'Saying Goodbye With Grace and Beauty' with Lewis Miller

Last Thursday, Lewis Miller of LMD hosted six FSNY students at his downtown studio for a workshop on sympathy flowers. Lewis explained how sympathy flowers are often either overlooked or under-appreciated by many florists due to the morbid subject matter of this work as well as the idea that flowers for funerals are often common and mundane. Lewis, on the other hand, embraces the opportunity to celebrate individuals, their passions, and who they were in life.

In the workshop Lewis demonstrated his elevated design principles through four different fictional biographies; each scenario was very different but specific to that individual’s life, whether they were a loving mother, outdoorsman who loved the environment, a young woman who passed away too young or a chic and modern quintessential older New Yorker.

While creating each vignette, Lewis told the class to always remember the ‘double duty’ of the arrangement. Many occasions the arrangements are often brought back the house after the service, so you want to think of their possible double purpose and make sure they could work in multiple locations. Having something that the family can hold or give to the alter, like the lavender bundles, are a beautiful and sentimental addition. Similarly, it is thoughtful to create a small arrangement that Lewis calls “a floral moment” which can be placed inside the casket.

An interesting point about sympathy design, as opposed to wedding or event design work, is that that sympathy flowers are of the moment. There are usually no long months of planning, but you must use what is fresh and seasonal at the market right then and there; which allows for great creativity and ingenuity.

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