October/November 2022 MODSocietyMag_RDC_OctNov - Page 39

Growing Community

Morgan Howell Moylan never thought her love of flowers would lead to a major exhibition at the largest and most prestigious art museum in the state . Morgan ’ s “ Floral Fantasea ” — an intricate floral sculpture using amaranthus , celosia , gloriosa lilies and a dozen more types of flowers to bring to life an underwater scene — not only marked her first platform piece at the North Carolina Museum of Art , it also earned her the Designers ’ Choice Award in the “ Art in Bloom ” exhibition .
Though Morgan grew up surrounded by flowers on her family ’ s farm in Waynesville , North Carolina , she never intended to make a life of them . Instead , she landed a job in corporate America after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill , and while she enjoyed frequent public speaking , she missed being outside . So , Morgan took night classes at N . C . State and earned a degree in agriculture .
With her uninhibited , go-getter spirit , Morgan didn ’ t stop there . She continued learning by studying under some of the world ’ s most prestigious floral designers . In England , Morgan learned from the late Jane Packer , whose expertise and creativity has influenced the entire floral industry . Morgan then spent time in France learning from Catherine Muller , the in-house designer for Chanel and the Louvre . In her early days , Morgan says she would return from training sessions eager to share everything she had learned .
“ I just couldn ’ t keep it to myself ,” she says .
For the past decade , Morgan has operated West Queen Studio on her family ’ s property in historic Hillsborough . The studio is not only a creative space for the designer but also hosts classes for the public , feeding Morgan ’ s passion for sharing what she has learned with others .

“ Fresh-cut flowers have a powerful way of bringing home what ’ s going on outside .”

One of Morgan ’ s most popular classes is “ Grocery
Store to Glamorous ,” in which Morgan teaches how to take flowers from Trader Joe ’ s and Costco and turn them into beautiful arrangements .
Events come and go , but the classes build community . Someone attends a class with a neighbor , and then they come back to learn something new with their mother-in-law or a co-worker . They keep learning and growing together . Morgan frequently hosts students from across the state , Virginia and South Carolina , and she is honored to be a local destination .
“ Particularly since COVID , I love bringing people to West Queen Studio ,” she says . “ People really want to be able to do something with their hands and create beauty . There is so much opportunity with fresh flowers .”
The studio itself is designed with great intentionality . Morgan ’ s husband Mike is passionate about restoration . The space was built with reclaimed objects from across the Southeast , including boxes for storage and a ladder from an old hardware store , as well as drawers in the kitchen sourced from a nuns ’ residence . It all carries history . For participants , the studio is meant to be a retreat . For Morgan , it is meant to be an extension of her family — a truly beautiful , welcoming place to work and to learn .
Morgan built West Queen Studio while raising four children . Staying active and involved with her kids has remained a priority as she grew the studio . She is grateful that her children know her not only as a mother , but also a business owner . While her activity once revolved around her children ’ s school and athletics , that is changing as three of her four kids are currently in college . Now , she is creating her own community .