by Sarah Wilkins | Photography by Kelly Jung
Fleur’s Kelly Marie Uss and Amy Sokol share a passion for flowers that reflects perfectly in each of their sweet, colorful, original arrangements. The two recently shared with The Urbaness about their inspirations, their art and the joy of working in the Logan Square neighborhood.


How do you make your arrangements reflect your clients, and what do you look for or hope to know in order to come up with the perfect, personal arrangement?
Kelly:
I love when clients come in and pick out a few stems that speak to them. After that we’ll suggest and add some shapes and colors to compliment or contrast. It’s so wonderful remembering what our client’s favorite flowers are.

Amy:
We just ask people to bring in what they love—ribbons, flowers, a color palette—and just toss ideas around and get the ball rolling that way. It’s great when we get to use our creativity.


What are your favorite flowers and materials to work with?
Kelly:
Asking a florist their favorite flower is almost asking us to pick a favorite child. Although I do tend to love flowers with short lived seasons and shelf life. Helleborus and poppies don't last long once they’re cut, so when I bring them home I made sure to drink in all of their beauty. It’s a nice reminder that we have to stop sometimes and enjoy what’s around us.

Amy:
My favorite flowers are protea, and wild flowers that have a really loose, whimsical, very organic feel. I love celosia, cosmos, and really lush, beautiful greens.


What are a few words that you would use to describe Fleur’s work?
Kelly:
I would say that our arrangements are very romantic, but with a slightly wild and overgrown touch. I like pieces of stems and vine curling off to the side, I like the feeling that they were found in a secret garden. They have a tailored shape, but then there is some movement that lessens the formality.

Amy:
Effortless, magical … a midsummer night’s dream. Fanciful. It’s like a forest, or campsite, and rustic. But like a fairytale, there is a lot of whimsy.


Who or what inspires your work?
Kelly:
So often the flowers themselves, but overall I think it’s color in general. I read a lot of art books. I like Dutch impressionism and contemporary flat planes of color. And I love texture.

Amy:
Saipua, Small Stump and Studio Choo, nature. Christian Tortu—he is from France, and his design is unbelievable, wild and beautiful.


What do you love the most about your job?
Kelly:
My staff. They’re amazing and I could not do what I do without them. They are so hard working, so loyal and put up with me changing a design last minute and reorganizing out studio in the middle of wedding season. They make me laugh and I love watching them grow as designers, and when they see a new flower for the first time. It’s a nice reminder that we are so very lucky to work with such beauty.

Amy:
Flowers are my paint. I get to be creative, and I love them. They speak to me. Flowers are very symbolic of our lives—they are inherently brief and beautiful. They have this cycle from beginning to end, and it’s amazing.


Kelly, what inspired you to start Fleur, and why did you choose to locate Fleur in Logan Square?
Kelly:
I’ve always loved working with flowers. It started out as a joke when I was a little girl, telling my dad not to throw away a pair of old, wooden sleds because I wanted to use them as decor in my flower shop one day. I didn’t truly expect to be a florist, but I think that the flowers actually found me. Logan Square was the only option I ever considered. Its charm and boulevards had captivated me for years.


What has your experience in the neighborhood been like?
Kelly:
Logan Square is just so delightful. I still see clients from Fleur’s first week in business, and love seeing the little children who were just wee tots now all grown up. The neighborhood has really flourished for businesses, yet still maintains diversity. That’s so important.



What is your favorite city destination?
Kelly:
The Garfield Park Conservatory is just magic. Walking through its rooms brings me to such a level of peace and comfort. And I love walking around the lagoon at Humboldt Park. Finding little spots of nature in the city is so very special.

What makes Chicago home to you?
Kelly:
Taking walks in the mornings. I love waking up and looking out at the clouds over the lake. I love walking through the streets surrounded by trees and lovely, old three flats. It’s amazing how much this city loves nature. Every bit of soil in front of homes is filled with rose bushes, marigolds, wildflowers and more. There are pots and window boxes filled with seasonal annuals all over the place. Walking past these little city gardens is just magic.
Photography by Kelly Jung
“Our arrangements are very romantic, but with a slightly wild and overgrown touch. I like pieces of stems and vine curling off to the side, I like the feeling that they were found in a secret garden.”
– Kelly Marie Uss
Photography by Kelly Jung
Photography by Kelly Jung
“Flowers are very symbolic of our lives...they are inherently brief and beautiful. They have this cycle from beginning to end, and it’s amazing.”
– Amy Sokol
Photography by Kelly Jung
Photography by Kelly Jung
Photography by Kelly Jung
Photography by Kelly Jung
Photography by Kelly Jung
Photography by Kelly Jung
“I’ve always loved working with flowers. It started out as a joke when I was a little girl, telling my dad not to throw away a pair of old, wooden sleds because I wanted to use them as decor in my flower shop one day.”
– Kelly Marie Uss
Photography by Kelly Jung
Photography by Stephanie Bassos
2012-09-25