Saturday, September 19, 2015

Artist Spotlight: Katie Reim of Cultivar

   For this week's Artist Spotlight, I've chosen the gorgeous work of Katie Reim from Cultivar.  I first saw Katie's work when I had a shop on Etsy .  I loved nothing better than to wait for that exact moment the treasury spots opened up and then scour Etsy and my own favorites list for things to put into a collection.  Katie's work was always at the head of the list when I searched for satin flowers.  
       I pined over her unique creations and the beautiful way she photographed them.  But Katie's work is more than that, it is born of adversity and has bloomed into the opportunity to spend each day doing what she loves. 

In Katie's own words:
      Cultivar started as an accident and opened with no plan or expectations. While recovering and bedridden after brain surgery in 2009, I began experimenting with making fabric flowers for my new short haircut. With so much time on my hands, a few flowers quickly turned into a living room full. Once I was able to spend more time off the couch, I threw together a shop and posted a few flowers. It must have been meant to be, since on the second day I landed on the front page, and my first few sales motivated me to make even more. In the years that have followed, Cultivar has evolved immensely and become my full time job.

Bleu Avenue:  Hello, Katie, thank you for taking time to talk with me.  Yours is a truly amazing story. If not for all these circumstances like being bedridden and having to manage short hair, do you think that this is an art form you would have ever considered?

Katie Reim:  I honestly don’t see any other way I could have arrived here. It started as a way to pass the time and when I decided to throw some of the flowers on Etsy, as another way to pass time, I really had no expectations of selling any. I had tried some other ventures on Etsy and failed pretty miserably. I had big plans for diving into my illustration career once I regained my health, so being a crafter likely would have remained a hobby otherwise.

B:  This whole endeavor began in 2009 and you're still going strong. What's your secret to staying inspired?

KR:  My clients really keep me going. Brides often come to me with new color combinations or ideas, which help keep things fresh. I also find inspiration in the vintage bits I find. A piece of antique lace or a sparkly brooch from the 50’s can set the tone for me to create around it. Even when I’m making the same thing over and over, I know it’s going to be a special piece for that bride to keep and possibly pass down so I want it to be perfect.

B:  I really thing that that shows in your work.  You have a great eye for composition. Each piece seems to be its own little world. How do you know when a bouquet or even a single flower is just the right arrangement?

KR:  Composition is something I’ve always been naturally good at and I have a terrible time explaining it. It just looks right to me. The balance of colors is definitely important for the bouquets so before I put a bouquet together, I lay out the large flowers first and fill in with whatever looks best as I put it together. Many of my pieces evolve as I work on them and don't always turn out the way I originally intended.

  B:  You mentioned earlier that you've tried other endeavors on Etsy in the past.  Today you're still actively creative in other art forms.  In addition to Cultivar, you also have an Etsy shop for your illustrations and you do photography. Do you find it difficult to juggle all your creative outlets or are there still more out there you'd like to try?

KR:  As an ultra runner, I spend a ton of time running trails in the PNW wilderness. This gives me my photography fix that I’ve become increasingly more addicted to. I do wish I had more time for illustration and experimenting since I have a ton of ideas floating around in my head that often come to me while I’m running. I never can seem to find time to get those ideas out. It can be overwhelming and frustrating but I’m grateful I have been able to make a living doing something creative and that I truly love, so I suppose those ideas can wait.

B:  I agree, never let go of those ideas, just put them on hold for a while.  What about those people out there who've had some creative ideas waiting for a while and feel like they're ready to get started, do you have any advice for aspiring crafters?

KR:  I say go for it but be sure to be original. Finding inspiration around you is what makes an artist, but you will be much more passionate about something that is your own and your love and passion will show through your work. Originality will leave you more fulfilled as well as successful.

Following your passion can be a huge risk, but the payoff if you succeed is well worth it.
You can find Katie's Bouquets at
See her illustrations at
View her portfolio at


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