Say it with Flowers
I'm not a florist, I haven't ever arranged a 'real' bouquet, but one of my favourite parts of my job is styling the faux flowers that we sell. Photo shoots are usually busy days, fun but stressful, constantly on my feet. On the days when I'm styling flowers, everything slows down and the stress instantly lifts. Despite the flowers I work with being fakes, there is a calming effect that I get from arranging and styling flowers, that I usually associate with being around nature.
I get stressed easily. Keeping lists, stepping away from my laptop and hanging out with my dog all help to calm me down and help me get back on track, but the best way that I have found to abolish stress is by stepping outside and going for a walk in the woods or across a field. There's just something about nature that chills me out. When I first tried styling the flowers at work, I didn't have high hopes. I'm not good at doing fiddly things with my hands and prefer less hands-on creative pursuits, such as photography and writing. Surprisingly, not only did I enjoy styling the faux flowers, but I found it incredibly soothing. Rather than getting stressed that I wasn't doing it right, I found that it came quite naturally and felt pretty zen.
Starting with the largest or most colourful bloom, I pick my way through the stems on offer, pulling together those that I feel work well together. Odd numbers work best, and I tend to start with three or five large, singular flowers before mixing in plenty of longer twigs and stems, mixing in a few wild-looking smaller flowers. I enjoy bending, twisting and manipulating the stems, leaves and flower heads to move them into the perfect position, choosing complementary colours and stepping away from traditional 'pretty' pairings. While I'm bending the stems, scrunching the flower heads and curling the leaves, my mind wanders and I feel at ease.
I'd love to try this with real flowers. In my new house, I'm envisioning wild and unruly flower arrangements spilling out of vases on our dining table and in our bedroom. I've always been more of a plant girl, preferring greenery to brightly coloured flowers, but I feel a shift in direction. I want to add bursts of colour to our home with flowers, peppering predominantly neutral displays with small pops of colour. We're going to be living on the edge of the countryside, woodland literally at our back door, and I want to bring this wildness into our home. I've just received a copy of Worm London's new book Wreaths and I'm feeling inspired to play around with more unusual floral decorations too.
Although I'd love to play around with real flowers, and I particularly love the idea of displaying dried floral creations in my home, I'm still an advocate of faux flowers. I'm not talking about the cheap plastic creations that you find in pound shops, rather beautifully crafted fake flowers and stems that you'd swear were the real thing. Some of the fakes stocked by Rose & Grey even feel real to the touch. Scroll through these images - every single stem featured is fake. Would you have known that just by looking?
I have these visions of opening a florists, perhaps with a small cafe inside and a space where I can host supper clubs or workshops. I'll be dressed head-to-toe in my beloved Toast apron dresses, spending my days creating flower arrangements and photographing the beautiful details of the bouquets. The shop will be a place for like-minded people to come and sit, work and connect - everyone leaving with a huge bouquet at the end of the day. This is just a wistful dream, but flowers are perfect for inciting such dreams.