By Jessica Isaacs | [email protected]
Many creative minds find inspiration for their work in the natural world that surrounds them; but for this local artist, nature and art are one and the same.
A background in the performing arts and a passion for Mother Nature’s greatest treasures have come together for floral designerFuschia Moss, who creates unique, dramatic and breathtaking arrangements for weddings and special events in the High Country.
Fuschia Moss Floral Design
In high school, Moss studied dance at the nationally honored Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in her hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. She earned a full scholarship to the New World School of the Arts in Miami, where she later pursued higher education.
With a formal degree in the performing arts under her belt, she eventually made her way to North Carolina’s High Country. Several years later, an administrative career at Blowing Rock’s Westglow Resort and Spa gave her a glimpse into the local wedding industry, and the rest is history.
“Floral design sort of happened accidentally for me. During my early days at Westglow, I always found myself drawn to a quick peek at what the in-house florist had created for the week,” said Moss. “I was so interested in what she would create that I had to know more. She would explain the types of flowers and the mechanics of the design.
“This went on for a while, until one day she asked me to do the flowers one week while she was out of town. That was it — I was hooked! Soon after, she was ready to retire the task and I eagerly took over for her. Then I created my first wedding, which was my own.”
Moss had quickly discovered her professional niche, which has also allowed her creative side to flourish. About four years ago, she took a leap of faith and opted to pursue her passion for floral design as a full-time career.
“With the arrival of our third child, my husband and I made the decision that I would stay home and book events and weddings during wedding season,” she said. “This is a great way to be with my children, have flexibility and pursue something that I love.”
Today, she works from her home studio, which allows her to be an artist, an entrepreneur and a mom to her three children.
“I have three of the most amazing helpers ever. They are the best sweepers, bucket cleaners, stem trimmers, trash removers and candle counters I could ever ask for,” said Moss. “At the ages of 10, 8 and 4, we thought it was a great time for them to learn about work, and in return they get to earn a little spending money.
“My husband is also a big supporter and my number one cheerleader. He will stay up with me into the wee hours of the morning, keeping me awake and feeding me coffee. There are many 4 a.m. nights in the peak of wedding season, and, when I’ve booked several events in one weekend, there is little sleep until Sunday.”
Every artist is inspired in a unique and personal way by the world around them, and it’s no different for this expert floral designer.
“My dance background and dance in general is the leading source of my inspiration: shapes, movement, color, emotion — the story. Then there is art,” said Moss. “Luckily, I have remained friends with so many artists from my school and I am blown away on a daily basis by their photography, drawings and paintings. I am so proud of what they all have done for themselves, and that inspires me.”
Music is also among the elements that fuel her creative process.
“Of course, music inspires through a melody or the story told in the lyrics, and I could never work without it,” she said. “I love all genres, but disco gets me through those 4 a.m. nights.”
The glory of the High Country plays its own part in the development of her ideas, as well.
“We live in a constantly changing canvas. God and Mother Nature have provided all of this for us,” she said. “The colors range from gray, leafless, barren and wind-blown to beautiful, vibrant green meadows; from bluebird skies to soft pink rhododendron against mossy covered rocks. How can you not be inspired?”
Working with Clients
From the first email or phone call the bride makes until the designs are delivered on the wedding date, Moss works one-on-one with each client to make sure her work accurately reflects their vision for the big day and exceeds their expectations.
She’ll sit down with you and talk about your ideas in detail, and then she’ll begin her own creative process to make sure it all comes to life.
“I have come to realize that my light bulb doesn’t usually go off until after I’m driving home from a meeting,” Moss said. “I’m driving and thinking about all the basic needs for their wedding, and that’s usually when things come to me — after I’ve heard about their vision and their wish lists.
“Then I jump on my computer (if I don’t have to make someone a snack, fold the laundry or empty the dishwasher first) and I start researching. Checking availability on certain flowers, checking on how many lanterns I have in stock, reviewing the Pinterest page they sent me … and I start plugging it all in. Sometimes it takes me a little while to get the final results, and sometimes I get it right away.”
Moss brings her designs to fruition with meticulously selected flowers from all over the world, and she makes those decisions based on the specific requests from her clients.
“I wish I could order from our local growers all year, but, as we all know, beautiful mountain flowers are on a short time frame and limited to what Mother Nature has up her sleeve. Many flowers come from Florida, California and the Northwest,” she said. “However, about 78 percent of standard roses come from Colombia and Ecuador, where they are grown in massive greenhouses. The climate is simply perfect there for them.”
In the event that a bride has her heart set on something out of season, like the perfect blush peony that’s not yet available locally, Moss can find what they’re looking for, although its likely to be more expensive.
“I can get them, but they will probably come from an off-season supplier, like Israel, and could cost double or triple the price. There was an event a few years ago for which I ordered the most incredibly vibrant purple Vanda Orchids that had been shipped from Thailand,” she said. “They were individually packed with pieces of cotton with an outer layer of foam padding for each stem. I felt like I was unwrapping a lost treasure, and it was very exciting.
“Most customers don’t realize how much time and research goes into finding the right bloom, confirming availability, getting the best price and scheduling delivery just in time for the wedding day.”
As with any art form, creating one-of-a-kind designs is a process of inspiration, growth and development for Moss.
“There is so much I love about working with flowers. I am constantly learning, and sometimes failing. It happens — broken corsages, wilting hydrangea, falling garland, moss catching fire from a candle (yes, it’s true and it happens),” she said. “But I learn from it and I love it. It’s always an experience, and always a little different.
“I absolutely adore creating beautiful settings for my brides. When I bring the bouquets to the dressing room, I see the client that I have been working with for so, so long and she’s in her dress, that dress I’ve seen in pictures hundreds of times, it’s magical. I almost always cry. I love that part.”
Fuschia Moss Floral Design is a member of the High South Event Professionals network — a community of like-minded industry pros who work together to promote the mountains of western North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and southwestern Virginia as the premier special events destination in the Southeast.
She sees the association as an invaluable resource for local business owners, and now serves as membership chair on its board of directors.
“This network of friends and professionals is key to the success of all of us. We really are like family. I know that if I am running low on white hydrangea and just need 10 more stems, then I can confidently call any of my fellow florists and see if they have extra to spare,” said Moss. “On the off chance that I have a weekend free in the wedding season, I will often call and see if anyone needs help, and vice versa.
“I have several projects this year where I am working alongside other florists. I just feel like we are all in this together and we will be so much stronger if we support each other. It’s also great knowing that I can recommend a caterer or cake baker or photographer with confidence and encouragement.”
Meet her and other preferred local vendors at the High South Wedding Expo at the Boone Mall on Sunday, March 20.
Fuschia Moss Floral Design currently offers floral design for special events, weddings and some daily delivery upon availability.
A few examples of Fuschia’s work: