Living in New York City, especially in winter, can be a constant assault of grey. But turn the corner, and suddenly an unexpected floral moment will bring a smile to your face. The windows at Anthropologie in Rockefeller Center turn pages from botany to life with their displays of humongous paper flowers.

Downtown in the flower market, the buckets are spilling over with masses of hydrangeas and their soft poufs of little petals.

Here at Jay Strongwater, the Flora and Fauna collection begins with the idea of carving an elephant in clay…

…and then slowly covering the entire form in hundreds of individual flowers.

We call it “Millefiori,” Italian for “thousands of flowers.” For spring 2013, this delicate technique captivates in both the elephant and large butterfly figurine, and also a frame alight with thirty-six butterflies. Each one is a collage of enameled and crystal-set flowers.

Seeing where this inspiration can lead us, we begin our first series of botanical pillows. Whether a field of poppies, a cluster of lilacs or a spray of tiny flowers, they all delight with a profusion of embroidered silk threads and faceted crystals on soft velvet. But I’m getting ahead of myself…more about that soon!

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