Dundee Butcher: Florist Extraordinaire
The Floral Artist Behind Russian River Flowers and her Floral Studio in Healdsburg, California
Meet Dundee Butcher of Russian River Flowers in Healdsburg, Ca. She started her floral design school four years ago and last week I had the good fortune of meeting her in person and visiting her beautifully and artistically appointed atelier and workshop. Everywhere I turned I witnessed the unexpected and delighted in her ability to take very ordinary objects and turn them into extraordinary displays. In the front window there were beautiful colored carrots lined up in clear glass jars and on a table, rope was wound around in a circle as a centerpiece with a very zen-like vase in the middle with one branch and flowers. Stunning!
Her life has taken her to many different places and given her experiences that have all contributed to her talent. She grew up in Texas and ended up moving to London with her 3 young children. From working for top florists such as Jane Packer and McQueens to putting together arrangements for the Queen of England, she gained a few amazing experiences there to add to her resume. She returned to the States after finding a dream home surrounded by beautiful gardens in Healdsburg—the gardens are now her playground for much of the materials she uses in her floral arrangements and workshops. She most loves growing unusual things that are reflective of her unique style.
While visiting, I asked her where she gets her inspiration to create the unusual and think outside of the box, and she had plenty of wonderful insight to share…
“I am inspired by so many things. It is a bit of a curse because your mind just starts translating everything you see that gets your heart beating a little faster. And once you start noticing and really looking it is never ending. From a Dior exhibition to the garden, it’s all connected.”
“Nature—especially what we have growing in Sonoma County—is way up there on the list. From weird wonderful mosses and mushrooms on the ground now, to the fabulous array of weeds and greens, and of course the flowers, branches and pods...the more I learn about gardening the more I am inspired to move what’s out there in— just as it is. For example: showing the roots of a plant or flower, playing with dirt on the table, bringing plants in and out as they hit beautiful stages, piling the table with bunches of dead leaves (a few painted) or winding a big weed up into the shape of a nest and throwing in a stuffed bird or two. Also learning how to prune a branch properly; to completely change the shape so it fits your space perfectly opens up an exciting world of possibilities.
“Dance and the movement as it relates to flower design is also very inspiring ( I am currently obsessed by images from New York City Dance Project). Emily Thompson, a florist in New York who does big and messy better than anyone, is such an inspiration as is James David, an incredible landscape designer and good friend who constantly has me “put things a little bit wrong”. And of course, Hanaya Mitate, a master florist friend in Kyoto.”
That about sums it up for Dundee, and is really reflective of her floral design as a true art form!
We are looking forward to welcoming Dundee to our Chateau Sonoma farm this Mothers Day weekend, May 11, 2019. She will be instructing a floral arranging class and sharing her process with us. Champagne brunch to follow. We hope you can join us—stay tuned for more information!