Collaborating with likeminded creative women is one of the many benefits we are privileged enough to enjoy in running our brand. Since opening our Therry Street pop up store in February 2016, we have tried to create more than just a shop, but a place for visitors to experience the ideas that inspire us. This has included philosophy workshops, musical events, french lessons, exhibitions and installations.
This Autumn, to celebrate the changing season, we invited regular radical collaborator Vivien Hollingsworth of Flos Botanical Studio to create a visual display that served as an offering to the colours and mood of the season.
- Interview and story by Kerryn Moscicki, Images by Samee Lapham
Viv, you responded to the rich Turmeric and Burgundy palettes we have included in our AW17 range with the concept of creating multiple hanging garlands for our store windows. What was the inspiration / reference behind the garlands?
Well initially I was admiring my new Tumeric Dharmas against some flowers I was working with. I was really taken with the beautiful warm colours of the range, celebrating the rich tones of winter rather than the standard subdued colours normally associated with the winter months. In my work you get to notice all the changes in the season. I am always confused when people think of winter as grey or gloomy when it produces so many vibrant tones and textures.
Tell us more about the strawflower - what drew you to this particular flower for the project?
I have a real love of straw flowers. Xerochrysum bracteatum, straw flowers, everlastings or paper daisies as they are called, are an Australian native. They have the texture of straw (like their name suggests) that means that as they dry and die they maintain their vibrant colour and texture.
I also love the colours they come in. When you buy them, each bunch is mixed in autumn hues ranging from burgundy to orange, yellow and ivory. Their paper like texture combined with the colours gives them an almost metallic finish, so they glisten in the light.
The construction of the garlands themselves looks very involved and of course we always go for abundance in our projects together. How many garlands are featured in the work? How many flowers approximately have been constructed into the garlands?
For this idea to work there needed to be a mass to create impact. Altogether there are roughly 1000 blooms in 18 garlands, each ranging 2m - 4m in length. The garlands are made by stringing the flowers together. Using a darning needle and crochet cotton I pierced the blooms to string them like beads and create the garlands- quite a time consuming (and thumb bruising) processes. I chose to make the garlands in this delicate way so that there was a lightness to the installation, by removing the stems and leaving only the flowers, the focus goes on to the blooms. Because theses straw flowers dry naturally, the installation will maintain its effect for weeks to come.
You have a home based studio that you work from. How do you find the process of working from home? What challenges do you have?
I have a studio in the backyard on my Northcote home. It is a relaxed set up that works well for me, an old stables and a tool shed that I work out of. I enjoy working from home because the nature of my work means that I have very strange hours. This makes working from home both convenient and challenging. In some ways I find separating my work and personal time difficult and they tend to blur together, there is always more work to do and it's hard to forget that my studio is only a few steps out my backdoor.
Do you have any work rituals based around the physical space of the studio? I imagine you must have a constant stream of arrangements being placed in the space? Or is it like a landscape gardner who has rocks in their front yard i.e no time to create things for yourself?
I find my studio a very relaxing place to be, surrounded by my tools I feel very productive. I like to treat myself to a few sneaky leftovers from each job and try and give myself time to play. It is important that I am make sure I am still creating for myself not just for my clients. I am pretty unsentimental about my arrangements, but that's why I love floristry - it's temporality. When I make something for myself I usually pull it apart and keep playing with it before disposing of the flowers. I treat myself to my favorite, or when things first come into season or if I see something special, some blush tipped variegated carnations, lotus flowers, the first blossom, lily of the valley etc.
We love that you actually met our wonderful Yes!Journal contributing photographer Samee Lapham through a previous project with Radical Yes! and have since begun working together on your own exciting collaborations. Tell us about the other projects you guys have been working on.
Since we met on the Winter Solstice project Samee and I have stayed in touch and become good friends. We have been scheming about a few projects together but most recently we worked on a workshop to raise funds for Sister Works. Together, with Pot and Pan and Gather and Tailor, we ran a flower arranging workshop and Samee documented the evening beautifully. We get along really well and I think our styles compliment each other beautifully and I hope that we keep getting to work together on more beautiful projects!