About Susan Mcleary
Susan Mcleary has always been vaguely creative, and can remember as a child spending hours on end sketching, beading, building elaborate fairy villages in the woods outside her home, and creating doll clothing. As a teen, I became obsessed with fashion, and turned magazine cuttings from Vogue, Elle, and W into an enormous collage that consumed my bedroom walls. I pored over these magazines, studying the haute couture work of revolutionary designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, and Christian Lacroix.
After spending my young adult life searching for the right career, I found myself back in my home town of Ann Arbor, Michigan, finishing a bachelor’s degree, and making jewelry. I was in my late 20’s, and many of my friends and acquaintances were getting married. Word of my jewelry-making hobby got out, and I started to receive requests to create jewelry pieces for local weddings. One friend asked me to make jewelry for herself and her bridesmaids, and as we talked, she confided in me that she hadn’t yet hired a florist. Her wedding was just a few months away, and it was clear she was concerned about this missing detail. I can still recall her exact words as she grasped my arm and asked me if I would be her florist: “You’re creative, you can probably do this?!”
I agreed to design for her wedding, thinking it would be an interesting challenge. It wasn’t until I held her flowers in my hands that I recognized a transformation was occurring inside me. My fingernails were stained black from the toil, I hadn’t slept or eaten in days, I was absolutely exhausted, and the work had turned my kitchen into a veritable compost pile; but I had a permanent grin on my face, as I completely connected with the medium of flowers. I’d accidentally found a new creative obsession, and I recognized that this feeling deserved proper exploration. I felt a strong compulsion to envelop myself in the world of floral design.
As my passion grew, I digested all things floral design. I earned a certification through the Michigan Floral Association, AIFD, and studied with numerous internationally recognized instructors. I spent the next several years honing my craft, building a floral studio business, collaborating with artists around the world, and teaching others how to relish the moment with the fine art of floral design.