April 21, 2017

Interview with Betany Coffland of Chloris Floral

Hello! I’m back from an extended Easter break and delighted to kick off with a wonderful interview plus amazing floral designs by Betany Coffland from California-based Chloris Floral. Betany launched Chloris Floral in winter 2014, and her business name perfectly reflects her two artistic endeavours, classical singing and floral design.

What inspired you to start creating floral designs inspired by music?

I’m a Juilliard trained professional opera singer and flowers came into my life about four years ago when I started volunteering on a flower farm. After I started Chloris Floral, I was searching for a way to combine my two passions. I harvest most of my flowers on local flower farms and I constantly have music swirling in my head while doing so.

The idea of doing the musically inspired bouquets came to me shortly after doing a photo shoot with Paige Green, where I dressed up on the farm in a glamorous gown along with my farmer wellies. This melding of my two professional “uniforms” gave me the idea of further developing the relationship between the two disciplines.

What influences your choice of music?

The biggest influence in my choice of music will often be what I’m performing next. I can spend months preparing for concerts and that’s a lot of time to live within that music. So it comes natural to me to want to design an arrangement or installation inspired by the music that I’m intimately close to at the moment.

However, I’m not only inspired by classical music. Sometimes I’ll come upon a particular scene or location and hear a specific song in my head. Or I’ll hear something on the radio and think, “this would make a great musically inspired bouquet and photo shoot!”

Inspired by Herbie Hancock’s Ravel

Could you tell us the story behind some of your designs? 

The Herbie Hancock interpretation of Faure’s piece is a song I play when I’m feeling introspective. For months, I kept having images of flowers flowing out of a piano and that piece perfectly set the mood for that shoot. It was an intimate space of just me and the Flower Piano and I loved the result of Paige Green’s photos. I think it really captured the emotion pouring and the intimate feeling of the piece. (See images above.)

The Pierrot Lunaire shoot was super fun and is one of my favorites to date that was for the San Francisco Chronicle. I worked on the musical piece by Schoenberg, ​Pierrot Lunaire​ for about 10 months. It’s considered one of the most difficult compositions for a singer to learn in the classical music world. Pierrot is a quirky, unrefined, puppet and ultimately, a creative artist. I think many of us can relate to him and I was lucky to have such a strong model and creative direction on that shoot. The Language of Flowers also helps me include “hidden’ messages among the flowers that connect to the music.

What’s your long-term goal with your musically inspired floral arrangements? 

This kind of editorial work is where I find my most creative self thriving at the moment. I love it and it feeds my soul. There is an endless amount of music out there, so for me, that means an endless amount of inspiration. I would love to move into more editorial work in general and I would love to create a book based on musically inspired bouquets and installations. Oh, what fun!

Inspired by Vivaldi’s Spring

Tell us about your philosophy of using 100% locally and sustainably grown flowers in your work?

Since I started this adventure as a flower farmer, I understand how much work goes into cultivating these beautiful blooms. I live in a region where I have about 15 local flower farms who can grow almost year round and I wish to educate my customers about true seasonality and growing with organic practices.

I do understand how many florists don’t have this kind of growing season available, but since I do, I wish to support it. I love the challenge of working with only what’s available to me and so far, it’s worked out beautifully. The brides who wish for peonies in November, obviously aren’t my client. But those that wish to work with nature and support these bee-saving environmental practices, are learning that nature always has a way of giving beauty.

Thank you so much to Betany for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. If you’d like to see more of her beautiful work, please visit the Chloris Floral website. Social media wise, you can find Betany on Instagram, and Facebook.

(Images : Paige Green Photography – 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 | Chloris Floral – 5, 6, 10 | Laura Schneider – 11, 12, 13)

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