autumn arrangement strikes a dreamy scene against an Ojai, California landscape. ⁠Materials: mix of fall ball dahlias, ‘Café au Lait’ dahlias, crabapples, white peaches, plums, pink immature pomegranates, pomegranate foliage, foraged California buckwheat, cotoneaster⁠

“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. “I’m also inspired by my husband Josh’s ceramics that I use frequently in my work—their organic shapes often mirror my aesthetic.”

Ceramics artist Josh Beckman of FBP Works and floral designer Holly Vesecky stand on a gravel road bordered with an allee of evergreens. Josh wears a tan button up, jeans and hiking books, and holds a bouquet of dahlias by his side; his other arm is around Holly. He crosses one foot casually over his standing leg. Holly wears a rust colored Bohemian-style dress, a scarf around her head and tan wedge sandals. She holds a red dahlia in one hand.

Josh Beckman and Holly Vesecky

All of Holly’s floral designs in this story, except for her step-by-step floral tutorial, 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

Click the arrows (or swipe if on a mobile device) to see four scenes styled by Holly using pottery from FBP Works.

Ceramic vases and bowls by Josh Beckman of FBP Works
Josh’s ceramics with ‘Angel Tears’ bromeliad


HollyFlora_ShellyStrazis-9714
Materials: golden rain tree, field grasses, Bixa orellana pods


floral design by Holly Vesecky of Hollyflora,Ceramics vase by Josh Beckman of FBP Works
Materials: foraged California buckwheat, ‘Valley Rust Bucket’ dahlia stems

floral design by Holly Vesecky of Hollyflora,Ceramics vase by Josh Beckman of FBP Works
Materials: dried Allium schubertii

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Floral Tutorial with Holly Vesecky

“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.”

Follow the steps below to re-create Holly’s design at home.

Finished floral arrangement from the tutorial by Holly Vesecky of Hollyflora

Materials List

  • Pistachio branches
  • ‘Distant Drums’ roses
  • Foraged California buckwheat

floral tutorial by Holly Vesecky of Hollyfloral, step 1

STEP 1

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.

STEP 2

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.

floral tutorial step 2, placing pistachio branches

close up of placement of distant drum roses, step 3STEP 3

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.

STEP 4

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.

Holly Vesecky of Hollyflora inserts a lacy bloom of California buckwheat near the base of her arrangement

By Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography by Shelly Strazis | Floral design by Holly Vesecky of Hollyflora, hollyflora.com | Pottery by Josh Beckman of FBP Works, rjosh-beckman-rdk7.squarespace.com


More Autumn Floral Inspiration

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Kaylyn Hewitt of True Vine Studio (Photo by Joyelle West)