Flower designs used for videos, TV, more
Winchester — Laura Larrick Walker doesn’t think of herself as a florist; she is an artist who works with flowers.
That’s a huge bonus to her since growing things has always been a passion. But for the owner of Buttercups Floral Design, she likes when the jobs she takes offer her a chance to push herself.
“Whenever people see my work, I want them to think, ‘That is really unique and innovative. I didn’t know you could do that with flowers,’” said Laura, 29, of Bluemont, who graduated in 2001 from Sherando High School.
Laura doesn’t have a florist shop where people can walk in and pick up a dozen roses for Valentine’s Day or a bouquet for Mother’s Day. Instead, she has a small office on the Loudoun Street Mall in Winchester where she often arranges to meet her clients.
In the past few years, her business, which she started about a decade ago, has had her working everything from weddings and banquets to music videos and a television shoot.
This media work is an exciting venture and give her work wider recognition, she said. The opportunities were made possible by her husband, Joey Walker, 30, an independent jib camera crane owner and operator. He does freelance television movie, music video and other filming jobs all along the East Coast through his company, DC Jibs and Camera Cars.
His work has had him shooting for major networks like ABC, NBC, CNN, BET, Disney, Discovery and Food Network. He also has done filming in the White House and shot inauguration footage on the National Mall during President Barack Obama’s second swearing-in for MSNBC.
Laura has had plenty of opportunities to help Joey with his business, and that in turn has slowly opened doors for her, too, she said.
“Early on, she had some opportunities with me,” he said. “When she graduated from college looking for some work and some side work, I was able to bring her in to assist me with the crane business. It kind of evolved from there.”
One of the highlights so far has been when he was hired to shoot two music videos for the U.S. Army Band and she ended up as the set designer. A smaller video was filmed at a lodge in Maryland and a larger one at Baltimore Washington International Airport.
Although they were filmed in August, the videos were meant for the Christmas season and were expanded to encompass a welcome home message for returning troops.
Laura said she felt right at home with the décor. Growing up in Winchester, her family would make fresh wreaths every year for extra Christmas money. The video sets were designed to evoke a traditional Christmas atmosphere, with reds, greens and metallics, she said. She decorated trees, provided set dressing and wrapped presents.
“I have never wrapped so many Christmas presents in my life, especially four months before the holidays,” she said.
As if the excitement of making the videos wasn’t already high, the standing in New York City’s Times Square and watching them air repeatedly on the Jumbotron would have pushed the experience over the edge.
The couple traveled to New York so they could see it air on the giant screen, where the full-length videos played several times a day for 10 days, Joey said. “That was a very big, awesome pat on the back.”
On another filming project, she worked with Better Homes and Gardens designer Stephen Saint-Onge in the White Plains area of New York. Laura provided flowers and helped dress the house. It was a great opportunity to learn about “prop staging and set design.”
“We set up an entire home to be photographed and filmed. I loved working with other professionals that cared about the details,” she said.
Last year, she provided flowers for an awards ceremony for pianist Burt Bacharach, and she has also done events for the Tigerlily Foundation, a breast cancer support, education and advocacy organization.
It often takes a great deal of time, energy and focus to get a foothold in any area of the entertainment industry, even providing flowers or props, Laura said. She has loved the experiences she’s had but also enjoys the versatility of taking jobs in several areas of focus. She said she gets “sick of doing the same thing all the time.”
The appeal of her business is that every event is different because the flowers, seasons and colors change.
She really likes it when people come to her with different ideas they want to do with flowers but aren’t sure is possible, she said. She loves seeing the reactions when she informs them she can make it work. “I like working outside of the box to make something they like but that still shows me.”
Much of her ability to do that comes from the way she combines her love of art and flowers. After leaving Sherando, she earned a bachelor’s degree in visual communications in 2004 from Shepherd University.
She continued in her studies and received a bachelor’s degree in horticulture in 2007.
Long before she studied horticulture, growing plants and flowers was a big interest for Laura. She was born and raised in Frederick County and had two sets of horticultural minded grandparents.
Bob and Carol Legge, who at the time lived in Stephens City, grew flowers and vegetables, she said. Eugene and Genevieve Larrick had apple orchards in Frederick County.
After college, she worked three years as vineyard manager for three locations in Loudoun County — The Vineyards and Winery at Lost Creek, Hidden Brook Winery, and Willowcroft Farm Vineyards. Since then, she has concentrated full time on flower design.
— Contact Laura McFarland at email@example.com