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emc community emcdesigner inspirational stories Sep 05, 2021

A Conversation with Patti Bowman

EMC Teacher and creative floral designer

Patti is an example of a person with well developed right and left sides of the brain.  She has concurrent careers in both information technology and floral design and both complement each other nicely. Her determination and desire to grow as a floral designer has let to Patti joining the EMC Core Team as a Teacher and successfully helping students to grow and unlock their creativity.

a blog by Ellen Seagraves

She first became interested in flowers as a gardener.  She worked in the yard with her grandfather as a child and was particularly taken with poppies.  As an adult,  she had her own garden and grew so many flowers that she began making bouquets to give to friends.  

Patti took classes at the NY Botanical Garden and graduated in 2010  with a certificate in floral design. After graduation she opened her floral design business and as she often traveled to Europe for her technology work she would buy European floral design magazines.  An ad for EMC caught her eye and she waited until the program came to the US to apply.

She says that EMC is her happy place and provides a great balance in her life with career I asked Patti if she had done much work creating structures prior to EMC and she replied that she is also a student of ikebana and had worked with natural branch structures in that discipline.  Structures have become a key focus of her floral art. 

She delights in researching and developing various applications of techniques to create constructions and structures.    This research harks back to her student studies of science and technology.  Adding materials like wax and plaster,  experimenting with different techniques such as stitching and subjecting materials to cold and hot temperatures all help her come up results that she can incorporate into her work to make it uniquely hers.

Like many artists, Patti has been affected by the occurrences in the world particularly during the Pandemic.  She said that during this past year, many of her pieces had a closed character and reflected the inward direction that was a reaction for so many people.

Patti has strong environmental and sustainability concerns and is always aware of local sourcing, recycling and repurposing as she works.  She and her husband recently relocated to Virginia from New Jersey and she has begun to garden in a different temperature zone with the goal of growing unusual flowers and foliage for her work.

Her strongest influences in the floral world include Constance Spry and many current giants in the field including Hitomi Gilliam, Gregor Lersch and Tomas De Bruyne.  Akihiro Kasuya and Naohiro Kasuya of the Ichiyo School of Ikebana have also made a major impact.

Patti follows floral trends in addition to other trends in other worlds of design including colour, fashion, art, furnishings and textiles.  All of these interests make her work uniquely her own.

The evolution of her work continues.  Her move has led her to garden in a different climactic zone and exposed her to different flowers and foliages.  This move has also provided a look at different terrains and has provided new catalysts for creativity. She has a renewed interest in photography and is looking into classes in different media to expand her overall approach to her art.

"Last June we moved and now live off of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.  I have found much inspiration from the water, the marine fauna and the other surrounding wildlife. The light is fabulous, much better than the light in my studio, so I step outside and take the photos.  When the weather is suitable, I do my designing outside on an aged table from the original home owners which is specially configured for enjoying oysters and crabs with two rectangular holes for discarding the shells.  It’s perfect for designing, I place buckets in the holes and easily keep my work table clean.  It is quite spectacular if I am designing early morning, I get the added bonus of watching the watermen harvest the oysters and crabs from their boats." Patti Bowman   

A main tenet of  the EMC philosophy is planning for the outcome as the beginning of the process and that is a change from the way she designed prior to her studies in the European Master Certification program. Understanding and knowing the outcome in advance has helped her with theory and planning, with her overall floral and business work.

Patti exemplifies an artist who is a seeker, always looking at materials both natural and man-made and considering ways to incorporate them in unusual ways into her art. 

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