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BB Podcast Ep. 101: Hitomi Gilliam + Gregor Lersch

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Master Florists Hitomi Gilliam and Gregor Lersch working on floral designs in their studios

From YOUR HOST, AMY MCGEE:

While I could go on and on about Hitomi Gilliam & Gregor Lersch — the things they’ve accomplished, the books they’ve written, and the competitions they’ve won — I’ll leave the details of their stories to them. I want you to hear it in their words. What I really want to tell you about first is how I met them and how they’ve each impacted my life not only as a floral professional, but also how they’ve touched my life personally. 

It’s no accident that I met both Hitomi and Gregor at Hope Flower Farm in Virginia during Chapel Designers workshops hosted by Holly and Evan Chapple. 

One afternoon while Holly, Hitomi, and I stood in the kitchen of the Manor House at Hope, I was sharing with them about the responsibility I was feeling to address some needs I was seeing in my local community back in Texas. Hitomi and Holly quickly brainstormed as we cooked and cleaned — and had a solution before we were done. They would come to Texas and teach a workshop with all the ticket sales going to meet the needs I’d mentioned. I couldn’t believe it, but it happened that fall just as they said it would. 

During another workshop at Hope, I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Gregor Lersch while I was on the workshop team. I’d never seen anyone work like he did. Still haven’t! From early in the morning until everyone else had left the workshop barn, Gregor sat on a stool working on intricate mechanics for the following day’s class. And when I say mechanics, I mean stunning frameworks that would be used as pieces of art long after the flowers he carefully placed on them had faded and he’d returned home to Germany. 

Sitting around the breakfast table with Hitomi and Gregor each morning of those workshops was like opening a treasure trove of stories about the history of our profession. They talked about the people they’d met, the places they’d been, and the things they’d seen. Gregor’s quick wit kept me on the edge of my seat and the way Hitomi talked about floristry with a deep love made me want to be a better. I like to refer to mornings as ‘Story Time’ with Gregor and Hitomi. 

So, I’m deeply honored and grateful for their voices on today’s episode of the Botanical Brouhaha Podcast. Hitomi and Gregor have a deep love for the ‘green professions’, as they say, and their desire to see us continue moving forward as we adapt to the very best sustainable practices is obvious when you spend any time with them at all. 

But, I can honestly say that as knowledgeable, accomplished, and renowned as they are, the way they’ve impacted me most is with their love of humanity. It’s that genuine acceptance and concern for all people that makes them so effective at conveying all the ways our work is important for not only bringing beauty to life’s important moments, but also for bringing healing where there’s brokenness. 

So, for all of that, I want to thank Holly Chapple for doing what she does best — connecting people. 

Today’s episode is a little different in that you won’t hear us interviewing Hitomi and Gregor. Instead, we asked them to talk directly to you and share their stories, insights, and hopes for floristry. I hope you love it! 

LINKS MENTIONED IN EPISODE 101:

Hitomi’s Work

images by Colin Gilliam

Gregor’s Work

Master Florist Gregor Lersch

last image by Victoria Heer Photography at Hope Flower Farm

FOLLOW:

 

Hitomi Gilliam:

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

 

Gregor Lersch: 

WEBSITE

INSTAGRAM

TODAY’S EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

MADRID FLOWER SCHOOL

 

Want to study floral design in Europe? Madrid Flower School offers contemporary and traditional styles and techniques with 10 instructors. Check out the professional program which also includes photography, styling, and business essentials. Offered in both Spanish and English.

Host: Amy McGee (Botanical Brouhaha + Bloom Trust Co.)

BB Podcast Sound Engineer: Grayson McGee

Music Written & Performed by: Landon McGee


If you enjoyed this episode, you might also enjoy our conversation with Susan McLearyClick here to listen.

 

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