Oak Bay resident Christin Geall with her new book, Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style, a collection of Geall’s floral photography that accompanies Geall’s 42,000-word journey of art history and floral arrangement. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Oak Bay resident Christin Geall with her new book, Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style, a collection of Geall’s floral photography that accompanies Geall’s 42,000-word journey of art history and floral arrangement. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Noted Oak Bay floral arranger debuts first book

Instagram star Christin Geall combines photography, floral arrangements

The life of an author might seem like one that could survive the shutdown impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The truth is it’s anything but.

Oak Bay’s Christin Geall has carved herself a unique market, her niche blending her own high-end photography with the high-art of floral styling.

Her new book, Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style, presents a next-level presentation of flowers with 42,000 carefully written words that weaves practical how-to advice with Geall’s expertise in storytelling.

It’s for experts and beginners alike. Geall’s sharp imagery has grown her an international following on Instagram of 98,400, and growing.

“It’s about different ways of seeing,” says Geall, sitting at a weathered, wood table in her robust south Oak Bay garden. “I go through different philosophies. I’m really happy with how the book turned out, I wish I could be out there touring it.”

View this post on Instagram

One of the most compelling parts of teaching floral design for me is the diversity of people drawn to it. You wouldn’t think that a microbiologist might brush shoulders with a painter, or that a gardener would find themselves alongside an engineer, or a photographer would be faced with the same challenges as a writer. How do we make the flowers look their best in a vase? The irony (or ecstasy) of my book’s subtitle, The Elements of Floral Style, is that I once taught an undergraduate course titled singularly and just as ominously, ‘Elements of Style’. This was in a creative writing department. I was recently out of grad school, and I suspect no senior professor wanted to take it on. The course mixed poets with journalists— not an easy crowd, but everyone had the same materials to work with, at least: words. Tonight it was flowers. . This evening marked the beginning (in my mind) of my book tour and I want to say a heartfelt thanks to @thelondonplaneflowershop in Seattle and the diversity of guests who shared snippets of their relationships with plants tonight. I could have stayed hours. Grateful I have big season of teaching/watching/and learning from all of you ahead. (And yes, I bought the yellow sweater today to match the floral palette…more shameless hooraying in stories). #flowersmakemesmile #floralclass #thelondonplane #manythanks

A post shared by Christin Geall (@cultivatedbychristin) on

READ ALSO: Fence me in, lessons from the sun king

For seven years Geall taught creative non-fiction writing and environmental writing at the University of Victoria. She’s a former Black Press Media columnist, and is proud of the writing in Cultivated, which plays off the sharp colours of her photos.

Academically, Geall is grounded in fine arts and her experience writing gave her the ability to articulate the design, she said.

“I had about 20,000 words written when I presented [the pitch] to the publisher,” Geall said. “I drew from excerpts in my column, from pieces on Instagram, and I expanded them… writing another 22,000 words.”

Oak Bay resident Christin Geall published Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style, this spring, her first book. Geall’s modern blend of photography and floral arranging is an international hit. Before the COVID-19 pandemic Geall was traveling regularly to run workshops and had to cancel a cross-Atlantic book tour for Cultivated.

Before the book came out Geall was already flying every few weeks to offer one-day and weekend-long workshops at private places or at institutions such as the New York Botanical Garden. That’s where she was on March 16, when Justin Trudeau asked all Canadians to come home.

It spelled the end of her international book speaking tour and teaching tour which would have taken her through Eastern U.S.A., various stops in England and Paris.

Stuck behind the Tweed Curtain, Geall started a new project this spring to make up for the income lost on the tour.

It’s another first, as she is selling large prints of her floral arrangement photographs is a series called ‘Sanctum.’

The series uses boxes to frame floral arrangements, which evokes the shadowy dark contrast that makes the flowers pop in so many of Geall’s photos (but not all). Geall built a new website for it and sales are going well.

READ ALSO: Harvesting hellebores, with Christin Geall

“Basically I was on a plane every few weeks to make my living,” Geall said. “I enjoy the Sanctum series. It’s a new … challenge.”

