Catherine Conlin. Photo by Naama Levy

Catherine Conlin. Photo by Naama Levy


As a young girl, every year Catherine Conlin would visit a flower shop in her hometown of Griffith, Indiana, and buy her mother flowers for her birthday.

“I remember almost getting high from smelling the fragrances of the flowers,” says the 58-year-old floral designer, painter, and musician. “I have always loved flowers.”

After a circuitous route through the Indiana University Kelley School of Business and retail management, plus moves to San Francisco and Houston, Conlin settled back in Bloomington in 2016 with her husband, Konstantine Baranov, a native of Moscow, Russia. “When I came back, I felt like I was home,” Conlin says.

Now she is teaching floral design classes, passing along her passion and expertise to people who want to learn the craft for pleasure, financial pursuits, or as a group activity.

“The classes help me connect with the community in a creative way,” says Conlin, who opened Catherine Conlin :: Concepts in Art & Design, in April. “I have an innate ability to open up people’s creative selves and help that bloom,” she says.

Conlin offers three different classes: an eight-week Wedding and Event Floral Design class, a five-week Floral Design Basics class, and Flowers with Friends, a one-time event arranged for groups.

Conlin, who owned a floral and event design studio in San Francisco for 13 years, enjoys teaching floral design basics, explaining each flower’s special needs, and showing students how to arrange them. “I love putting them together and seeing the colors play off each other in surprising ways,” Conlin says. Her designs have been featured in multiple blogs and in magazines such as Martha Stewart Weddings.

In addition to teaching, Conlin enjoys oil and acrylic painting. In March, the Indiana Arts Commission placed one of her paintings, along with those of other female artists, in the Statehouse. She also sings and plays guitar and has created four albums.

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