Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

August 9, 2011

Talented floral designer Sarah Ryhanen is no new name in the blogging community simply because her company, Saipua, has long been an inspiration to so many in Brooklyn and beyond. Sarah and partner, Nicolette Camille Owen really inspires me — in fact her work just plain makes me happy, what can I say? I love her fresh eye, creative color combinations, perfect bits of texture, and her casual approach to arranging. Her work reminds me of my mother’s own arrangements and floral still life oil paintings growing up. Mom instilled a love of flowers as art – either on the wall or in a vase – at a very early age resulting in a life long appreciation on my part. I can’t pass by a gallery or florist without pausing, or going inside, and I certainly can’t leave a farmers’ market without a bunch of fresh blooms.

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

Sarah doesn’t simply buy flowers in bunches at street stalls and haphazardly toss them in a vessel — she loosely, yet artfully, arranges them to create a fresh, living masterpiece. When I see a photograph of her work I often stop dead in my tracks and think that I’m looking at a painting brought to life. See for yourself… and while you’re at it, look to some of these arrangements for a little Autumn color palette (and texture) inspiration.

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

Sarah Ryhanen of Saipua

In case you were wondering, Saipua is a Finnish word for soap and that is also what Sarah and Nicolette do very well – they make wonderful soap that I’ve purchased in the past at Anthropologie and enjoyed immensely. You can also purchase their soaps and things online here. But that’s not all – these ladies are also teachers! You can take floral arranging classes in a barn-like loft space behind their shop in Brooklyn and they call that their Little Flower School. How sweet! You may really enjoy taking a class with them — I would in a New York minute! How wonderful!

(Photographs: Sarah Ryhanen)


  • Reply ines August 9, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Just lovely! Thanks for sharing this wonderful post.

    Have a good night. ines

  • Reply liane August 9, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    she’s amazing. and a right fine woman and friend as well.

  • Reply Mary August 10, 2011 at 12:31 am

    I love these bouquets!!!

  • Reply katiedid August 10, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Great ideas! And just in time. I needed inspiration to decorate a friend’s birthday party this month.

  • Reply Veronica Funk August 10, 2011 at 4:53 am

    I just finished reading the article in the current issue of Where Women Create and was touched so deeply by your story. I went through a very similar transition from a Financial Administrator – loved the environment & people, had many opportunities for promotion & new challenges, but I was miserable. I wept often, wondering if I was falling into a depression. And then I focused on painting again after a long hiatus and have been absolutely filled with joy since. I paint interiors in spite of the fact that I live near the Rocky Mountains and cowboys & landscapes tend to be the most common and I have had amazing opportunities to be involved in the growth of arts & culture in my community. It was wonderful to read your encouragement to others to follow their hearts. And you do that so well.

  • Reply Karena August 10, 2011 at 4:58 am

    So talented, wonderful designs and I would love to take a class from Sarah!!


    Art by Karena

  • Reply Tiina August 10, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I love the flower arrangements, mostly because they look so organic, and not “arranged”, you know. They remind me of Grey Gardens, because they look like the flowers were picked from Edies’ garden and arranged lovingly in their living room.

    By the way, the Finnish word is “saippua”, with two P’s. But I’m sure dropping the second P is intentional, because the word “looks” better without it – but it is a bit irritating for a Finn to read it like that and not be able to correct it… :D

  • Reply Emily August 10, 2011 at 9:42 am

    I love the red roses with queen Anne’s lace! Never would have thought about that combination but it’s absolutely beautiful!

  • Reply Rona August 10, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Hi Holly. I love Sarah and Nicolette’s floral arrangements…

    You can tell that a lot of thought has gone into the colour and texture combinations which make up each of their designs.

    I read both Saipua and Little Flower School blogs regularly…endless sources of inspiration and also simply beautiful floral eye-candy!

  • Reply Iris August 10, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I love her work, she is so original in her combinations and color choices and the use of light in her photographs is just perfect. Sometimes she does a giveaway of one of her bouquets and I am always jealous I do not live in NY.
    x Iris

  • Reply Katia August 10, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I like the mix between “simple” and “rich” flowers :)

  • Reply Kamila August 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    My mom is a florist, me I want to became one, and this flower shop is like a dream!

  • Reply Christine August 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    These arrangements are gorgeous!
    Congrats on being featured in WWC~you are so deserving of it:)

  • Reply Maria @ Scandifoodie August 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    I was wondering whether “saipua” had something to do with the Finnish word “saippua” (soap)! But there we have the connection! Love Sarah’s work and I can definitely see the Scandinavian influence!

  • Reply Barbara August 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Sarah’s photographs are truly touching. There is some real talent there. Beautiful :) – Barbara

  • Reply Zsa Zsa August 11, 2011 at 4:02 am

    This post just made my day! I love flowers, and I love these flower arrangements! Sarah rocks!

  • Reply Rose August 11, 2011 at 7:39 am

    Holly – not only are the floral displays incredible and totally inspirational ( has me wishing I could paint still life) but the photography simply brings it alive. To coin a seriously over-rated and over used phrase ( but apt) ” they are awesome”.

  • Reply Diane M August 12, 2011 at 5:29 am

    Inspirational. Such a unique take on florals Thank you!

  • Reply A Merry Mishap August 12, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    The BEST floral arrangements, truly pieces of art!

  • Reply Jennie August 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Just THE most beautiful flower arrangements I’ve ever seen, thanks for sharing. I’ve just found your blog and I want to say I’m astounded at that level of professionalism and intelligent articles featured. I’m in love with this blog.

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