This story was originally written for the Anchorage Press.
Now that the trees have shed their leaves and winter is upon us, people might need a pop of color in their life. Natasha Price’s love of flowers bloomed at her first job at Carrs on Huffman Road in the floral department when she was 14 years old. Today, Price runs Paper Peony, a flower design business in Anchorage.
Price might be more well known to the Anchorage community as @alaskaknitnat, but she’s in the process of re-branding. She’s had her blog, Alaska Knit Nat, since 2010, where she writes about knitting, crocheting and cooking.
Paper Peony was a joint collaboration between Price and her friend, Evan Falconer, who has since moved to San Francisco. Falconer began sending Price her clients who she couldn’t assist since she had relocated, and one of them asked Price about making a flower crown. She hadn’t made one before, but now, she’s made more than she can count.
“It is my favorite thing to make, I absolutely love it. I’ve made hundreds of them,” Price said.
Recently, Price has created floral arrangements with an Anchorage centered theme.
“I was born and raised here in Anchorage. Anchorage is a big part of my life. I’m raising my family here. I love it here and I don’t plan to leave. I’m Anchorage through and through. So I thought it would be really fun to name all of my arrangements after Anchorage neighborhoods,” Price said.
She has the Bootlegger, the Westchester, the Spenard and the Alyeska, to name a few.
“The Spenard came naturally, it’s like, boho. If I’m going to have a mason jar arrangement, it’s going to be the Spenard one,” she said.
Others include the Jewel Lake, the Turnagain and the Fairview. Each floral design is created with the neighborhood in mind. For her Mountain View arrangement, the variety of flowers represents how the neighborhood is the most culturally diverse in the country.
Price does custom arrangements, boutonnieres or corsages for prom and bouquets for weddings. The first arrangement she did for a wedding was actually her own, with hand picked peonies from gardens in town.
In the summertime, Price will forage for wild flowers and plants to put in her arrangements, but she says there’s a lot to be found in the winter season, too. Dried yarrow or spruce bells can be used all year long. Price has even started teaching classes on floral arrangements.
“I like to share the love, I don’t want to be private about what I do, because I think I’ve learned more from [teaching], too,” she said.
One of her consistent students is her 5-year-old son, Jack.
“Sometimes I’ll just give him an empty vase and he’ll come up with the most beautiful creations, that I’m just floored,” she said. “I love that he has that foundation. I like that it’s part of his life and hopefully part of his memories when he’s older.”
She believes creating flower arrangements is an activity that anyone can pick up and do.
“I love that I can create something beautiful with my hands from scratch,” Price said. “I can start with an empty vase and end up with something that brings happiness to somebody, that brings beauty to a space, that uses nature and the world I grew up in.”