LET’S MEET

NECTAR + BLOOM

Welcome friends! I’m Jen, director + head designer of  N E C T A R  +  B L O O M. I started our floral design studio from a deep love for the curation of beauty paired with a real fascination with celebrations, rituals, + rites of passage. I also had an early start, though a wholly different career + many different chapters in between. Here are a few pieces of my journey to introduce myself + some of what builds the philosophy behind N+B:

Though I’m certainly a Southern Californian now, I grew up on an organic vegetable farm in the Midwest. As young girls, my sister + I ran our own small flower business: a little garden of blooms that we planted from seeds, weeded, watered, and cut ourselves every spring through fall, making bouquets to sell alongside our parents’ produce stall at the farmers’ market. When I moved to California for college [then insert world travels, jobs from New Zealand to Vermont to Wyoming and back, and an M.F.A. in Poetry), I never in a zillion years thought I’d be working with flowers again in this lifetime. It's funny now, though, when I look at my progression as an academic, teacher, athlete, artist, and explorer, I see how it was all germinating the whole time.

 

NECTAR + BLOOM

As a child, I remember how I’d “survive” the endless tail of Midwestern winters by cutting out bright photos of flowers from my parents’ seed catalogues + pasting them into a journal. [Yes, I wrote poetry to accompany said therapeutic color-charged masterpiece. ’Twas trite + perhaps also adorable.] I also collected beautiful objèts, like handfuls of four-leaf clover from our back pasture in the summers, foreign coins (especially large moon-like ones), crystals + raw mineral stones, and all number of feathers + other wonders from the natural world that I kept in a wooden treasure chest. I would spend a lot of minutes perfecting the spread + lay of my beach towel on the grass beside the pool (poor little perfectionist!), and I had to arrange all colored pencils + markers into their appropriately color-blended spectrum order. In short, I came into this world fastidious, detail-obsessed, wild at heart, and in need of ways to make things aesthetically pleasing.

I’m a Synesthete too, meaning I experience Synesthesia, or the adventure of having one sense as triggered by another unrelated sense stimulus (example: numbers conjure distinct colors—as in 5 is daffodil yellow, 6 is lavender, and 7 is emerald green, to name a few—and colors, especially in a bank of flowers, have tones I can “hear.” It’s weird, but it’s also pretty cool, and I suspect that many more people experience this kind of thing than I know!) This kind of extra sensory vividness draws me to all kinds of artistic + creative media.

In studying + then teaching literature + creative writing during my academic career, I was always thrilled by the nature of composition, that an intentional arrangement of words (these sounds we invented) and their resonant connotations when strung together in a particular arrangement can compose + invite shared, intentional experience. I love how story is built, how mood is made manifest, how multiple people can experience the same feeling or imagine the same situation based on the cues created for them to follow.  

NECTAR + BLOOM

In this lifetime, I have observed that I consistently become inescapably fascinated with “how the magic happens,” in varied circumstances + contexts, and then I want to be part of the force that creates that magic. Take academia, for example. My professors in college + in graduate school radiated magic to me. They were full of story, metaphor, the details behind the names of the creators of great literature that we continue to read hundreds of years later, and they were curators of an opportunity-forward experience that gave me fertile ground to flourish. I knew I must be a professor—and I was!

When my [now] husband + I decided we wanted to have a wedding—which I had never dreamed about, ever, and had never thought I’d want or even be open to—it became the next world of magic I wanted to learn how to make. Prior to our engagement, I had never even peeked at Pinterest, and, in fact, I had already told my parents that my long-term boyfriend and I weren’t the “marrying type” and would probably be life partners in lieu of marriage. Well, that beautiful, familial celebration + rite of passage aspect of it, the moment in the story of our lives of it, marriage, got us both; it suddenly became personalized + intriguing to me, and my husband and I planned together a marvelous + joyful celebration with our kin. I was (and still am) utterly amazed by the incredibly heartful and creative vendors we hired, all of whom I still know + several of whom are my dear friends. This is where this chapter began for me. Everything, at some point, comes full circle.

Needless to say, though I'll say it, I’m a person who believes in life in many chapters. Perhaps it’s the writer in me, but I see life as bursting with an abundance of opportunity and potential experience, and I believe we are here to live into everything that calls to us. Creating  N E C T A R  +  B L O O M  is living into my dream as a working artist and curator of beauty, and I am infinitely grateful, through all the thrills and challenges alike of running a small business that come along with it, to be on this journey. Thank you for joining me in it. I cannot wait to meet and flower with you!

Jenna Johnson