Photography by Jose Villa | Words by Chandara K. Phanachone
When it comes to romantic gestures, nothing can beat being immersed in the splendor of paradise, and when it comes to creating ethereal, natural-f lowing contemporary f loral designs, the name Ariella Chezar is certainly one that often comes up in conversation. We sit down with Chezar to learn more about her inspiration behind her f loral designs.
Geraldine: We love your tropical destination masterclass workshops! What about the island of Maui inspires you? Ariella: Everything about Maui inspires me: the moist fragrant air, constant rainbows, ocean, and the people. But what inspires me more than anything is what and how everything grows there–it truly is paradise. My intention with my three-day workshop is to bring together people who have a shared passion for f lowers, immerse them in a beautiful place, give them an abundance of f lowers to work with, and feed them delicious food–basically stimulate all of their senses.
Geraldine: What is your philosophy when it comes to floral design? Ariella: My mother was Dutch, so naturally, my first language is also Dutch. She was an artist of every medium–she primarily painted, but she also knit these beautiful Missoni-esque clothes, designed stained glass windows, made linoleum and wood block prints, cooked, gardened, and sewed most of her own and our family’s clothing. Everything she touched was an extension of her creative self. My sister and I spent a lot of time with her art school friends in Holland surrounded by color, art, and creativity. We grew up in New England, and also attended a Waldorf School which encourages creativity in learning. My philosophy hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years, but it has been greatly influenced by my experience living in Berkeley, California for ten years. It was there that I started my f loral design business. The concept behind my f loral arrangements is very much influenced by French design: very contained, albeit beautiful. Foraged and wild materials are so abundant at the San Francisco Flower Market that coincidentally aligns with the farm-to-table food movement of this region. A few years ago, my husband and I purchased a farm in Columbia County [in upstate New York]. We named it Zonneveld Farm that translates to “sunny field” in memory of my mother’s maiden name. Sustainably grown f lowers from the farm supply my event work, workshops, and a handful of my colleagues in New York.
Geraldine: How has the wedding industry transformed your craft? Ariella: I am fortunate that there is a wedding industry that al lows me to do work that is creative, to work with such an exquisite medium, and one that provides a market for my craft. That being said, I think sometimes designers make the mistake that they are ent it led to have a creative experience every time they work. This isn’t always possible. In the end I believe it’s our job to translate the “bride’s” vision to the best of our ability. And sometimes that means stepping away from our own, or rather stepping into someone else’s ideas of beauty. To this end, I find it can be wonder fully refreshing to do something out of my comfort zone; creatively it’s much more interesting for me to play around with different aesthetics and then to bring my own sensibility and interpretation to each.
“Above the dinner table hung a crystal chandelier wrapped in a camilla mejer rose flower wallpaper design, featuring an unlikely combination of orange marigold, red, and powder blue. I love the way that blue accent ‘quiets’ all that heat.” says Chezar.
Read more in Issue 05