Makers for Makers: Flora + Form Studio
Danielle Romero has one of the most beautiful souls and I was so happy to connect her through Instagram, my favorite spot to find community. Her small business, Flora + Form, allows her breathe creativity into her life. Currently you can catch her working away on simplistic paintings that are nothing but extraordinary. What truly intrigued me about her work visually is the flow of the space she creates within her pieces. You can feel the passion, connection, and ease in her work. Step outside of just what she is making though and you find someone with such a good heart. She's an easy person to stand behind and support because—quite simply—she has your back as well. Danielle pours her love into other makers and shows us all what it means to support one another. I'm incredibly honored to share here story with you all today and encourage you to continue on reading below!
Tell us about Flora + Form.
Literally Flora + Form is an homage to my parents. Metaphorically, Flora + Form are the two halves of myself; Flora being a representation of my father and the love for nature, specifically plants, that he has engrained in me. Form is my mom, and like herself, is the part of me that has discovered a huge love of design. To me, my mom not only represents form in her chosen profession of interior design, but also in her strength. This is the essence of Flora + Form. What I strive to produce through Flora + Form is a lifestyle of creativity, while providing others with the fruits of that creativity in the form of art. Be it paintings, drawings, home goods or whatever else organically forms through my creative process, I want my work to translate the beauty I see in nature and convey the senses one might feel while surrounded by the natural world, bringing some of that into one's space.
What made you realize you needed to bring this dream to reality?
The process of realization was quite organic for me. I began Flora + Form as nothing other than a creative outlet and journey into getting to know myself. At the time, I had just gone through a major life change, equivalent for me, to getting married. That change affected me very negatively for the first year. Although I desired the change for years prior, actually going through it sent my highly sensitive anxiety into a frenzy of panic and depression. Almost a year in, when the feelings finally began to subside a bit, I realized I needed to find myself again. I began a journey with God, and through it prayed for the direction He wanted for my life. Soon after, I decided to pursue a desire I was feeling to learn a new craft that would allow me to use my free time immersed in creativity; painting. It was an interest I had always had but never gave much thought or time to. A few months into YouTube tutorials and experimentation, I created an Instagram account to hold myself a bit more accountable to this new creative hobby. I didn't/haven't told many people in my life about this hobby, even most of my closest friends, because I felt and still feel the need to keep it as pure as possible so that I can discover myself through this process without the unintended pressures people in one's life often place upon you. Again after some months of instagraming my inspirations and doodles as I thought of them back then, someone asked to purchase my work. Once the shock had subsided, and with the help of my business minded boyfriend, I realized this could be the answer to a lifestyle I have been searching for all of my life. It became clear to me that all of my indecisive career paths lead me to desire a career where I can simply create. That is when I began painting with the purpose of developing a lifestyle where the goal is to have the time, resources, and availability to create. That's the dream.
What are the core beliefs that drive your company?
As I've grown closer to God through this creative endeavor, the main concern of Flora + Form is to be a representation of the grace that has been shown to me. This is, to treat others with that same grace, in all situations and interactions. Another core belief is supporting other makers and creatives in their process as best I can.
What was your biggest obstacle when starting out?
Once I decided to form a company out of this hobby, there were definitely many obstacles. Most were simply small and annoying, but I would say the biggest one was not having the technological resources or knowledge to represent my company the way I wanted to. That also ties into not being able to offer certain products, like reprints of my original work, to customers and stockists. I'm still running things extremely low tech haha...
Do you have any makers you admired that have inspired you?
I have so many current makers that inspired and continue to inspire me. Satsuki Shibuya is one of my biggest inspirations not only for the aesthetic quality of her work, but also for the extremely humble and kind spirit she exudes. She constantly inspires me to continue to grow as an artist and person. A maker from the past that is also a huge, huge inspiration to me is Isamu Noguchi. His vision and perspective on art and nature always resonates with me.
What does your typical day as a Maker look like?
Unfortunately, I do not yet have the resources to be a maker full time. So, a typical week day for me is spent at my 9-5 day job. However, my weekends are usually spent in my studio (my bedroom that is hahaha). Those Saturdays and Sundays are when I get to dive into what makes me feel the closest to being fully immersed in nature, creating. But they always start with morning coffee with my boyfriend and sometimes our cat, depending on his mood (the cat that is). After coffee, I'll paint for about an hour, taking a break to make and eat breakfast. I go back to painting for another few hours until lunchtime. Afternoons are typically reserved for photographing work that will be posted to Instagram and (eventually) uploaded to the Flora + Form website/shop. Most weekends I also make sure to get in some time outdoors. My boyfriend and I are very blessed to live just 10 miles from Everglades National Park, so we make it a point to go exploring at least one of our weekend afternoons.
What do you love most about being a Maker?
The first thought that comes to mind when I think about the thing I love most about being a maker is the pure feeling of creating, and the connection to God that feeling brings. It is so often I finish a painting and think, "where was I during this?", it gives me this sense of freedom from the modern world we are so plugged in to, and at the same time a complete connection to what feels like the real world; I guess that spiritual dimension we can't see but only feel. This feeling is one where again, I've only ever felt while completely immersed in nature and creating.
What advice do you have for Makers just starting out?
The thing that I feel has helped me develop the most throughout this journey is learning to be in tune with what I want to see come from within myself. What it is I want to portray as a representation of myself. In the beginning I was experimenting with a lot of different styles, and subsequently gathering inspiration from a wide range of avenues. This was helpful, but it wasn't helpful for long. I came to a point where I disliked everything I was producing because I felt like none of it was me; that part of your being that gets into everything you touch or create was missing from my work, to me at least, and I needed to sit down with myself to discover and decide what I wanted to see in my work for myself and no one else. I'm not sure if that counts as advice haha, but I do feel that it got me to a place where I can visualize and produce more efficiently/effectively, so hopefully it helps someone! Also, ask other makers for help or advice! I have never been good at asking for help, but this journey made me much better. And I have been met with such generous advice and knowledge along the way. Lastly, try to be nice. It's not always easy, I know. I live in a city where rude people are a dime a dozen and it's tempting to be rude back; admittedly, sometimes it slips and anger overtakes you (me haha). But try to be nice. I have not always had the most positive and optimistic outlook, rather, it's been a longtime of practice to restrain my pessimistic/negative tendencies. In doing so, I realized nothing good comes from that kind of perspective, so although the outcome of being positive and nice may not always be what you wanted, I've never experienced it hinder my chances :).