For our featured read in May, we are focusing on Kiana Underwood's Color Me Floral. We gave away two copies of this stunner to two very excited winners via social media, and are thrilled to be revisiting this favorite.
Color Me Floral is equal parts art, inspiration, and instruction, and is a worthwhile read for designers, farmers, and more recreational flower lovers alike.
For flower lovers, recreational gardeners, and Dutch masters' enthusiasts, this book presents a much-needed dose of beauty during our recent times of uncertainty. Underwood shapes nature-inspired designs out of her California studio, Tulipina, and shares that her passion for growing flowers was born in part from her desire to highlight difficult-to-find flowers in her work. Her pieces are built to give the appearance of organic movement and wild abundance, and she embraces asymmetry as she describes her process for building intentional structure to frame each piece.
Color Me Floral emphasizes seasonality in floral design, and offers creative encouragement to both new and experienced designers as they explore using more locally-sourced product in place of imports. Featured front and center in each of Underwood's creations are specialty cut flower varieties most commonly grown by the small flower farm cohort. These designs – and the corresponding how-to instructions with design phase photos – provide actionable advice to even the most timid reader for incorporating specialty blooms and inspiring more artful expression through floral design.
Seasoned farmers will find that this remarkable book also offers practical considerations for foraging and suggestions for alternative color palettes. Her stunning images serve as a valuable reference point in developing new wholesale floral relationships, and a helpful visual prompt in working with designers who tend to adhere to more traditional principles of arranging.
With pages filled with arrangements that could have been plucked out of a seventeenth century Dutch still life, Color Me Floral is an aesthetic all-time favorite, and an invaluable addition to the tool belt for both the farmer and the florist.