Growing up I would spend weekends watching my grandmother as she would work into the night creating the most beautiful designs out of wood and dried flowers. Although she had a full time job, her passion brought her back to that craft room each and every weekend.
20 years ago while working a full time job and going to school full time, I found myself doing the very same thing. Although my craft was different it was my passion that kept me going each and every weekend. Wedding after wedding my heart would grow fonder when making someone’s dream a reality.
In 2006, after volunteering for a year, I accepted a position at Fresno State University teaching floral design to university students and managing an on campus flower shop. My career at Fresno State brought on great milestones for me. In 2008 I received my bachelors degree in Business Administration with emphasis in Entrepreneurship. In June 2011 I was awarded the honor of being named a Coleman Fellow, through the Lyles Center for Entrepreneurship. A distinguished honor for instructors who establish and teach courses incorporating entrepreneurship into their current subject and in August 2011 I was awarded the honor of being classified as a Certified Floral Designer (CFD) by the American Institute of Floral Design. The floral industry’s leading non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the art of floral design through education, AIFD created its CFD program, in part, to provide a tool for consumers to use when selecting a professional floral designer. CFD recognition is granted only after a floral designer has demonstrated their understanding of the concepts of design through education pathways and then by subjecting their floral design work to a vigorous peer evaluation conducted by an international panel of design experts.
In 2014 I volunteered my time to design a build out of an existing building that would become an add-on flower shop for an existing business. In 2015 I resigned from Fresno State and took a position managing that very shop. After only a year and a half the owners decided to discontinue the addition. Most people that know me will tell you how passionate I am about what I do and that passion many times turns into emotion for that which I love. So most would have thought that I would have been devastated, but in fact I was motivated.
At that moment Willow & Water was formed. It took me a month to come up with a name that was fitting for my vision. The name stemmed from the emotion I felt when I made the decision to be independent again, and the effort to bring myself back to the basics and make Willow and Water all about the things that I always loved about flower arranging and life. The willow tree has an amazing characteristic, in that, when a branch is removed it can be placed in just water and soon after roots will appear and a new tree is made. It still has the history of the old tree but it is, with all its glory it’s very own. With a little fertilizer or in my case the love and support of my family and friends and the amazing laughter of my children, that tree will grow endlessly.