Michele Tremblay-Fine Artist, Entrepreneur, Expert Floral Designer
How long have you been an artist and how can you be an artist, an entrepreneur and an expert floral designer all at the same time?
It is easy to say I have been an artist my whole life, which is true. I definitely had flashes of that understanding that I was an artist, but the defining moment came when I completed my first large scale paper sculpture. The feeling that came over me when I mounted the flower on the wall was unlike any other feeling I had ever had connected to my art work.
Here's a little history.
I graduated from college with a BFA in painting. One of the many things I was taught (or told) in college by many professors was that I would never make a living as an artist. Sadly, I believed them.
Lucky for me, there was one professor, Lillian Lent, who saw that I had no idea what I was going to do when I finished college.
She introduced me to a friend of hers. A woman who was an interior decorator. This woman worked full time as a decorator, but also had a side business. She had a flower delivery business. She was not a floral designer, but she didn't need to be. What she did was go to the local flower wholesaler, buy flowers that were reasonably priced and in season, take them to her place of business, package them into individual bouquets and deliver them. She had customers who would buy flowers on a monthly basis, so she delivered flowers every friday, just in time for the weekend.
I became an artist entrepreneur.
I loved this idea. I decided to offer the same service in my neighborhood. I wrote a letter and sent it to anyone I could think of including all of my Dad's friends and all of the neighbors. The letter outlined the service, the day of delivery (thursday…my day off from my regular job) and the cost $4.50 a week. I probably had about 35 customers at my busiest time. Not hundreds but it was ok. I loved having the extra $$$ and enjoyed being around the flowers.
Things were going along well, then the inevitable happened. Someone asked me to make some flower arrangements for a bridal shower…gulp….and then…..GULP…..the wedding. I was way out of my league here. Did not have the first idea about how to make a flower arrangement. So, of course I said" Yes…I'd love to do your flowers". What was I thinking? Never, and I mean NEVER had made a flower arrangement in my life.
I became a floral designer.
I did the flowers, after much fretting and reading and studying from books, and they were great! Everyone loved them! The Bride and her Mom were delighted and I was so pleased/relieved that I had done it. Didn't make much money…I don't even remember the amount. The thing that is memorable is that I did something I wasn't sure I could do, did it and eventually chose a career in the flower world.
Eventually I worked at a very fancy Flower shop in Philadelphia and learned everything I would need to be an expert floral designer. I worked as a floral designer for many years.
I now work as a full time artist.