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An Interview with Kristina Oh, Founder of Fleure Studio

Get to know Kristina Oh, founder of Richmond, Virginia based Fleure Studio. Kristina will be joining us at Phosphene on August 29th at 11AM for a Modern Ikebana Flower arranging workshop - we hope you can join us!

Kirstina Oh Fleure Studio
 
Was there a moment or experience that sparked your need and desire to live life as an artist/creator?

Yes, I used to work for tech companies, and never felt fulfilled or like it really suited me - something was always missing. Over time I realized I had a real affinity for flowers, especially in their most natural state - they felt so alive and so expressive. I knew I wanted to try and capture these moments and recreate them. I also find that when I design for myself with no agenda, it can be really meditative.

 
How does your background inspire and interact with the work you create today? How has your practice changed and evolved over time?

This is a great question. I think my time living in San Francisco really solidified my love for flowers/foliage and design. Being surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers year round, really helped get my creative juices flowing.

I specialize in creating dreamy garden-inspired florals with notes of modern-minimalism leading to beautiful, unique, and timeless designs. My floral designs are inspired by art and our natural world, and I pride myself in using thoughtful textures, shapes, and color palettes. I believe that every person has the ability to tell their story through the language of flowers, and I find great joy in guiding my clients through their process.


 Over time I’ve become way more conscious of color and texture. Also, the need to prep and plan things way ahead of time - especially for events.


 

Where do you find inspiration?

I love pulling inspiration from the impressionist era. Especially Monet for paintings and any of Chopin’s nocturnes really get me. I love Monet’s use of colors and his love for gardens, and I love how much movement Chopin creates in his nocturnes - always reminds me of the ebb and flow of life.


Do you have a special morning or evening ritual to begin and end the day clearly and at peace, after a long day of creation? Related - how do you take time to slow down? What does a day of rest look like for you?

A nice hot cup of tea, and time with my fiance helps me unwind after a long day. Whenever I’m feeling particularly overwhelmed though, I find just 20 minutes of any physical activity really helps me to clear my head and lift my mood. Rest is similar - curling up with a good book, and some tea.


What is a dream project of yours?

I’d love to have a floral exhibition one day. I’ve been really drawn to branches (of all kinds), but particularly ones that are bare. I think it’d be really fun to play with their lines and shapes to create a large installation.


Ikebana is also known as Kado, way of flowers. In Ikebana, blossoms, branches, leaves, and stems are arranged for artmaking. Ikebana aims to bring out the inner quality of flowers and other materials and express emotion. How does the art of Ikebana connect to that of your everyday practice and living?

Whenever I practice ikebana, I remember why I began my floral design journey and how it’s transformed my life.

I was forever changed when I first walked into the studio of my ikebana teacher’s house, watching in awe as she assembled her arrangements with such care and precision. After our lesson, we’d all gather around to chat over tea, and to nibble on some snacks that my teacher’s mother would ship to her from Japan. These are the memories that always come rushing back to me. The feeling of community and understated serenity.

Ditching my 9 to 5 path to pursue floral design was one of the biggest steps I’ve ever take in truly honoring myself and choosing to live for myself. Without ikebana, I don’t know if I ever would’ve felt compelled enough to take that change. Needless to say, I don’t regret it one bit.


Do you have a philosophy behind creation that helps you and your work stay honest to who you are and the message you are sharing in each work?

Yes, limit your social media intake, and let go of expectations. I realized that social media, more often than not, was really diffusing my own creative voice. Thankfully, I’ve never really been much of a social media consumer to begin with, so I really just use it for business purposes and then am hands off. As for letting go of expectations, I rarely create designs exactly as I had envisioned them in my head. The more I let go, the more enjoyable and experimental designing becomes. 


Simple, but always a favorite to ask; what is the most fulfilling part of the process for you, where do you find the most joy?

I love when I get to the point where I can start to photograph my work and play with all of the different angles and how they change the shape of the design.

 

What are your hopes for the present? What are your dreams for the future?

My hope - to make it through this insanely wild event season/year(s)? And dream for the future - I really want to focus on creating unique designs that move people into connecting with the natural world. I’d also love to continue to explore ikebana and the various schools within it and make teaching a more consistent thing. 

 
Join us at Phosphene on August 29th at 11AM for a Modern Ikebana Flower arranging workshop with Kristina Oh of Richmond, Virginia based Fleure Studio. In this class you will learn the foundation of ikebana-inspired floral designing from the Sogetsu School of Ikebana, known for abstract and free-flowing, organic design forms. Tickets are limited, and available for sale here.

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