Green Wallscapes Part 2: Inspiration
From inspiration to an inside look at their creative process, this second part of our interview with Green Wallscapes is sure to motivate you!
So, grab some coffee or tea and let’s continue where we left off with Lindsay Burgess, “The Moss Boss” of Green Wallscapes and Michelle Rosenblum, Creative Director of SuperMoss.
Green Wallscapes was created as a way to bring natural, positive moss art into a variety of commercial and residential spaces. They make moss walls, signage, art, and lettering for homes, offices, retail, and restaurants. All of their projects can be fully customized — you dream it, they build it!
For more on how Lindsay got it all started, read: Green Wallscapes Part 1: Their Story
How have you all found ways to keep your creative process and just general operation fun and inspiring?
L: In our company, we are all about continues improvement. So, how do we make this better? How do we make this more fun? How do we elevate this material even more? Are there better ways of doing this? And we do that over and over. We are constantly innovating around our operation efficiency, around materials, around different applications, and concepts that we think we can do. we are starting to work with lighting, starting to work with other materials, doing really cool stuff with wood, succulents, ferns, and other applications that weren’t really part of our repertoire before.
People call us with all sorts of crazy requests. We had to make a wall that looked like “Prehistoric Manhattan” two weeks ago and we were like “we don’t know what that is, but ok we’ll do it”!
M: (laughter) That sounds fun!
L: The client loved it! We had another project recently where they wanted these moss mountains and we built these mountains for them so the piece was actually 3D. All of that will be coming out on Instagram pretty soon.
But really very cool out of the box applications. We aren’t afraid to say yes. There are a lot of people that just sort of do the same thing over and over and over again and they are specialized. I see a lot of cute things with a little moss house or a little whatever… we like to push the buttons. We like to say yes to projects that challenge us. We like to push the envelope with color and design, again to try to get away from the sort of crafty nature of how this stuff normally looks and into something that is more elevated and art driven, high-design. Our clients, they realize that we are really curating this for them and we are doing innovative cool work. Whether it is small 20-30 square foot wall up to hundreds of square feet of this stuff.
M: Yeah wow, really incredible what you guys have done!
L: Thank you so much!
M: I see so many projects working here. I see everything from adding just a little bit of moss to a potted plant as a top dressing, to like your saying, more craft projects where there’s fairy gardens or people using them for train sets, model trains, you mentioned mountains, to HUGE installations that take over entire walls, to being on sets in movies… I love hearing what people are doing with the moss. I hear orders coming in and I see it getting shipped out and I always wonder what that moss is going to end up in. It’s always some cool, amazing project. And you guys are very inspiring to me.
L: Thank you so much!
I’d love to hear more about the creative process. Where would you say all of your projects begin?
L: They typically begin with a request from a client. We design things in different ways, but typically a client will call and say “hey, listen” or email us, “hey, I got this space, what should I do?” Then we go through a whole sales process with them on defining what style they are looking for, what applications they want, what size, all that. Are we doing a logo or not doing a logo? Just a decorative wall? Is it residential or commercial? All that.
We help narrow it down, from all the styles and applications we can do, to what is it exactly that is going to light up the space and really help you elevate your space and meet your budget.
Like I said, commercial is much more budgetary. Residential is more “I want what I want in my house”. If they are paying for a custom piece, they have money to ask for something elevated and something super hyper custom. What we’ve found is that when we just make projects, typically what happens is someone says “oh, I like that but I really want to modify it to be this size”. So, we actually don’t have any inventory currently, although any time we get inventory we sell it out pretty much immediately which is awesome. We’ve been veery blessed in that respect.
The community has really taken on what we do and has been very open to our design process and what we think would look best. I mean sometimes clients will just send us pictures of like “Hey, this is what we got. This is the furniture layout that we’ve got” or just “Here’s a picture of a blank wall” (laughter) What can we do here?” You know what I mean? “Here’s as picture of a dirty construction site, Lindsay. What can we do here?” (laughter) I get that a lot.
Then we just work on refining it. More and more and more. From like “Hey, you can do anything” to “This is what you like, based on what’s on our Instagram, based on Facebook, what we’ve done before, or is it something we are going to be inventing from scratch?” Some clients are like “You guys are the artist. Go for it.”, and other clients are like “I want this very specific thing and I only want it this way and it needs to look exactly like this” and we have other clients where it’s like “Please, just use your expertise and make us something beautiful. We are going to leave it up to you.” And that’s great, because that’s when we usually have those opportunities where can leap frog creatively. We don’t do a lot that’s on speck. Most of the work is custom projects where clients are just commissioning us to do this thing very specifically that they have for a specific wall. And that’s worked out really great for us.
M: That’s so cool!
When I first started working here, at first, I was like “Moss, ok? What do you do with that?” You don’t know what you don’t know. The first time I looked through the catalog, and saw all of our lifestyle photos and seeing what everyone was doing with it, it was like “Wow! I didn’t know you could do all of that.” I imagine you have a lot of clients where they like moss walls, they see what you’ve done, but like you said, they don’t know where it could go. You must be often surprised just how great the project ended up or that it took its own direction.
