When you meet Shawn Michael Foley, AIFD, PFCI, a member of the marketing and education team at Greenleaf Wholesale Florist in Dallas, Texas, you’re struck by his laid-back personality, embedded with what seems like decades of experience. A life coach at the youthful age of 36, Shawn stumbled into the floral industry 14 years ago by answering a want ad looking for a floral designer. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
Known for his work on “The Human Form Project,” – an ongoing series created to balance the beauty of the human body and floral design – Shawn spends his free time on his side business: a line of organic bath and body products that focus on the power of flowers for both healing and relaxation.
Where do you look for inspiration outside of nature and the floral industry? What sources inspire you?
I pull a lot of my inspiration from movement. I watch how fabrics flow, drape, hang and move as someone walks in a garment. Watching how wind interacts and manipulates nature is another fascination of mine. Noticing how grasses in a field ripple before the rain comes or how the leaves on a tree act as one unified source when swaying can keep me captivated for hours.
What new ideas have you opened yourself to that have stimulated your creativity?
Aromatherapy has been an intense catalyst for me creatively, as well as learning the metaphysical properties of plants, herbs and flowers. The element of fragrance is often overlooked for the power it has over our emotions and memories. If you take a moment to appreciate the flowers beyond their visual beauty, you open a doorway to a deeper level of connection with your design work and well-being. New connections and perceptions equal new ideas and inspiration.
How frequently do you go on quests for creative inspiration and rejuvenation?
All the time! It’s very important to keep creatively stimulated in order to stay current and motivated. This is an industry with a high burn-out rate. It is incredibly important to keep yourself refreshed and rejuvenated. I personally plan a lot of my creative quests, but when an organic thought comes along, I don’t dismiss it. The sparks of inspiration that come out of left field are usually the ideas you need to launch yourself forward. Also, allowing myself to press pause now and then lets everything rebalance, rejuvenates my spirit and helps me to regroup and open myself up again to creative thought.