DRESS

Creativity of local Triple Wren Farms in June issue of Florists’ Review

   CUSTER — Triple Wren Farms gets into national media in a rather interesting way. Five of the farm’s “floral dresses” are featured in this month’s issue of Florists’ Review.

  According to the publication, at its heart American Flowers Week (June 28-July 4) focuses on the origin of each beautiful stem, where it comes from and who is the grower behind that bloom. The campaign also shines a light on floral design, promoting domestic flowers and foliage as a desired product category, inspiring professionals and consumers with “a new aesthetic connected to locality, seasonality and sustainability.”

  While anyone can visualize floral designs in fabric, the creations by Triple Wren’s Sarah Pabody use real flowers to embellish garments — and the results are stunning.

  “Our dresses were chosen to be part of a Botanical Couture Collection to celebrate the sixth annual American Flowers Week,” Sarah wrote. “This was not a competition, but we were contacted by the Collection organizers when they saw images of our dresses and asked if we would be a part of the event. American Flowers Week is the advocacy, education and outreach campaign produced by Slow Flowers Society and slowflowers.com.”

  Sarah, farm co-owner and its wedding floral designer, designed and put together the garments with a team that then photographed them being modeled in the fields and farm greenhouse. In the “Back to Nature” story (https://floristsreview.com/back-to-nature/), Sarah explains her process done during harvests of the past two years. The models selected dresses that wouldn’t be worn again, but fit well.

  An excerpt from the magazine explains the process: “She fits the garment on a dress form that is protected by plastic wrap. The ‘base garment’ hangs from the dress form, allowing for flowers to be applied as the fabric falls against its curves. Sometimes there is too much fabric, and excess ruffles or overskirts are cut away, or the lining is used by itself. ‘If the dress has a very full skirt, I know it will take hundreds more flowers to cover,’ Sarah explains. ‘Each of these garments weighs about 20 pounds when finished.’”

  The day before production, Sarah harvests dahlias by palette, placing them in buckets of water to be stored overnight in her cooler. “In these conditions, the stems take up water, and the flowers are more turgid, which means they’ll last longer once we start working,” she explained.

  She estimates that full-length gowns require about 600 dahlia, depending on the size of the flower head. When she uses design assistants, each team has a work station with tools, supplies, flowers and the dress form.

  While conventional wisdom might suggest that hot glue is damaging to dahlia heads, Sarah has found it to be the perfect medium for working quickly. “If you use cold glue, you would have to hold each flower in place for 45 seconds, which means you could produce only one dress in an eight-to-10-hour period,” she estimates. “We try to use the smallest amount of hot glue possible, but I’ve found it works really well and doesn’t damage the dahlia.”

  While at first focused on dahlias, Sarah intends to use other flowers, such as roses and peonies, in her fashion design in the future.

  “I think my techniques work with any flower that can hold up well out of water or flowers you’d use in a foam-free arbor design,” she said in her interview.

  This approach is also available for clients. Sarah customizes mother-daughter dahlia outfits for clients who want to wear flowers for portrait photography.

  Growing an assortment of flowers on approximately nine of 22 acres, Triple Wren flowers have been shipped across the country and into wholesale florist markets in Seattle.

  While much has been cancelled in Whatcom County due to COVID-19, Triple Wren is still planning for several events that are updated on Facebook including U-pick blueberries, fall pumpkins and flower events. The first Flower Therapy and Sunset Yoga was last Saturday, June 20, and it was sold out in advance. Space is available later in the summer for the Flower Therapy class on July 17, and in both Flower Therapy and Sunset Yoga on Aug.15. The farm’s noted one-day Dahlia Festival is still on for Sept. 12. Costs, availability and sign-up are all online. Social media followers continue to see the farm’s latest harvest items.

  A March 10, 2020, Lynden Tribune/Ferndale Record article looked at the history of the farm.