We receive a lot of questions about wedding floral preservation. Wedding florals are a big investment of time and money, and many brides want to commemorate their day with a beautiful preserved floral keepsake.
Lacie Porta, founder of Framed Florals, first caught our attention when one of our brides had her preserve a wedding bouquet. It was love at first sight! Lacie’s designs are unique, beautiful, and reflect a modern sensibility. We were beyond excited when she agreed to be interviewed for our Bride & Blossom’s Women Paving the Aisle series. Here, Lacie talks about what motivated her to start her floral preservation company Framed Florals, finding creative inspiration in the everyday, and the three people she would invite to her dream dinner party.
Lacie’s creative energy could be felt as soon as you walked into her Brooklyn studio, a creative and collaborative coworking space for artists. As Lacie led us through the labyrinth of work areas, we could immediately tell which studio was hers. Plants, flowers, and heirloom charms decorate her shelves and walls. It is immaculate, calm, and pretty. We would hang out there every day if we could! When we stopped by, Lacie had just returned from a first-time visit to Palm Springs for a friend’s wedding. Right away, she fell in love with the city’s gorgeous natural scenery and stylish mid-century architecture. These trips are very important to Lacie and her work at Framed Florals. As a nature lover and travel enthusiast, she draws from these experiences to create stunning, one-of-a-kind botanical inspired artworks.
We always like to start from the beginning. Can you tell us about your background? Were you an artistic child?
Yes, definitely. I was obsessed with all things art, I loved to make little books and illustrate stories. When I was little, I wanted to be an artist or work with animals.
We love your fresh, modern take on flower preservation. Where did the idea to press and frame flowers come from? Can you walk us through your process?
When I got married in Upstate New York, I did not think about what came after regarding my wedding flowers. My focus was on how they were going to look and getting them safely to the Catskills. The next morning, the wedding coordinator had set all the flowers on the front porch. We were saying goodbye to our guests amongst these beautiful flowers and I kept thinking, “They are just going to be thrown out.” My heart sank. We had so many vintage vases and jugs left over from the reception, so I started giving them out to guests. I also brought a lot back home with me and began thinking about what to do with them. I had pressed flowers in books before, so that was my first instinct. It was also the most practical thing because a lot of the floral preservation that is on the market takes the whole bouquet and puts it in a cloche or big shadow box. I have a small apartment in Brooklyn and do not have space for an entire shrine to my wedding flowers. Whatever I did had to be simple and not take up a lot of space. So I pressed and framed them.
Did you eventually start making framed florals for your friends? When did you know that this could be a full-time job?
In the beginning, I was just posting on my personal Instagram, showing the process and first piece that I made. That initial run looks “very first try.” But I still love it. People really responded and thought what I was doing was really cool. I started getting asked about the process, but didn’t have much advice to give at the time. I was still working out my technique, trying different methods from pressing between books to drying them out in the microwave. Still, there was enough interest from people to make me think I could actually do something with this. I was teaching preschool at the time and looking for a more creative outlet. I loved teaching, doing art projects with the kids, but wanted something more fulfilling for myself. The timing couldn’t have been better.
Your work has a very clean, modern aesthetic to it. What inspires you artistically?
My favorite aesthetic is clean and modern. I love anything that is minimal and simple. My apartment is all white and decorated with little trinkets and plants, just things that are really meaningful to me. So this philosophy drives me artistically. I want what I make to be simple, to the point, but rich with meaning. And I am very inspired by Scandinavian and mid-century design.
Can we talk about your Instagram @framedflorals? So pretty! Along with your beautiful work, it’s filled with snapshots of your travels and daily discoveries. How does this influence your creative process?
My Instagram shows my work, but I also use it to document what I do and see outside of the studio because that is what keeps me going as an artist. Honestly, Instagram has made me more aware of the beauty of my surroundings. I am constantly looking for things that would make an interesting photo. It helps to keep my eye fresh and on the hunt for new inspiration. I may have been to a place a hundred times, but now it looks a little different within this context. Documenting the world makes me more present and aware.
A bride-to-be has decided that she wants Framed Florals to preserve her wedding blooms? What does she need to know to ensure her flowers get to you safely?
