Creating Narratives Through Floral Installations
Twenty-something floral designer Rebecca Schrag is blazing her own trail on Kansas City’s floral scene.
An “up and coming” independent floral designer based in Kansas City, Mo., Rebecca Schrag designs under the business name Flourish. She describes her floral style as “garden inspired” because she prefers to use seasonal, locally grown flowers as often as possible. While Schrag, who is on the cusp between Gen X and Gen Z, has studied horticulture, worked in a retail flower shop and designed her fair share of weddings, she is uniquely driven to create narratives through the floral installations she designs.
“I’m usually inspired by a quote from a book I’m reading or by a type of installation that I want to experiment with,” she explains. In early September, we chatted more with Schrag about her interest in floristry and her passion for styled photoshoots.
FR: What inspired you to get into floristry and become a florist?
Schrag: I can trace my interest in floristry back to high school [Class of 2014]. I was able to take horticulture classes when I was a junior and senior. Those classes taught me how to identify flowers and woody plants. They also gave me an opportunity to work in a greenhouse. With the combination of that background, being raised around garden and plant people, and my drive to work in a creative industry, I am not surprised that I have been drawn to floristry.
FR: Where do you work now, and how long have you been working in the floral industry?
Schrag: I am a freelancer in graphic design and floral design, so I split my time between working in digital design and floral art. For my floral projects, I operate under the name Flourish. I worked in a flower shop for a little less than a year. After that, I decided I wanted to pursue working with other artists and study shape and form on my own without the day-to-day commitment of a shop. I still take occasional orders for arrangements, and I really enjoy planning, styling and installing florals for weddings.
FR: How do you pick the themes for your styled photoshoots, and do you have a certain way you select the flowers for them?
Schrag: The shoots can really start in any direction. Sometimes I start with a theme, but other times, I start with someone I want to work with, a floral technique I want to try or a place I want to use. I choose flowers based on what is in season. Since I moved to Kansas City, I have started some relationships with local flower farmers in the area, and I love working with their product. Again, it depends on what is needed. All florists know that there is a different purpose for every flower. Instead of following trends, I try to follow the season and the emotion I want to convey with the set. The “Head of Flowers” shoot didn’t need much except for Gypsophila because I wanted to create a cloud. I threw in some branches and foraged pieces to add a wild quality.
FR: What do you love most about doing styled photoshoots?
Schrag: The collaborative aspect. I love how I can bring flowers into a studio, build something and then the photography transforms it. Everyone—the models, the photographers, the stylists—all bring something to the table, and new connections and friendships are made. For the greenery and rose floating photos, the photographer, Steve Coleman, used a Mamiya RZ67 Pro camera and shot on Portra 400 color negative film, in an 8-foot-by-12-foot studio space. It was amazing to see him work, and the images turned out so much better than I could have imagined.
FR: What is your goal with the shoots?
Schrag: I hope to have the opportunity to publish more in the future. I hope to work with more artists and photographers and continue to hone my craft. I value all of the florists who have come before me and the entire practice of floral art, from Dutch arrangements to Ikebana. There are so many avenues and traditions to learn and grow from.
FR: What else would you like our readers to know about you?
Schrag: I hope florists continue to try to create their projects foam free. The floral industry needs to be cognizant of its waste footprint and choose more sustainable solutions.