Washington's source for compelling television and inspiring classical music. Donate Online
Wondering what to do with those beautiful summer flowers in your garden? Tonight at 8:00 on WETA TV26 and WETA HD, join expert floral designer and Washingtonian Sarah von Pollaro as she teaches how to create exquisite arrangements without breaking the bank. Flower Empowered with Sarah von Pollaro, one of the WETA’s latest original productions, is meant to show that working with flowers can be creative, affordable, and most importantly: fun! Passionate for floral design since a young age, Sarah has turned her love for flowers into Urban Petals, a business that not only creates arrangements for events, but also donates flowers and floral arranging classes to local non-profit organizations. She also inspires others to enjoy arranging flowers by sharing quick, easy, and seasonal ideas on her website, www.flowerempowered.com. Read our one-on-one interview with Sarah below and be sure to watch Flower Empowered with Sarah Von Pollaro on WETA TV26 and WETA HD.
Tuesday August 21, 2012 8:00pm
Sunday August 26, 2012 7:00pm
Q: When did you begin arranging flowers?
A: When I was just a child. At three years old with my grandmother. It was wonderful. She taught me all about wildflowers and we used to candy violets. I’ve always been a flower person and it’s been a big part of my life. I don’t know if I was born with it or it just happened but I love it.
Q: What inspired you to pitch the idea for Flower Empowered to WETA?
A: I believe that people are interested in flowers and want to know what to do with them. I also love teaching and showing people the possibilities of flowers. When I speak at garden clubs and small parties, people get so excited and always want to know more. I felt that people really wanted to know this information and then I asked myself ‘Where’s the best place to go with this?” And of course, it’s public television. Knowing that people want this knowledge is what gave me the drive to take this to WETA.
I also used to do these instructional online videos every week and people would contact me and tell me ‘We love these and we watch these over and over!’ And keep in mind, these were just the one-takes I would take on my flip camera. That’s what I came from and that’s what you’ll see on my website. I knew if people liked those, then they would have to be interested in a show. I really do believe that people want this and I’m so excited about getting the word out. I also really value public television the high level of quality that’s brought to the table at WETA. It’s an honor to have a show that’s produced and aired by WETA. I wouldn’t imagine it any better. And I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.
Q: What was the most exciting part about filming the show?
A: Getting to work with everyone at WETA. Every single person I meet here is incredible. It’s really an honor to go from filming in my kitchen by myself on a flip camera to working with camera man Ed Lee and all these wonderful people who are running around and helping me bring my vision to life. I’m still in shock. I can’t believe that this is happening and I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Everyone was so supportive and helpful and believed in it as much as I did. They all wanted to make it the best possible show it could be.
Q: What would you like for viewers to gain from watching the show?
A: I want people to know that flowers are not intimidating and that anyone on any budget can have something beautiful in their home. My main message is that: It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s useful. We all have events that we need to bring flowers to. If you can do it yourself, you’re saving money and it’s another way to be creative. We all need creative outlets, especially adults. When we’re kids, we get to make something in arts and crafts every day and then mom takes it home and puts it on the fridge and you get to feel good about yourself. As adults we don’t have a lot of opportunities to be creative and have someone say ‘Wow! That looks great!’ The cool thing about flowers is that everyone looks at them and says ‘Oh they look great!’ So it’s a good feedback loop for you to feel good about yourself. We all need that. It’s a wonderful thing to learn to do.
I also truly believe that flowers are a necessity not a luxury; they nourish the soul just as food nourishes the body. When you have flowers in your house it brightens the entire space. By showing people techniques, tips, and tricks to affordable floral design, I hope they will be able to enjoy flowers more often.
Q: Do you believe that flowers have a therapeutic quality? If so, why?
A: Absolutely. It’s scientifically proven that being in nature relaxes us. So when we bring flowers into our homes, we’re bringing in a little bit of nature. When we get them in our hands, it forces us to relax because the same feeling of nature that relaxes you is in your hands. It’s calming. Also, when you’re looking at the material, you’re using your visual mind in that way that we don’t when we’re typing e-mail or doing other things. You’re looking at something, you’re touching something, and you’re feeling something. This is why I feel so strongly that it’s therapeutic. That’s why I go into women’s shelters and as many non-profits as I can where we lead the therapeutic flower parties. I see the lights come on in these peoples’ eyes, many of whom have walked in with their heads down. You know they’re having a really tough time, you know maybe they’ve been a victim of domestic violence or they’re in a difficult situation. And you see throughout the flower party as I teach and get the flowers into their hands the change in their entire face, everything about them. They feel energized and beautiful and good about what they made and that’s a feeling that I want everyone to have.
Q: What kind of skills can someone learn from working with flowers?
A: First of all, I would say that it instills a huge appreciation for nature and that’s why I share it with children. When you’re really looking at flowers and working with them closely, you see such a range of colors and textures. What you see in nature is just awe inspiring. I think that builds a greater appreciation for the earth and our role in it. I work with a lot of child-focused non-profits. One we recently visited is Bright Beginnings, a child development center for homeless children. Last week, we brought in flowers to share with all the children. They touched and looked at the flowers- they loved it! For the older children, it leads them to questions like ‘Where do flowers come from?’ Ultimately, working with flowers builds a connection to the earth.
Flower Empowered with Sarah Von Pollaro airs on Tuesday night at 8:00 and Sunday night at 7:00.