Brooklyn Bridge Surprise

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At Greenwich St. Jewelers we often ask, “What inspires you?” As artists, professionals, family members, community members, and as women… We want to hear about what lights that spark of creativity. How to keep on going and get things done, or how to finally rest and let it all go. And maybe most of all, how to realize that there are precious “gems” (if you allow us that shameless jewelry metaphor) in every experience and environment. Here’s our first installment in a series about inspiration.

Photograph: Liz Brown for FlowerSchool NY

This past March, I decided to treat myself to a special trip for my 45th birthday. The goal was to do something creative, fun and new. There’s nothing quite like giving your brain a shake-up with a new activity and a beginner’s mind.

In my research I discovered FlowerSchool NY, a place where top international florists teach aspiring florists. To be honest, my experience with flowers didn’t extend past buying a few bodega bouquets and rearranging them in a vase, so this seemed a bit of a reach. But when I saw they were hosting a trip to Mexico which included workshops at Frida Kahlo’s Blue House and in San Miguel de Allende — two experiences that had been “on my list” for years — I immediately dashed off an email to ask if total newbies were welcome. SPOILER ALERT: the answer was yes.

Ingrid was quick to point out that while Frida made the paintings we love, she was also in a lot of physical pain, and lived a challenging life. Creativity doesn’t just come from things we find immediately beautiful. You can use the beauty and the pain, even things that seemweird and off-kilterto enrich an aesthetic, or to simply shift your perspective.

In Ingrid’s demo arrangement, stunning in her signature untamed style, there were wild native blooms blended with unusual ingredients like overripe fruit and dried tomatillos. I tried to wipe my mind of fear and expectation and simply enjoy the process of working with the astonishingly vibrant flowers. The result was that I took my time (I was the last one done 2+ hours later) and ultimately completed an arrangement I was proud of.

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