It’s time for another artisan interview, and today we’ve got something really special for you – California artisan Freckled Fern, who makes amazing and inspired dried floral arrangements and jewelry.
Here’s a bit of our conversation.
Q: Tell us about @Freckledfern. What do you do, and how does your work reflect who you are?
My name is Kelly Schmeichel. I live in Seal Beach, CA with my husband and son.
I am a floral designer. I started my business Freckled Fern
this past year. I create fresh and dried floral arrangements, necklaces, wreaths, rings and everything in between. I’m such a ridiculously curious person. (It drove my mom absolutely nuts when I was a kid, asking her why? to everything she asked me to do, not to mention opening and re-wrapping my Christmas presents every year.) So for those reasons and a million others (as my husband can attest to), my absolute favorite part of my job is drying and experimenting with flowers, greenery, branches, berries, and leaves to see which ones will dry the best, what color and texture they will turn out to be, if they will get brighter or duller, and what medium they dry the best in (air-dry, silica gel etc). If you’re lucky enough to come over you will get to hear all about my latest experiment.
How did you get started making floral arrangements?
Well, I have always been a crafter and a maker, but I had never really found my niche until a few years ago when my husband and I celebrated our ten-year wedding anniversary and renewed our vows. We rented a ranch house in Escondido for the weekend, and I jumped at the chance to create the florals for our shindig — including my bouquet and flower crown, our centerpieces, and my husband and son’s boutonnieres. I learned a couple of lessons that weekend:
#1 – none of those designs were as easy as they looked to create, and
#2 – I knew right away that I was going to keep passionately developing my skills in floral design.
Dried floral ring
Where and how do you work? Do you have a studio? What’s a typical creative day like?
I work from home, usually right in the middle of our dining room table, much to my son’s horror when he’s eating breakfast and an avalanche of dried flowers falls into his cereal (which has happened). After I get him off to school I work on my designs and any orders for the week. Then I head up to the LA flower market to shop and explore (and try not to spend all of our rent money). While I’m there, I always try to grab something new that I have never tried to dry before. The rest of the week, I’m prepping my flowers and drying them out, if that’s part of my design that week. By week’s end, I’m creating and designing my pieces, mailing them out, or posting them to my website.
Your dried arrangements are amazing and very unusual! What inspires them?
Thank you so much! The reason I first started drying my flowers before designing with them was actually for a very practical reason. Flowers can be expensive and, as people know, they have a very short shelf life once cut. I wanted a chance to keep creating and practicing making flower crowns, rings, necklaces, etc. with the flowers I had already purchased but they just kept dying on me.. which was really rude of them. So I started researching and figuring out which flowers I could dry and use over and over in different mediums. Like a lot of people who came in to the flower shop I designed at, I wanted to know which flowers would stay the freshest and if we could make an arrangement that was already dried and that would keep for months instead of days.
Who are your favorite artists and who or what inspires you?
One of my favorite artists is floral designer Francoise Weeks
. She creates the most exquisite and intricate floral accessories I have ever seen. We have different floral styles but I’m still endlessly inspired by her talent. I also take a lot of inspiration from the changing of the seasons — not that in SO Cal we get many seasons. Because different varieties of flowers bloom at different times of the year, each season brings with it a whole new batch of options to be inspired by.
What are you currently reading, listening to, or looking at to fuel your creativity?
Well I’m always listening to Bon Iver, The National, The Bahamas, and Mumford and Sons. I do a lot of my work in the early mornings and their calming, folksy vibes ease me into the craziness of the rest of my day. As for the books, I’ve been obsessed with Zenaida Sengo’s book Air Plants; The curious world of Tillandisas
. I have been incorporating air plants into some of my designs recently and I wanted to know how to care for them and creative ways to design with them. Both of which she explains beautifully.
What else would you like our readers to know? (How can they find you, etc.)
I went into this business venture of mine with the goal of sharing my work, growing in my craft and embracing the full range of experiences I will have. I want to thank Happier Handmade for this amazing experience of my first artist feature.
Thank you so much to Freckled Fern! Please go check out more of her beautiful work!