This February, we partnered with a talented and dynamic group of black floral designers in celebration of Black History Month. Each created stunning arrangements to beautifully illustrate what Black History Month means to them. From the featured vessels, to thoughtfully selected florals, to a photography setting of meaning, their work left us in awe and appreciation. We celebrate these designers, their artistry and voices and hope you’re left both inspired and moved.
When I think of Black History Month, I envision a beacon or a light. It reminds me that we can achieve anything. I love flowers, seeing other Black florists, and I want to be that light for others. Our ancestors fought for us to get here – for the opportunity to go to college, own a business, to have access to resources – and I’m proud to continue that legacy.
Accent Decor has no shortage of beautiful containers so that part was easy. The Guild pot’s woven texture is unique and can be used in multiple settings. The Revolution planter is one of my favorites because it creates a great contrast with bright flowers. The Lucite columns are great for providing height and changing the elements of a design. I chose florals that are bright and fun, including quince and pampas grass for different height and textures. I staged the vessels in an art studio with tons of natural light to capture the full beauty of the containers and flowers. The colors and designs on the paintings beautifully complemented my floral arrangements. Many thanks to my friends Jave Bjorkman for photographing my work and Joe Adams for providing the paintings and his art studio.
Black History Month is an extremely special time for me. It is a month that makes me feel good, makes me feel proud, and makes me happy to share stories that are a part of the fiber of this country. I learn so much during February every single year, of the countless contributions by a people that found a way to enhance the world as we know it, with innovations and progressions that many of us benefit from today. It’s fascinating to think about how resilient black people were and are, and I am grateful that this time is carved out to help highlight stories that might otherwise not have been told or remembered.
I chose the greenhouse at Prospect Farms in Lawrenceville, GA for my photos. I wanted an outdoor setting that would help visualize my interpretation of the brightness that is felt during Black History Month, and a space that embodies the beauty of the memories that are shared.
I selected vessels that would be earthy, that make me remember where I come from, but that are simple yet regal. There is so much beauty that can be found in the heritage that exists, and I wanted to ensure that the vessels that I used would allow me grace to create, to flow, and to display all of the glory that there is in sharing black history.
The Winnie compote was perfect for my main centerpiece because it makes me think of some of the pottery that was used in the early days by my ancestors. I really wanted to pull from memories of the days when things were simple, not super fancy, but classic and serve a purpose in building a foundation.
Accent Decor vessels used – Callie Vase, Pisa Pedestal, Indie Vase, Barley Vase
Floral recipe – Café latte roses, toffee roses, variegated tree ivy, mimosa mirandole, white lisianthus, scabiosa, spirea, wax flower, Italian cloony ranunculus, butterfly ranunculus, liatris, white hellebores, grevillea, huckleberry green foliage, purple statice
When I think of Black History, the first thing that comes to mind is strength and vibrancy, and I really wanted my design to reflect both of those. I chose Auburn Avenue as my location because it has a very long history of hosting and fostering the growth of black businesses for over a century. It was a hub in Atlanta where black businesses could thrive and were protected from racist threats as they grew, and currently is a supportive community, still crucial in the creation of black businesses.
Black History Month means so many things to me. It is a reminder of our rich heritage, and why it is so important for us to preserve that history. When I traveled to Africa last year, I was able to see the exact point where my ancestors, African slaves, were boarded onto ships and sent on a treacherous, deadly trip to build America. What was most apparent in that experience was the disregard and attempted erasure of the culture and lineage of my ancestors. Through slavery and years of oppression, our heritage could have easily been erased, but it wasn’t because our ancestors made sure that it wasn’t. And the responsibility now lies with the current generation. It is so important that we continue to celebrate Black History and continue to make new Black History, because a heritage so rich and vibrant deserves to be celebrated, not forgotten, and certainly not erased.
Accent Decor vessel used – Oscar Bowl
Floral recipe — Gladiola, Tulips, Lisianthus, Ranunculus, Carnations, Dutch Gerbera daisies, Allium, Boxwood, Myrtle
Black history month brings awareness and reminds us all of the prominence of black people and their significant contributions to the landscape of American History. It’s a much-needed national reminder of a unique series of stories and events that can only be told from the mouths and first-hand accounts of black people, as we are the only ones who experienced it. It’s a time where the calendar creates the conditions for us to slow down and reflect.
I chose Brookland Park Boulevard in Richmond Virginia’s historic Northside neighborhood as my backdrop because for decades this dynamic thoroughfare has been at the core of black business in the city of Richmond. Being a Richmond native, I’ve always admired the resiliency of the barber shops, salons, church’s, print shops, shoe repair, and eateries lining the street. I imagine what it may have looked like 75 years ago when the original black owned business occupied the same buildings. Now I have the privilege of owning and operating The Flower Guy Bron, a jewel of the neighborhood, on this inspiring and historical avenue.
The Cage Compote has a classic silhouette, is extremely versatile, and allows you to meld other products into the vessels cage structure. The flowers for this composition were chosen because they aren’t colors you typically see together in arrangements. I wanted to create distinct blocks of complimenting colors and have sharp contrasts throughout the piece.
Accent Decor vessels used – Cage Compote
Floral recipe – Spanish Moss, burgundy Scabiosa pods, blush Strawflower, free spirit rose, matcha rose, blue delphinium, Seed eucalyptus, Thistle, Israeli Ruscus, Italian Pittosporum
The month of February (Black History Month), is the month that the United States commemorates the achievements of Africa American’s and recognizes their role in the history of our country. BHM represents Black Pride, and excellence, but it also represents the struggle, and suffering that my Black forefathers endured, so that I could simply BE whatever my heart desired. In my case, I am Akeem Clayton, Event Designer and creative, lover of all things floral.
After my team and I confirmed that we would shoot in a studio space that provided a very blank and clean canvas, I knew at best container presentation would be something that had clean lines, with minimum color because I wanted to select a color palette that would “do the talking.” The combination of vibrant reds, purple, and peachy coral tones made the perfect statement against the very stark white studio space.