Workshops: Moscow 2015

I haven't blogged for quite a while, but am ready to kick things off again with some great content that has been accumulating over the past two years. As many of you know from following on Instagram, I have spent quite a bit of time internationally - teaching my 2-day floral master classes - including Canada, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Mexico, Russia, and Ukraine - all in addition to workshops in the United States as well as weddings and events. It's been (and continues to be) busy, to say the least.

For the next several weeks, I'll be sharing images from a number of workshops, and first up is Russia - the first international workshop that I did back in 2015. Photographer Corbin Gurkin joined me in Moscow, and it was an amazing time, as you'll see from the images below.

Many of you know my story, but if you don't, the short version is that I went to school with dreams of being a diplomat and traveling the world. Never did I imagine that my second career - as a floral designer - would ultimately fulfill this dream.

I have to share a secret with you - when I first decided to go to Russia for a workshop, I had no idea what type of interest there would be, and whether or not my workshop would sell. But, I figured it was a risk I would have to take! In the end, it was a sold-out class attended by some of the hippest floral designers in Russia. If there is one thing that continues to be impressed upon me in my floral journey, it is that you cannot let fear keep you from pushing yourself to the next level.


"You cannot let fear keep you from pushing yourself to the next level"


I knew from social media that there were many Russians interested in my work, and had been to Saint Petersburg in the past, so I knew what to expect in terms of appreciation for the arts, grand architecture, and colorful beauty. So, when a lovely Moscow-based floral designer - Liza Ambrasovskaya - featured my work in Veter, a Russian magazine, I asked her if she would like to help organize my coming to Moscow to teach. Needless to say, she coordinated everything, and without her it couldn't have happened.

Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Saint Basil's Cathedral as taken from Red Square. Consecrated in 1561. The apartment we were staying in was about a 15 minute walk from Red Square, so we took a number of walks over to check out the square, Saint Basil's, and the Kremlin. So much history, and fascinating to see.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

The space was a very old (huge) industrial building that took up a city block. Up a number of flights of stairs (no elevator) was the venue space - Mazel Tov - a photography studio full of windows and gorgeous natural light.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

These apples, along with a number of other foraged beauties, were gathered at Liza's parents home on the outskirts of Moscow. There isn't a lot in terms of foraging in Moscow, so it was wonderful to have access to a private garden to augment some of our floral variety. We even went so far as to ask a neighbor if we could cut from their wall of wild grapevines - which they were gracious to allow.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

This was my demo arrangement for the centerpiece portion of the workshop. Typically in a two day class, we do centerpieces and statement pieces on day one, and then bouquets and an editorial photo shoot on day two. 

It was a challenge to source the types of flowers that I am used to working with in the United States (and have available to me at the San Francisco Flower Mart), but Liza really pulled out all the stops to get us some gorgeous floral variety.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Students at work. In general, there is a significant appreciation for the arts in Russia, and garden-style floral design is something that the Russians have really embraced. I was amazed at the level of talent in the class.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Beautiful student work!

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Alëna Kubik here with her beautiful arrangement. Alëna also makes lovely hand-died silk ribbons, and gave me a lovely selection on the second day of class to take home.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

More beautiful student work.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

At the end of the first day of the workshop, we used our completed centerpieces for a class welcome dinner. It was so much fun getting to know everyone, and I only wish that I spoke Russian as well as everyone spoke English.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

We had some gorgeous gowns, and gorgeous models. I was amazed at how young the models were that the agency sent - both only 14 years old, but able to pose like they had been modeling for years.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

I love the ribbons in these pictures. Shellie of Silk and Willow sent along a selection for the entire class to use during our bouquet portion, and they really added to the vibrance of the designs. Russian designer Tatyana Kochnova graciously provided the dress above for us to use.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

I love this gown by talented American designer Emily Riggs.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Vintage dress above from Shop Gossamer.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Moscow street scene - right across from St. Basil's Cathedral and Red Square. Dress by Emily Riggs.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Gown by Russian designer Tatyana Kochnova. It's hard to beat the colors on the streets of Moscow (well, maybe only in Saint Petersburg).

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Corbin Gurkin / corbingurkin.com

Our wonderful group, and an amazing beginning to a series of international workshops!

Garden Series: Summer Blooms

Over the past few years that I've been keeping my blog many of you have asked to see pictures of my garden, and I've never quite felt that pictures would do it justice. Everything was so newly planted and small that it just didn't make sense to photograph it. So, this summer I finally decided that it was time. The other day as I was building arrangements in my garden, I took some snaps to share with you.

My garden is my place of peace and meditation, I love every minute that I spend in it and every moment that I look at the flowers that we have grown in it. I love an abundant, haphazard look so...nearly every square inch of empty space is accounted for (although I seem to be able to add something new almost every other day). I spend about 10 hours (sometimes more) each week tending the garden. It's definitely not easy, but the results are so worth the effort.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Here's a "before" shot of our backyard. Two years ago this is what it looked like (insert scary face).

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

We planted two boxes of vegetables and one box of annuals. There are also two beds that have been allocated to roses. There are more roses in the front yard too, as one can never have too many roses!

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

My annuals box is the greatest and it has given me the ability to use some unique flowers for weddings and events.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Tomatoes are coming in nicely!

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Another view of the annuals box, as well as my "shady" area for hydrangea and hellebore (plus a few others).

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

It's really gotten lush this year, and I'm loving it. Proof that so much can change in just a couple of years of work!

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

A little something from using blooms exclusively from the garden!

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

I love building arrangements on the garden patio, and it turned out to be an awesome place for my May Floral Master Class.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Another "from the garden" centerpiece.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

A collection of dahlias from the garden.

Credits:

Styling, design, and photography by Kiana Underwood

Four Days in Amsterdam

Amsterdam has to be one of my favorite places in the world. I have visited there many times, and each time I go I love it even more. The Dutch are absolutely lovely people, and we have never had a negative experience with anyone during our visits. The city is clean (compared to some other European cities) and filled with beautiful flowers. So, during our summer vacation we decided to spend 4 days and show our kids this beautiful city that we love so much. Until next time Amsterdam...

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

We rented a houseboat on the Amstel and biked all over the place.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Every corner of the city has a unique and beautiful touch. It is hard not to take pictures of everything you see.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

A lovely little flower shop tucked in one of the alleys in the city.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

There are bikes everywhere, EVERYone bikes - from moms with two kids in the front basket to business people dressed in suits going to work.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

One of our very own city bikers - always 100 meters ahead.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

The absolutely gorgeous giant baskets of petunia had me every time. So beautiful and abundant.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com

We biked with the kids all over the city, and although I was afraid at times that we were going to get hit by a car, or by another biker, it never happened because everyone is pretty respectful of one another and patient with city biking rookies like myself. So, we had a very fun time cruising around the city and seeing everything.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Arasteh Underwood
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Arasteh Underwood
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

I loved stopping by the beautiful Albert Cuypmarkt close to where we were staying to buy some food and flowers.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Oriental poppies grow like weed in Amsterdam. I was envious and in awe!!

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

I took a quick trip with my youngest son to the amazing Rijksmuseum for some Dutch Masters while the others were waiting in the very long line for the Anne Frank Museum. We made it back just as they were getting in (2+ hours later).

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

On our walk to Rijksmuseum we encountered these beauties.

Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com | Photography: Nathan Underwood / nruphoto.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com
Kiana Underwood / tulipina.com

Credits:

Photography, styling and design by Kiana Underwood Select photography by Nathan Underwood and Arasteh Underwood.