When McKenzie was a little girl, she loved nothing more than to go off alone to a patch of clover or daisies. There, she would gather a handful of tiny white flowers—no more than common weeds, really—and thread them, one by one, into crowns. The daisy chain was her fascination and the enduring mark of her childhood. She would sit for hours, absorbed, as she made her circles.
And always, with flowers in her hands, a story would bloom in her heart. Her daisy chains would be worn by the girls, angels, and royalty of her imagination. She was a seamstress of stories and flowers, and always the two came together. She knew of no other way to thread flowers together than with a story, and no better story than one that was filled with flowers.
Not much has changed, when it comes to McKenzie’s approach to manifesting beauty. Her approach to floral design is narrative: before she touches a single flower, each arrangement is first conceived as a story, color story, or sketch. Her connection to nature is musical, lyrical, and dreamy; it’s driven by words, connotations, memories, and (im)possibilities. If you see McKenzie walking and gathering or working with flowers, she is probably in that very moment thinking about words and stories.
This arrangement is jasmine, night blooming in the summer, a girl in silk charmeuse, barefoot, indolent, and searching… This speaks of pomegranates and passion, an underlying current of despair…. This of candied oranges and Spanish guitar, ruffled sleeves and castanets… This is winter and ice skating ponds, Anastasia and waltzes, a box of heirloom treasures.. This is Russian bears and nutcrackers, violin music… And this, a single swan cutting across a late-winter, nearly spring pond: impeccable, stark, sad, and hopeful; dreadful as a visitation from another world.
McKenzie identifies as a storyteller who uses the combined languages of narrative and flowers to create a piece of artwork that already feels nostalgic. That feels like a part of your experience, a memory or moment that is only yours, and has belonged to you forever.
When she was younger, she began keeping a diary just around the time of her first attempts at ‘floral design.’ The two gifts flowered simultaneously, and to this day, they belong to her together. In those days, she used to keep dried daisy chains to hold the places between the pages of her diaries. Today, she still uses flowers as a bookmark that holds the place in the stories she wants to tell.
Read more about McKenzie’s storytelling process—and full circle return to the daisy chain days here.