As I look back on 2012, I am amazed at all that I have learned. I am even more blown away by how much I have learned in the first 9 days of 2013. When I chose to study this past year, I believed somehow that I would learn to be someone else; more like someone better than me. This was a frustrating and enlightening experience. I clearly remember standing at my design table after returning from studying with the amazing Ariella Chezar and thinking this arrangement does not look like Ariella. The design in actuality sucked, MY piece did not look like hers. My attempt to create like someone else failed miserably. This happened because I was denying my own intuition. The piece did not look like Ariella and it did not look like Holly. A voice inside of me said, “you are not Ariella, you are Holly, design as you know you should, this voice said, you have an intuitive voice that tells you where to place those flowers, Holly listen to your intuitive voice.” I ripped the design apart and did what my heat and my voice told me to do.  Needless to say I loved the new piece I created. This realization was one of my most beautiful epiphanies as a designer, in actuality this moment is what made me a better designer, it was the very reason I needed to study this year. I need to celebrate me, we need to celebrate our own intuitive voice. It is my opinion, and my opinion only, that amazing floral designers design by an intuitive voice. They do not have a remembered pattern, or even a definite plan, they let the art flow from them, they let the flowers speak to them, and they let a piece of art be born.

This summer I was asked by a very influential floral designer, from the most prestigious flower shop in this country to define my style. “What is your style,” she asked. In that moment I was anguished because I did not have an answer for her. In actuality I was afraid to say to her that I am an intuitive designer.  What this means to me is this, I don’t practice any one kind of style; I don’t just do organic, or contemporary, or modern. What it means is that I approach all types of design by listening to my inner voice. I do not follow a learned, regimented, or certified pattern.  In the last 9 days I have had the incredible pleasure of speaking to numerous designers from across the country. These designers have helped me finalize in my mind who I am, not only as a designer, but how I will proceed as a teacher. Thank you to the many people I have spoken to this week (like maybe 50 people) for helping me to know who I am. Each one of us holds a special magic key to a design that no one else has. If we are all creating as individual artists and not copying each other, but learning from each other. If we all approach each design with the ability or the willingness to listen to our intuitive voice, some of the finest designers in the country will be born.

Photography by Julie Massie

  • Jennifer Ederer Says: (01.09.2013 | 05:39)


    You are absolutely right. So often we get caught up in comparisons and the thought to be the best we have to be like someone else. There is only one you! There is only one me! We need to CELEBRATE who we are, where we are and what makes us truly unique. Honey, they broke the mold when they made you, Holly!!


  • laurie garza Says: (01.09.2013 | 05:43)

    I would say you are becoming more eloquent as you grow as a designer as well. The terminology ‘intuitive design’ puts a name to my way of doing things. I like to hold the product in my hands and let it say its piece. Thank you for helping me define better what I do.

  • Peggy Sherwood(Sherwood Design and Events) Says: (01.09.2013 | 05:54)

    Thank you Holly!!!!! These are such good words of wisdom and advice. Somewhere deep inside there seems to always be a bit of self doubt….always wondering if we can stand beside another designer. But you are so right..we are all individual artists with our intuitive designs. So thankful for amazing designers, such as you, who wiill share their heart and soul of the floral industry, be our floral friends, inspire and cheer us on!!!!!!!!!! BLessings sweet friend!!!!

  • Vicky Choy Says: (01.09.2013 | 06:46)

    Great ah-hah moment, Holly! Your intuitive designs are what makes your creations “Holly’s”

  • Jessica Jones Says: (01.09.2013 | 07:03)

    Thank YOU Holly! 🙂

  • sherry Says: (01.09.2013 | 07:09)

    Thank you for your candor and genosity.

  • Sherry Says: (01.09.2013 | 07:12)

    …Wish I typed better..or edited better…generosity! 🙂

  • ria erikson Says: (01.09.2013 | 08:35)

    Thank you Holly for this! So often I question my abilities, my talents and you set it all into perspective. I will celebrate me and bless others with this gift. This was just the nugget I needed today, thank you Holly, you are such and inspiration! ~ Fondly, Ria

  • Katie Pollard Says: (01.09.2013 | 08:46)

    This is so encouraging, Holly! I listen to the voices of doubt and comparison instead of the voice of inspiration much too often. Thank you for your candor. It’s amazing to have a network of new friends in this industry!

  • Angie Says: (01.09.2013 | 09:13)

    Holly, Thank you for sharing this.

  • Eatherley Schultz (Floressence Flowers) Says: (01.10.2013 | 01:53)

    Thank you Holly! I should print this out and read it at my shop when I need a boost of confidence! The less I analyze and critique, the better I design~ Good food for thought today! thank you!!!!

  • Shelly Bagdasian Says: (01.11.2013 | 10:39)

    You just put in writing what I constantly battle. I feel like I just watched Oprah and now feel so much better that I’m not the only one! Thank you my friend!

  • Val Hunter Says: (01.15.2013 | 04:26)

    I am lucky to have teachers who tell me these things early on. Thanks for being such a great example 😉 You really do have to let the flowers speak to you and tell you what you’re supposed to do. Don’t force a certain idea, although it’s good to have guidelines and learn from each other like you said.

  • Christy @Colonial House Says: (01.18.2013 | 04:11)

    I am not the only one!! Fantastic! Thank you for sharing this…

  • Michelle Van Eimeren Says: (01.22.2013 | 06:21)

    Wonderful Holly, this made me feel like you knew how I feel at times. So inspiring, it can be very emotional when the self doubt kicks in! Trusting yourself and not being afraid to listen to that voice is truly liberating. Thank you xx

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