The Most Famous Flower Design

2020 has been a defining year for many. On a global scale, it’s been filled with tragedies and setbacks, and it seems that no one has escaped its wrath. This could not be truer than for vendors in the live events industry. Our particular slice of this industry, weddings and social events, a billion-dollar industry which has to date over 300 thousand business owners and employs over 1 million in the U.S. alone, has seen a quasi-total collapse. On the other side of the Atlantic, Europe represents the ultimate dream destination from couples around the globe when it comes to their big day, and the wedding industry here has been hit particularly hard. Unlike its US counterpart that has seen more lenient government restrictions, the height of the wedding season in Europe has come and gone at the pinnacle of the pandemic quarantine restrictions, with summer season having seen record drops in tourism and related activities. Loosely translated, wedding vendors across Europe have basically lost an entire year’s worth of income, and with the uncertainty surrounding this virus, many are struggling to book for next year as well, as couples are wary to make definitive wedding plans based on current experience and status of the world.

Needless to say, it’s been an emotionally packed and stressful year for wedding and event vendors across the world. But particularly in Europe, where we went through extremely trying months of intense quarantine, followed by the quasi death of our industry and income for the foreseeable future, it’s been difficult to keep positive. That’s why we are so grateful to have been able here, in Catalonia, to build a small but mighty community, which has transformed into a much-needed support system. As Summer came to an end, and many saw the practical decimation of businesses they spent years building, Maren of La Horta de la Viola, reached out to several women owned floral design businesses in the Catalonian region, with an idea to lift everyone’s spirits.

The project of l’Horta de la Viola can be found in the Baix Empordà region of Catalonia, located in the northeast of Spain. A small farm of less than 2 hectares surrounded on one side by the Mediterranean Sea and on the other by the mountains of Las Gavarras. This family owned farm has been cultivating, harvesting and selling flowers in an ecological and totally artisanal way for about 5 years. With an overall more holistic vision, as flower growers and designers, l’Horta de la Viola was born from a desire to go beyond the creative process of using flowers as an art medium by getting involved in the entire cultivation process as well. The seeds pass through their hands, then are sown with love and care, and – once the flower is at its best – only then is it harvested. They not only make beautiful floral designs, but also seek to sell these local flowers directly to florists and floral designers who believe in local cultivation, ecology and give as much importance to the human bond. L’Horta de la Viola does not want to simply be a farm. They want it to go further and like to think that they can become the connecting link for many floral designers and florists who want to get closer to field work. L’Horta considers the collaborations and visits of all these people enriches them in a personal way and helps to make visible the great effort put forth so that wonderful flowers arrive at homes or adorn events that will mark our lives. The farm’s missions stems from the need to grow flowers and create with almost an internal impulse, a spontaneous motivation, an innate and irrational love for the beauty that flowers offer. In addition to a need to protect nature and respect natural resources. Being able to accompany them from seed to flowering gives immeasurable meaning to this project.

After a summer void of weddings and events, Maren’s little farm of ecologically grown local flowers was packed with beauties that had no homes, and that were ultimately going to be destroyed to make way for the new crops to be planted for the upcoming season. Instead of watching her hard work go to waste, Maren came up with the brilliant idea to host some of her favorite local designers and devout supporters of her project for a little creative encounter where each would be free to cut from her crops and design their little hearts out, as a way to rekindle our love for our craft amidst the heaviness of the year. So she reached out to Sandrine of Maison Francis, Sonia of Passage Flowers, Nathalie of Bouquet BCN, Ester of Rita Experience, Guida of Molist Floristes, Yolanda of Best Day Ever, and Violeta of Violeta Gladstone, and together, they developed a plan for this creative encounter, revolving around highlighting the beautiful flowers grown by Maren’s unique project, as well as to demonstrate solidarity amongst perceived competition, and the incredible results that can come from joining forces. Dividing the work into smaller groups, they designed tablescapes, a bouquet, and a massive installation draping the entrance to Maren’s workspace, all with a strong emphasis on exploring green, ecological and foam free practices, and brought along Lena of Lena Karelova Photography to document the day. What transpired was a day of collaboration, laughter, shared dreams, and a delicious picnic, in a dreamlike scenery.

Nowadays more than ever, it is important to highlight the power of collaboration in the midst of fear and uncertainty, and also to shine a light on this amazing project built by Maren, as we slowly try to contribute, one by one, to a more loving, empathetic, and sustainable world. We were lucky to get to experience this first hand, and to be able to document living proof that despite all the heartache and devastation brought by COVID, the power of support and collaboration can conquer all, and help uplift an industry suffocating under its weight. The pandemic will not be victorious.

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