Today we’d like to introduce you to Danielle Lewis.
Hi Danielle, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
To say that my floral journey started less than a year ago would be in accurate in that I launched DAWN. Then, but I think that my artistic journey truly started in preschool because that was when I was put in my first ballet class. I look back and I have always deeply loved art and over the years, I have only grown to love it more. I did ballet for 14 years, I’ve drawn and painted ever since I can remember, and in college I began to teach myself to play chords on the piano. And it has been through these disciplines as well as the mundane moments in life that God has opened my eyes to the power and necessity of art and beauty.
Now my primary medium for my art are flowers.
My very first wedding was September of 2019 for a friend of a friend. I honestly had no idea what I was doing and most definitely did not understand pricing, but that experience was so important! It was really what solidified in my heart the desire to start a business of my own.
From there, I just began to tell people that I do coordination and flowers, I started an Instagram and made a website. Those were the very first basic steps and there are countless others I’ve had to take, but I think that the most important steps for me were growing in confidence in what I have to offer and just taking time to create and genuinely connect with others. To create and connect is a gift in itself. And in the creating and connecting, I’ve felt so encouraged. We need others and I know that DAWN would not exist if it were not for the many who have taken the time to offer words of encouragement, their time, their strength, their gifts and their care.
This job has invited me into such an incredible community of so many creative and beautiful humans and has also invited me to face the challenges of learning to manage my time, create healthy boundaries, set goals, and not succumb to the pressures to constantly produce something. Some things grow in their own time and there of seasons to all things. But man, this is a season I am really truly so thankful for.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
One of the biggest challenges along the way has actually been comparison. I’ve come to find that more than the struggle to run my business as the sole employee managing countless roles, it is what comparison breeds that has been what feels most discouraging and has faced me as my biggest challenge.
I think that as humans, this is something that we all experience to some degree or another. And as an artist and a small business owner, I have struggled with comparison to other artists and the work their creating. I have struggled in comparing myself to other small business owners, looking at how their doing it and have questioned if I need to be doing it that way too. I have struggled in comparing my situations to the narrative I’ve created for myself of where I thought I would be in my business, in my art, in my life- by a certain time.
It’s so easy to create our own expectations and narrative in our mind that says we need to have this *certain thing* accomplished by this *exact* time. And don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in setting goals, but I think that with the goals comes grace and trust. We must have grace for ourselves in the moments we are feeling weak or discouraged and we must have trust in the value of the very process. Being an artist has taught me that. Not only does art create a space to heal, to be encouraged, to grieve, to be strengthened, but the process of making art is in itself an opportunity for all of those things. I used to struggle to call myself an artist, although I didn’t hesitate to describe myself as artistic. That came from looking at other artists and feeling unworthy of the title. However, in simply choosing to recognize that I am an artist, I have found even more freedom and joy in the process. The florals I put together are art, the wedding designs I dream up are art, and the transforming of a space is art.
I’m an artist daily making an effort to push away from the tendency towards comparison with God’s help.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a floral designer, stylist, and wedding coordinator.
It has been a process to put words to the art I create through florals and design, but I’ve always gravitated towards being in creation, have always been inspired by fashion, and delight in the little things. I know that my work is greatly influenced by this. My art is organic, taking care to consider the natural disposition of each individual stem and human alike. And I take great joy in this.
When a client comes to me, I don’t have something rigid to offer but instead create a proposal based on their story and what they love and what they desire their day to signify. Similarly, in arrangements I don’t have a set recipe that applies to every piece I create, but instead, I create using a specifically curated color palette and consider the space it will be in.
I love to create arrangements that remind me of nature and the ways things grow at their own pace in their own time. So my pieces will never have flowers that are all the same exact heights, but rather some stems may reach up and out while others curve and down and to the left. This also helps in creating depth and elegance as colors can complement and blend where they need to and pop where they need to. I love curating floral designs that feel wild but elegant, intricate, but not heavy. I do so by pairing different textures, being mindful of negative space, and allowing my creativity to be inspired by the ingredients rather than what I think the arrangement needs to look like.
In coordination, my greatest priority is that those I interact with feel loved. If I can plan a flawless timeline, but the other vendors feel overlooked, then that doesn’t mean much. As a coordinator, I get to put together the details, small and large as well as get to be with a person at some of the most intimate and precious moments of their life, and that to me is a gift not just a ‘gig’.
So in short in my work, I consider, I create, and I cultivate.
I consider others. I consider each flower – its shape, its hue, and its size. I consider the individual in what I’m creating. I consider joy, pain, peace, beauty.
I create freely. I create spaces for community to come together. I create beauty out of chaos. I create safe spaces for people.
I cultivate evidenced beauty. I prioritize growth. I cultivate in preparation for the new. I cultivate practices that are establish sustainability.
Alright, so to wrap up, is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
I simply want to encourage you. I hope that if you read this that today you would take time to simply pause and think about something beautiful. Maybe it is someone beautiful to you, something you saw on your way to work, or something you’ve learned. I believe there is beauty present in so many places and we have yet to see it as so.
You are beautiful because you were handcrafted by a beautiful Creator and you are created to create whatever that may look like- so I hope you do it! I hope you create even in the midst of discouragement or confusion.
Because the process of creating is in itself beautiful.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.dawn-co.com
- Instagram: @_dawn.co
Image 1: Katie Swenson @katieswensonphoto image 2: couple in front of lake Cassey + AJ Ver @verthemakers image 3 + 4: Elisenda Farison @elisendafarison image 5+6: Katie Swenson @katieswensonphoto image 7: Michelle Allan @michelleallan.photo image 8: Nicole and Zachary Weaver @weaver_media