The best way to ensure that the flowers get to my studio safely is to have me come and pick them up from the wedding venue. This guarantees that the flowers won’t be forgotten about, which can easily happen with all the celebrating and excitement. If the bride chooses to take them home, she needs to keep the flowers cold and in water. Then we’ll arrange for me to pick them up the next morning. I always tell my clients to designate someone like the wedding planner, mother-of-the-bride, or maid of honor to take care of the flowers. This is the last thing a couple is going to want to worry about on their wedding day.
What are some flowers that press really well? Are there any flowers that give you difficulty?
My favorite flower to press is the ranunculus. I’m obsessed with that flower – they look so pretty going into the press and look so pretty coming out. You would think ranunculus would be tricky because of their volume and texture. But you can see all the individual petals, especially with the darker colors. They look so beautiful! My least favorite flower to press is the lisianthus. They are very stubborn and for whatever reason, do not want to look good pressed. For a bigger flower like the large dahlia, I’ll press the individual petals because the center is too bulky to lay flat. Generally, bigger flowers need to be deconstructed. But it lends to my aesthetic because I like to use a mix of whole flowers with single petals and leaves.
How saturated do the colors stay after the flowers are pressed?
The colors usually change. Vivid hued flowers tend to darken. White and pink colored flowers turn a bit of a yellow-brown. Because the process is so natural and organic, the change in color is expected and works well aesthetically. I also tell my clients that the colors will continue to change. I love how this reflects age and the passage of time, conveying that you weren’t married just yesterday.
You’ve been doing this for over two years now. Do you see a change in floral trends each season?
Definitely, last year, many of my clients’ colors were white and green. The Pantone Color of the Year 2017 was greenery and I think this really influenced wedding florals. And those were my wedding colors. Now that I’ve seen so many different styles of bouquets and centerpieces, I’m obsessed with color. If I could do my wedding again, I would go crazy with color. Classic white is very New York. But I would love to see brides take cue from this year’s Pantone color, ultra violet, and use bold and expressive palettes.
How does it feel knowing that your art carries such sentimental meaning and will be treasured by couples for years to come?
I love it. It drives me to put so much care and thought into each piece. Knowing that my pieces hold so much meaning for my clients once they leave my studio is the best part about my work.
You did a piece for one of our Bride & Blossom brides and she was so happy with it.
Oh yes, Jacqueline. I loved her piece and she decided to include her invitation. The colors of the invitation matched her flowers perfectly and you could really tell how much thought she put into her wedding. It was so nice to see.
The frames you offer really complement the style of your work. Do you make them yourself?
I work with my friend Daniel. He has a shop in Sunset Park where he fabricates all of the frames. He sends the frames over and I put in the glass, dowels and pins so the frames are secured shut.
You recently introduced floral silk dyeing to your practice. Where did the idea come from? Can you tell us about the dyeing process?
I had been working on Framed Florals for about seven months before the idea even popped in my head. I had a whole bucket of flower scraps and was like “What can I do with these?” I always liked the idea of dyeing fabric naturally, so I picked up some scrap fabric and started experimenting. Silk ended up being the easiest fabric to dye and came out looking so pretty. The pieces look lovely hanging on a wall or draped on a table.
If you could invite any three people to a dinner party, who would they be?
Patti Smith, I love her so much. My husband and best friend, but I know they would turn it down so I could invite my ‘fantasy’ friends. RuPaul, I would love to see what he and Patti Smith would talk about! And I adore Lucille Ball. Those three would be at my dream dinner party.
What do you do to stay creatively inspired?
I have to take a break from social media. So most weekends, I don’t post and try to tune out. During this time, I do things that make me happy like going to a museum. I also love taking long walks around the city to drown everything out and make space in my head to think.
Do you have any advice for our readers who are thinking about starting their own business?
If it’s something that you can’t stop thinking about and love to do, I say just go for it. There’s not going to be anything worse than looking back six months, a year, or two years later and think, “I could have been doing this all along.”
Do you have any exciting projects or plans in store for spring and summer?
My husband and I are working on planning a big trip this summer, but we are not sure where yet. I’m also really excited about the upcoming wedding season. I will be busy a lot of weekends through spring and summer!