Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
In the field of floral design, Bella Meyer has many admirers. This artist has chosen flowers as a medium for her artistic aspirations. Her website Fleurs Bella presents highlights of heir work. Some appear like artistic installations one would see at museums.
Lauren Saffa of Fleurs Bella kindly provided the background information for this article. Regarding the artist’s background, Saffa said, “Bella Meyer was born in Paris, grew up in Switzerland, and has traveled frequently and extensively from a young age. With grandfather Marc Chagall as the patriarch of her family, she was brought up in a focused artistic environment where creativity was always encouraged and her imagination flourished. Bella went on to study Archaeology and Art History in Paris, and completed a PhD in Medieval Art History. After a short academic career, Bella realized her passion truly lies in creating art, and began devoting more time to painting and drawing. She then started to design and build theater costumes, and created numerous puppets and puppet shows.”
When asked why Bella chose to specialize in flowers, Saffa explained, “Flowers have always enchanted Bella. Early on, Bella recognized that flowers have the unique power of being able to make someone very happy—nothing could delight her mother more than to get a bouquet of flowers! And there would never be a visit to her grandfather Marc Chagall’s studio without Bella bringing him a homemade flower arrangement. Over the years, Bella discovered her passion to help make the world around her a little more beautiful through flowers. Bella has always been fascinated by the mystery of trees and flowers, and by the variety of colors and textures nature offers. Bella soon traded her paintbrush for petals, and realized that making a bouquet was just like painting in a different medium; the dialogue with the canvas was now taking place with nature.”
How did all this eventually lead Bella to open her own floral design studio? Here’s what Saffa had to say about that, “A few years ago, Bella’s dear friend Robin Kahn suggested that they open a flower studio similar to their favorite flower shop in Paris where they would always go to get flowers. They decided that their flower studio would have all of the personality and beauty of that particular Parisian flower shop, but all of Bella’s bouquets would be custom made and the studio would be by appointment only. It did not take long after the seed was planted for this idea to bloom, and two years ago Bella founded Fleurs Bella, with Robin as an Associate.”
As to what kinds of designs Bella specializes in, Saffa explained, “Fleurs Bella’s favorite jobs are life cycle celebrations: weddings, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, etc. No job is too big or too small for Bella: supporting the social endeavor of a benefit is wonderful. Simple dinners or luncheons are great. Big indoor and outdoor parties are exciting. Beautifying a lobby or office is a fun responsibility. Being part of a restaurant’s or a hotel’s interior is a thrilling aesthetic challenge, and even preparing one small bouquet to be picked up by a client to bring to a significant other is the best job ever!
“The amount of advance notice clients need to give when planning events depends on our availability and on the size of the event. A few days could be enough for a small event, but two weeks is the minimum for major events. Bella first meets with the client to hear as much as possible about themselves and their vision for the event. Bella then shows the client an extensive portfolio of her past work, and has a detailed dialogue with the client about how to approach the look and feel of their particular event. Every aspect of Bella’s work is highly customized, so a close and collaborative rapport with her clients is critical.”
When asked about what kinds of floral materials and the like are used, Saffa answered, “We love roses, especially full, vibrant, open ones. Then there are all the spectacular and odd pods, weeds, grasses, and wonderful leaves. Every season brings a whole new world of unbelievably beautiful and exceptional flowers. We like to use them all, to get to know each unique personality.
“There are many distinctive events where we feel that particular props need to be built. Each project is very different and requires an imaginative, personalized approach. We get very creative with our props and have built all sorts of colorful and inventive decorations out of paper mache, styrofoam, and plastic. We have also experimented with incorporating lighting special effects and puppets in our floral designs.”
When asked about some of the most special events Bella has done, Saffa gave details for the bar mitzvah of a family member that involved sports-inspired designs using colored acrylic twigs, miniature soccer and basketballs floating in vases and other details relating to particular sports teams. For a wedding, the clients wanted a simple, romantic theme. Fleurs Bella built a chuppah of birch tree poles to support a tallis with flowers and moss-adorned arrangements with roses.