Friday, March 14, 2014

Flower Field Trip

With snow in the forecast yet, those of us in the Northern hemisphere are longing for the beauty and warmth of Spring.

Since we're not getting it this week, I thought we'd take a virtual Flower Field Trip.

I missed the Philadelphia Flower Show so instead, I'm taking you to the Garment District of NYC to the home of M & S Schmalberg.

This field trip is courtesy of Allie Aller who took us there in April of 2011...


We were introduced to the owner Warren Brand and his son, Adam, who took us on full tour of the flower-making operations.


The company is fourth-generation,  family-owned and it shows in the personal, warm service that we received. 

I can see why Allie had been working with them for the past few years.  On this trip, she brought Warren a copy of her first book which she autographed and left with him...


Here's how it works.  You can choose fabric from their huge selection of silks, velvets, organzas, etc... or you can provide your own fabric.

Then a flower type and size is chosen from the hundreds of dies that are available...



Here are some of the smallest options that are available...



The dies are then placed on top of many layers of the fabric and cut out by using a large press...



Once the petals are cut out...


They head to another machine where they are put into a mold and pressed into shape...



After shaping, they head to the folks who assemble the petals into finished flowers...


What a job title...Flower Maker.



The flowers are all hung by their stems upside down on wire until the glue dries...



They are the prettiest rows ever.

The flowers are then placed in boxes to either be shipped out...


Or to be placed on the shelves...


Where beautiful people like Cathy Kizerian can shop to their heart's content...


We all had fun gathering flowers and planning our "gardens".  Allie uses hers in the quilts she makes and the classes she teaches...



If this all sounds like too much fun...you're in luck.  Allie will be teaching a class as part of the Quilt Alliance's Quilters Take Manhattan Event called Composite Flower Motifs at The City Quilter in NYC on Friday, September 19 from 1:00pm-4:00pm which includes a field trip to M & S Schmalberg.

Allie will also be participating in a Quilters Design Mash-up at the Event where, in an iron-chef-style smack down, designers will have fabrics thrown at them and only one hour to design a quilt top on a design wall.  I would LOVE to see that.  

If you can't make it to NYC for the Quilt Alliance event or to visit Schmalberg in person, you can always send them an email or call with special requests.


If you enjoy Allie and her work, her second book, Quilting: Just a Little Bit Crazy is coming out in May, details are here...AND she's on QNNTV teaching 3-D Fower Embellishments...details here.  

I hope you enjoyed my flower field trip today and that it gives you a bright start to your weekend.  

Happy day.

12 comments:

dreaminginstitches said...

Just wanted to thank you for such a beautiful post - how amazingly uplifting to know there's a company out there actually creating such pretty things - it's sometimes hard to believe that sort of thing still happens in today's world. Gorgeous and very welcome on a still cold spring weekend.

Rachel said...

What a wonderful, inspiring field trip. I'm sure it's given you ideas and inspirations for your flowers!

bluemuf said...

Thank you for the uplifting virtual tour. It's so nice to see flowers of any type.
Looking forward to when the snow finally disappears

Karen from Canada

Mary Ann said...

Thank you for the field trip:) We had lots more snow but it was the fluffy kind. Today the sun is shining and it's melting...roll on spring.

Linda H said...

Susan, how great to see these pics again - what a wonderful day we had. I had so much fun with you, Allie, Helen and Cathy. Thanks for the memories!! (I'm always up for a repeat performance, by the way!)
Hugs,
Linda

margaret said...

I had no idea how the flowers were made, lovely journey you took us on. Have Allie`s book on my list and will check her out on QNNtv, must look more often as my subs will have run out before i have taken advantage of all it has to offer. More hours in the day please.

Cheryl @ Bingle Bears said...

Thank you SO much for posting about this! It looks like a dream land! I think I'm going to have to arrange a fieldtrip.

Hugs,
Cheryl

liniecat said...

Fascinating and enjoyable to read and see!
I recall helping mum and dad make roses back in the early 60's with red crepe paper which were boxed up and sent off to be dunked in wax by someone esle!
I guess they were too time consuming to make or it was poorly paid home work, because we didn't do them after the first 2 boxes!!

Nancy said...

What a wonderful and informative post! Thank you so much. I am not far from NYC - and after my knee replacements, I am headed at least to Mood, but now have a second place to visit too. Thanks again. Just fabulous.

Createology said...

Such a fun and fabulous field trip. What an array of beautiful flowers they make. I love seeing how these dies and tooling actually stamp out the petals. Thank you for the tour.

Cathy Kizerian said...

Oh my! Like Linda, it was fun to relive that visit. You, Allie, Helen and Linda were such fun co-conspirators in the Taking of NYC in April, 2011 (LOL). I believe we came home much poorer monetarily, but much richer in experiences, appreciation for beauty and handwork, and great memories. Thanks for that day, Susan!

Catherine said...

How fun to see this process!

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