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Isari Flower Studio Does More Than Weddings

Enjoy Design Classes And Horticultural Therapy

Above: Tam Ashworth (in red) running one of the floral design classes at Isari Flower Studio and Event Design.

Isari Flower Studio and Event Design does the typical things you expect from a florist -- like bouquets and centerpieces -- but it also offers classes in floral design and promotes working with flowers as horticultural therapy.

Tam Ashworth is the owner of and floral stylist at Isari Flower Studio.

"Every month we do a flower arranging class. Last month we had a peony class; this month we're going to be doing floral vignettes."

Morgan Jenkins is the studio manager for Isari.

"If you have 3 smaller vases in your house and you want to make a floral display you can do it, you don't have to have this big vase that's the whole idea of floral vignettes."

Evening Edition

Above: KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando takes a tour of Isari Flower Studio and Event Design in Solana Beach.

"If you buy yourself some roses," says Ashworth, "You can probably put it in this medium size container so that it's just a little something. I'll do a white and a green in the taller and then I'll do more detail in the lower but it can all be worked together.... I treat it as texture, color, everything has to all correlate and artfully goes together."

Aired 6/11/12 on KPBS News.

Isari Flower Studio and Event Design does the typical things you expect from a florist -- like bouquets and centerpieces -- but it also offers classes in floral design and promotes working with flowers as horticultural therapy.

Ashworth did not begin her career as a floral stylist.

"I went to school for interior decorating, I went to art school then I became a model for a long time in Thailand and that was like the awakening of fashion senses and then coming over to America I kind of tied everything all together with doing flowers, because that's a little bit of art school and a little bit of fashion and that's what we're doing is styling flowers, basically it's my medium. It's pretty therapeutic. Starting off my day with going to the flower market being surrounded by flowers that already puts me in a good mood."

And it can do the same for others. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association people respond positively to green plants and colorful flowers. Jenkins has a degree in horticulture.

"Horticulture therapy is a profession and it's also an idea that's practiced in the industry. It's for people to really reconnect with nature and for floral designers it's like left brain development, that creative aspect of designing with flowers. if you don't have a garden outside it's bringing the garden in... It's working with those petals, it's being stimulated by colors, being stimulated by textures and it's also a learning process too in horticulture therapy."

Next month's class promises to stimulate the additional senses of taste and smell.

According to Jenkins, "The culinary class is really going to be focused on edible flowers and edible greens so you can think herbs you can think rosemary or basil."

Ashworth suggests flowers: "So flowers that are like marigolds you can eat the petals of marigolds and then we can also arrange marigolds into marigold bouquets."

Attendees will also get to sample floral inspired drinks.

"Everyone gets to come and they get to sip on floral inspired wine cocktail or we can make lavendar lemonade," says Jenkins.

Isari Flower Studio

Isari Flower Studio and Event Design

Above: Isari Flower Studio

Everything about Isari Flower Studio seems designed to please the senses, even the client area. As you might expect, Isari does a lot of weddings. But some are on a grand scale like a two-part ceremony that took place in India and Thailand and involved both flowers and linens. Ashworth's fashion background comes in handy too in determining trends.

"Whatever's on the runway in a year or two the flowers, everybody wants that sort of color ways like last year was all purples, the rage of the purples, and then this year is tons of corals, so we've had a lot of requests for bridesmaid dresses in coral."

But Ashworth goes beyond just weddings.

"We were involved with Art Alive we interpret the pictures, a painting, with flowers and we chose Dega. It was one of the ballerinas... twirling with tulips and hyber delphiniums, it's a blue arrangement with whites."

But her work mixes both artistry and practicality.

"When we do centerpieces for corporate groups they do not want scented at all they want just color, bold colors, so they can serve wine and food and it won't interfere with food."

In addition, Ashworth works with materials that have to be bought fresh each day and have a limited shelf life. But she insists she never tires of it.

"No I love moving through the seasons, I love the seasons. It's lovely to get variety within a year."

Isari Flower Studio and Event Design's next class is Floral Vignettes this Wednesday evening at its Solana Beach shop.