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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Visiting Bella Flora Studios

I really loved visiting my friend Elaine's studio Bella Flora last week when I was taking care of some business in Portland.  Elaine has always hugely inspired me...

  She's a big talent and a humble person.
She's the reason Passionflower is even Passionflower. (How's that for history?).  She first taught me to make a floral hair garland way back when, and that's how the whole thing got started.  She was a wreath maker, basketweaver, floral designer, wildflower gardener, mom , and more when I first met her.  Plus she was one of those people who always found great things.  You know the kind I mean.  The one who finds the bird's nests (and not just any old nest, it's a hummingbird nest made from horsehair) and the wild mushrooms out walking in the woods or some fab vintage dress in what looks like a pile of castoffs at the Goodwill.  She always had that touch. 

But now, as is the way of many a truly creative person, she is onto other things and her work has taken a decided turn towards vintage textiles and millinery with a special fondness for children's clothes. Though I know she still weaves a basket every now and then and makes a wreath or two. 

It was sort of bittersweet seeing her studio.   They're tearing down her building to put in some 50 apartments and she's moving over to 7th and Knott next to the Love Tabernacle Church.  I can't help but think of all the amazing artwork that has left through her purple door during the 15 years she's been on Knott St.  Elaine is the only person I know who has had her work mentioned by Russ Mayer in the L.A. Times (her pussywillow baskets) and had it shown in the windows of ABC Carpet and Home (her fairy furniture during the holidays).  Just to put things in a little perspective for you.  It feels like the end of an era.  But I cannot wait to see what she's going to do next. 

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