I don't know if I'll ever be able to call myself an artist. I think there's something that just feels strange in saying that about yourself, but I don't have a problem with other people identifying as artists. I might not be able to call myself one, just because I've never had that in my self-image. I'm a person that can do artistic things, I suppose, but I might not be a self-identified artist.
Last weekend, Chris and I visited my parents back in Pittsburgh, and we made plans to go to Fallingwater, since Chris hasn't ever been there. It's located in the beautiful wilds of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. However, we did not plan ahead enough, and tickets were sold out to tour Fallingwater. Instead, we visited Kentuck Knob, which is another work of Frank Lloyd Wright's.
Frank Lloyd Wright only made one site visit during the construction of the residence, and did a pretty fabulous job. I truly love his style of architecture in creating buildings that just happen to rise from the earth, or nestle down into it.
As Wright worked with the Hagan family on the concept of the home, our tour guide told us that Mrs. Hagan and Wright came back and forth at each other with disagreements and changes that they each wanted the final say on. Mrs. Hagan had been warned that he could be "difficult" to work with - he shot down many of her requests because they would conflict with the style of architecture for which he had become so well known, and he was not willing to compromise certain things. Many of the folks in my tour group chuckled at the idea of trying to compromise with a rigid artist on their vision for a project, and oh, how like an artist it is to be unwilling in your craft - for it is art! I thought about how, indeed, working with others can be frustrating at times, but then again how Wright was essentially commissioned to create a livable work or architectural art - should he not have the final say, since he was hired for his unique vision?
And then I thought about how it relates to flowers. Because I have a flower brain. And I thought about how sometimes it seems that our possible artistic vision is scoffed at and shot down immediately by a client, or when a client or colleague is unwilling to compromise.
I think that part of what makes being a florist so wonderful is that we get to open this whole new world of nature up right in front of our clients. A client who proclaims that they hate roses might just have to see an O'Hara to understand that they actually do like some roses. Or if the color purple is an absolute no-go to them, but then they see a beautiful hellebore that is purple and brown and pink all at the same time - they just didn't like a periwinkle sort of purple, such as ageratum. This is absolutely where the expertise of the florist comes in. That's why you're hiring me.
But then, there are parts of any creative vision, and pieces intrinsic to my creative knowledge, that I refuse to budge on. Personally, I will not be dying your flowers. I won't assure you that the Queen Anne's Lace you love so dearly will hold up in bouquets, thread it in, and then fret as it wilts on the way to your hotel. I will not be giving you a mound of white hydrangea without any greenery anywhere, because it's quite simply, very boring. And no part of what I want to do will be anything quite so boring. Some things I will not be compromising on (I hope! Rent happens and so due student loan payments. Ugh.). But I'll be trying to stay as true to my art as possible, in the hopes that you'll let me make something unique and beautiful for you.