Bett Wilson Foley’s unique style and creative process shines even during the pandemic
By Jack LaMarche
Bett Wilson Foley was recently named principal floral designer at Fearrington Village, but she didn’t always spend her days creating elegant arrangements.
With a background in journalism, politics and communications, Bett was an editor at a newspaper, worked in a children’s library and held a position on the Pittsboro Board of Commissioners for eight years. But at some point, she realized her true passion didn’t involve sitting behind a desk. “I wanted to get up and be moving around,” she says. “My background was in journalism and art, so I wanted to get back toward doing something more creative, not sitting all day.” Lucky for Bett, her job at Fearrington seemed to fit that criteria perfectly. She spends her days picking and arranging flowers for The Fearrington House Restaurant and The Fearrington House Inn along with local weddings and other events, creating her designs at a pace that meshes well with her hardworking personality.
Thinking back on her nine years on the job, she mentions the fluid nature of flowers – how no two arrangements are ever exactly the same, how the flow of the seasons changes her artistic process and especially how her creativity is encouraged through her work environment. “I love flowers,” she says. “If I need inspiration or if I’m getting ready to do an arrangement, all I have to do is just walk out to the garden, and it lights me up.” Her respect for the work goes deeper than just the sum of an arrangement’s parts. “If you see a flower that’s particularly beautiful, we look at that flower, and it sounds corny, but we let the flowers be what they want,” she says. “We honor what the flowers were meant to be.”
With COVID-19 causing the postponement of many weddings as well as limiting the number of people visiting Fearrington Village’s shops and eateries, Bett and her coworkers have had to adapt. A renewed effort by Fearrington to buy flowers locally has been challenging with many local markets closing. Despite this, Bett looks forward to the future and finds comfort knowing weddings will resume. Bett says that some of her favorite parts of the job are thinking about the couple’s unique needs and seeing their faces light up. “We put our heart and soul into each wedding we do,” she says. “When we deliver flowers to the bride, it’s such a nice thing to experience because we actually get to see their faces.”