Teacher Spotlight: Lilli Black
By Kristin Furjanic
If there’s one thing that I love to sprinkle my house with come summertime, it’s succulents. Most of mine died this winter (I’m still working through it guys), so on a lazy Saturday two weeks ago, I felt compelled to give my place a little springy refresh. And what better way to do that, than spend an afternoon in a local Flower Shop for some green inspiration! The Bella Calla Flower Shop brightens up the Whittier and Five Points neighborhoods of Denver with its amazing external painted artistry on display for all to enjoy. But really, you can’t miss it….
Owner and Head Designer, Lilli Black, is the beauty and brains behind the whole operation. She does most of the wheeling and dealing when it comes to handling brides’ and grooms’ floral wedding requests, and also manages business communications and sales operations. When asked what inspired her to create Bella Calla, she responded, “I started Bella Calla in 2011 as a wedding floral business, and it has kind of blossomed into what you see now – a business that caters to not only weddings and events, but also plants, terrariums, and all things growing and pretty. ‘Bella’ means ‘beautiful’ in Italian, and ‘Calla’ is a flower type – so ‘beautiful flower’ is the name! One of my degrees is in linguistics, so the alliteration was attractive.” Bella Calla’s current location off of Downing Street opened in 2013, and was a move from their original, studio-only location in the Santa Fe Arts District (established in 2011).
Lilli has spent her life learning, and never thought she’d have ‘just one’ career. She has nine years of undergraduate college experience (microbiology, to multimedia and design, to linguistics education and Spanish), and her extensive career background ranges from sales, customer service, art and design, teaching… you name it. “I learned to love learning at a young age from my dad – who, coincidentally, taught me to love all things growing as well – and I haven’t stopped! Every day is different, and that’s just what I WANT it to be!”
What is Lilli’s favorite flower? “Oh, Lord-y that’s impossible to answer. I love almost all flowers; they all have their place! I adore ranunculus, tulips, and anemones… but I sure enjoy the simplicity of a perfect red rose from time-to-time! Succulents, air plants and protea – you name it – if it’s perfectly in season, and looking amazing, it makes my day!” Outside of work, Lilli finds joy in the quiet moments in life – bubble baths, with a glass of wine – but truly loves what she does on a daily basis. What is she looking forward to long term? “Wedding Season!”
“The new location is smaller – and therefore has a much more curated look. We’re not doing event production there, so it’s very different. It’s truly just a curated, special lifestyle, plant and flower shop!” When I walked into the original Bella Calla location for Dabble’s Terrarium Making Class I was greeted by Tom, Bella Calla’s Shop Manager [meet the rest of the team here]. He encouraged me to sip wine and walk around the whimsical, green space. Eventually, he greeted the Dabble group as a whole and we headed back to the designated workspace. Today, we were making terrariums, a unique art form, that incorporates a multitude of media. I was pumped. My mother has a green thumb, and I have always loved plants, but plant art is still kind of new to me. I really embraced it last summer (when I got my own apartment – yay solo living!), and took to playing with air plants, succulents and cacti, in and around the outside of my house.
Join the Dabble Denver Terrarium class today! Drink wine, eat cheese, and play in the dirt! In our interview, Lilli claimed, “Most people don’t get to play regularly. I’m lucky – I’ve set up my life where I get to play whenever I want to, but most people don’t get to experience that! Come play! You’ll end up with a tangible reminder of what it means to live life and have fun… and play in the dirt!”
Blog author Kristin Furjanic is a Digital / Content Specialist, freelance copywriter + blogger, yoga nerd, & night owl. She loves exploring the outdoors, surfing the web, & painting accent walls in apartments she doesn’t own.