L: Totally! I love it also, when there are opportunities for my team to be a little more creative. Where the client isn’t directing it in the sense of, they get to express themselves. They know this material inside and out; they work with this material better than probably 99% of the market because they spend all day long with their hands in moss. It’s really fun for me to see when they are given a little bit of runway what’s possible, because they always come up with new, really out of the box ideas.
It’s been really a fun experience to watch how much better they’ve gotten in the last two years. My longest employee has been with me for two years and then after that it’s about a year and a half.
I look at what we did 2 or 3 years ago and I look at the work we are doing now and also how much further we can go, right? So, how much more can we elevate this? What other ideas can we bring to the table that we just haven’t had time or bandwidth to do yet that we could take even further? Could we go 3D?
During the pandemic one of the things that was nice we actually had a bit of time to brainstorm. What came out of the girls brainstorming was some really innovative ideas to do that hopefully we will have more time create in the coming years that push the envelope.
That’s one of the things that we like to do around here, just push the envelope. Pushing and seeing what’s possible. Does this work, does this not work? Does this adhesive work, does it not work? Does this substrate work? Does this not work? We are always looking at like how do we refine, how do we make it better? Almost to the point where my team said to me once “Lindsay, can we just say this is the way we are going to do it? (laughter) Instead of always looking for something better?”
M: No, keep pushing — that’s what I say!
I’m so excited to see where you guys take this, once your new ideas start coming out, we will have to do anther interview!
L: Absolutely, I love that idea! Yeah, because we have some very fun concepts that I can’t disclose right now. I want us to get a little bit further along where we can actually show people what is new because what we have found is that even though we are visual and we understand how things look in spaces, most of our clients can’t imagine what it will look like or how it will arrive. We really work on how do we translate that with renderings before they really see it or in some cases, we just make the piece and we are in more constant communication with the client around what the design is with the application and what we are going to be doing. It’s been great. We’ve been so blessed there’s just some really neat ideas that are coming and things that we’ll be pushing even further. It’s a really exciting time to be in this space.
I think preserved plants have a long way to go in terms of its early trend here as opposed to Europe, where it’s been for 10 plus years. It’s been in the US, but not on the scale and level of interest that is seen in Europe.
My last question for you. A lot of people that are on our site and buying SuperMoss from craft stores and garden centers, as you said, it’s trending and people are starting to make some of their own moss walls just at home or with their kids. What words of wisdom would you have for a beginning moss maker?
L: Just enjoy yourself, have fun! The great thing is there is always more moss where that came from. So, if something doesn’t look good, rip it off and start again! (laughter)
One of the mantras in our studio is there is always more moss, there is always more foam, there’s always more substrate, there’s always more glue… we can fix a lot of things very quickly if we need to. You just have to try and test and see!
With different climates you have different challenges. With different lighting you have different challenges. With different applications you have different challenges. We went through a period where the moss kept falling off! I mean we couldn’t even figure out how to glue it on properly! That was before we were really selling it, but we had to figure out what glue was going to work and we are still adjusting that!
If you are just doing this in your house, just have fun! Try different stuff see what works, see what makes you happy. Don’t be afraid of color. I love color! I have on pink earrings, a blue shirt… I love everything bright and fun! Don’t be afraid to try and see. It’s ok if it doesn’t turn out perfectly initially. We have been very lucky that even the first pieces I was telling you about, that we made in our house, we actually sold those which I was so shocked by! We sold them and then had to fix them really fast before we actually sent them to somebody because I would have never sent that piece! (laughter) Ughh, but people don’t know.
When you are in it day in and day out, you become an expert. Projects look one way to you and then to someone just passing by it looks a completely different way. I can tell you I look at floral design very differently now. I look at event planning very differently. I look at a lot of things very differently now that I’ve been working in this space and have honed that curatorial eye in terms of how I want things to look, how I want things to feel, and I think that translates into the work.
Luckily, we are getting better all the time. Everyone on my team is ok with “that didn’t go 100% the way we wanted it to. How do we make it better the next round?” Because when you are dealing with the scale that we are dealing with, there are constantly issues and challenges and problems that come up. It’s just always working through that, always innovating, always trying to do something new, fun, and exciting.
Bottom line, just have fun.
More than anything else, and the reason, that I stuck with the business when I was starving to death and things were really hard was because I could see the potential, but also I could see that we had something here. We have this really beautiful connection point between the commercial art world and the natural world and we could do something really beautiful that was going to make people feel really good. And that to me is super important. That was something I could get behind, something that I believe in. Something that I could truly deliver on.
There is not a lot of people who get to do that. Spoke to a client yesterday and he said “It looks like there’s magic involved in what you guys do.” I thought that was such a sweet comment. Like “Wow, what a cool thing that you actually get to be paid to be artists and elevate things that are not artistic into an artist application.” Taking somebody’s logo and making it into something beautiful… to me that’s a very satisfying thing. We are re-interpreting these brands in such a unique, beautiful, and cool way. It’s fantastic and I love it. I love that we get to do this work, I love our clients. We have great suppliers like you guys, and we are just so blessed to work with wonderful people.
M: That was really inspiring for me to hear.
We hope you have enjoyed the Green Wallscapes Showcase.
If you haven’t already, check out Green Wallscapes Part 1: Their Story.
Lastly, do you have a moss business or a big creative project that you would like to share? We’d love to interview you, too! Email us at [email protected].