Sitting in my living room writing emails and maybe also watching Homeland because I'm hooked (even though I know it's a scam cause Brody will prolly never get true justice and the drama will never really end..but this is why we watch I suppose) and thinking a lot the last week about how we florists treat each other in this industry. I recently was accused of copying someone's designs and basically bullied to not do it again, albeit the content of the accusation was wildly untrue, these thing can still get to you. Make you think a lot about how you don't like to be talked to or treated, how you want to make others feel instead. And also, this has made me think a lot about what it means to be original in floral design. Unlike painting or graphic design or a myriad of other creative careers, we are never working with a blank slate. Our product has done a lot of the work for us and all our "designs" are merely an interpretation. I think we work sort of like a processing machine. Gathering preferences and observing uses of color and texture, movement. Maybe subconsciously at first (which grows into a very thoughtful obsession), but we intake and then create our version of all those ideas smashed together. We all start by attempting to imitate those we admire and along the way find ourselves. We impersonate we reflect and we transform.
I love this quote by Jim Jarmusch. A little more intense than my stance but, nonetheless poignant
“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent."
Indulge me for a little by allowing me to be hazardously specific for a greater point- I was accused of using a single rose variety that another floral designer also uses and it resembling her designs by not only using this rose, but choosing to reflex it's petals. Reflexing, a technique people have been using since the 80s. You can google it. This rose variety, available across the world and used by many people. A popular antique pink. It's like someone saying you are copying them because you are wearing a flannel (or overalls or chokers or Doc Martins) and flannels are their thing when we all know flannels have been around for a long time and are becoming mainstream. I'm not hiding my frustration or pretending this isn't a bit of a upset rant, because it is. Just more broad than this single instance. My frustration is with the fact we are in a predominantly female industry where people, as of recent, love to speak about women empowerment while assuming the worst of other women. Posting about solidarity because the retro photo of Michelle Obama looks good in their feed, but in their personal real life, belittling most people they know. It's made me, at first, make harsh judgments on others but that judgement is immediately followed by intense guilt of the awareness that I also do this. That I do this, I don't want to do it, and I want to understand how to be a vehicle for kindness. While envy seems impossible to avoid in an industry driven by competition and comparison, I want to have the courage to combat it by working to celebrate other successes. Not merely give in and find hurtful things to say because it stokes my ego for the moment. All this makes me want to go big and start some sort of togetherness conference but alas, you cannot change people and annoying as the cliche is, change starts with myself and that isn't glamorous.
On an entirely different note and a topic for another post, this unexpected confrontation has made me realize how desperately I just want everyone to get along. Not for us all to be best or close friends, just, on good terms. Finding out you can do everything "right", be kind, polite, apologetic, but again you cannot change people is a harsh realization of my 20s. Everyone has their own battles and sometimes you get caught in the crossfire.
I have inserted a few photos of arrangements from a job I had a month ago and I think it's because I didn't really know where this was going when I started and now they seem very unfitting but also I don't want to post all my intense feelings without some light hearted nature to balance things out. So, there they are.