One thing Geall didn’t expect was when her publisher offered to purchase the rights to a few of the photos in the book so they could use them to make jigsaw puzzles.

“Puzzle sales are up during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Geall said. “These are the times.”

Cultivated: The Elements of Floral Style, is available at local bookstores Ivy’s, Demitasse, Bolen Books, Munro’s Books, as well as online and Chapters/Indigo.

reporter@oakbaynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vancouver Island Symphony conductor Pierre Simard is releasing his new synthwave album ‘Plandemic’ on March 5. (Photo courtesy Olivia Simard)
Vancouver Island Symphony conductor releasing side-project EP of electronic music

Pierre Simard, recording as Plan Omega, presents ‘Plandemic’

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
Vancouver Island children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

The Gordon Head Recreation Centre stands in as the Quimper Regional Hospital on Feb. 23 for filming Maid, a 10-part Netflix series. (Greg Sutton/District of Saanich)
Netflix transforms Saanich recreation centre into hospital for filming

Facility was closed to public Feb. 23 for filming of Maid

This image released by SYFY shows Meredith Garretson, left, and Alan Tudyk in the new series "Resident Alien." (James Dittinger/SYFY via AP)
B.C.-shot ‘Resident Alien’ invader gets lift-off with viewers

New Syfy series catching on, proving TV doesn’t have to come from premium cable

WILDLIFE TREE: Tofino Poet Laureate Christine Lowther stands next to a giant cedar tree on District Lot 114, the site of Tofino’s controversial affordable housing project. The tree was pinned with an official Ministry of Forests yellow wildlife tree sign to educate fallers that the tree needs to be left standing for food, shelter and nesting. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Tofino author Christine Lowther calling for poetry about trees

“I’m thrilled to be of service to trees through poetry.”

West Coast-themed metal art by Nanaimo artists Hayley Willoughby (pictured), her father Jack and partner Blair LeFebvre is on display in the window of Lululemon at Woodgrove Centre from now until March 13 as part of the store’s monthly local artist program. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Metal artists present cross-generational show at Nanaimo’s Woodgrove Centre

Work by Hayley Willoughby, her partner and father on display in Lululemon window

Vancouver Island Symphony principal violinist and concertmaster Calvin Dyck is among the musicians performing in the upcoming Salmon and Trout concert. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Vancouver Island Symphony will make a splash with fish-themed quintets concert

Performance was to take place in November but was rescheduled due to COVID-19

Nico Rhodes, Lucas Smart, James McRae and Kosma Busheikin (from left) recorded their set for the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival’s online video series at the Harbour City Theatre in December. (Photo courtesy François Savard)
Music starts next week at online Nanaimo International Jazz Festival

Ten free, virtual performances to occur over three weeks in March

The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
 The original artwork created by local artist Emily Thiessen, is featured as the Commercial Alley’s eighth installation. (City of Victoria)
Victoria calls for artists to fill Commercial Alley gallery

Competition open to artists in the Capital Regional District

Cowichan Valley author Teresa Schapansky’s books for young readers have become a phenomenon on Amazon. (Submitted)
Cowichan author tops Amazon charts

Award-winning author Teresa Schapansky learned of a need for low-level readers in the classroom

Nadia Rieger restocks some of the art supplies at the Crows Nest Artist Collective. Their move to stocking more art supplies over the course of the pandemic was a response to increased demand, which she thinks shows people have been turning to creating art to cope with mental health struggles due to lockdowns and restrictions on other activities. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Vancouver Islanders using art to conquer COVID blues

It seems people have been turning to their creative sides to stay mentally and emotionally healthy

Chris Bullock, Parksville artist, stands next to his ‘Mermother’ series, on display at the McMillan Arts Centre until Feb. 29. Bullock himself will be at the MAC from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. every Saturday until the end of the month. (Mandy Moraes photo)
Parksville artist Chris Bullock’s unique illustrations on display

‘I’m heavily influenced by old comic book styles from the 1950s’

Most Read