We recently paid our friend Georgie a visit at her flower filled florist studio in Auckland's Grey Lynn to talk art and inspiration, and ask how she came to work with flowers and her tips for making our fresh cut blooms last.
How did you come to work with flowers?
Planting marigolds with my mum in the garden is a vivid memory from my childhood, and I remember being taken with the colour and the smell. Another is picking flowers on the way to school and leaving them at the statue of the Virgin Mary at the entrance of my primary school - I would have been about five or six years old at the time.
When I was in my teens my step sister Jane had a flower shop on the corner of St Kevins Arcade on Karangahape Road - I would drop in most days after school and hang out and help. I would also bring along my sketchbook and spend hours drawing flowers. My introduction to floristry started there! Flowers have been some of my first and strongest memories – I believe I was destined to work with flowers!
As an artist, what draws you to flowers as a medium for expression?
There are so many incredible possibilities for flowers beyond an arrangement in a vase. Flowers are a powerful and emotive visual medium to be drawn, to be an expression of love, to be explored and deconstructed as a form to convey a message.
Georgie wears the Edie Rolo Necklace and Anita Huggie Hoop.
Who are some floral artists you admire?
- Constance Spry: A revolutionary, forward thinking floral artist (1886-1960).
- Balthasar van der Ast: Flowers and seashells were favourite subjects for the Dutch golden age painter (1593-1657).
- Azuma Makoto: Renowned Japanese floral artist - one of my absolute favourites!
Where do you look for inspiration?
Music, art galleries, film, pop culture.
How did you come to develop your signature style?
My work has evolved and changed in different directions over the past few years, but one thing always remains the same - flowers. Over the past eight years, as well as my floristry, I have been working on creating fine art prints using flowers, utilising different mediums and settings. When it comes to my art I am interested in creating an uncanny juxtaposition of the soft and flowery with something darker and potentially unsettling. I am always thinking about pushing and challenging the realm of floral art. Floral art used to be a dirty word but I really feel like that has changed over the past eight years.
Georgie wears the Nico Ovo Bangle.
What bloom/s hold/s the most sentimental value for you?
Freesias take me back to our beautiful childhood home that was surrounded by the flowers. The scent of them is happiness to me.
What blooms do you like to gift and why?
I love phalaenopsis orchids when they are in season - simple and in mass. But of course it depends on the person. All my friends and loved ones have such different styles so I would customise for each person.
Are there any flowers in particular whose meaning / significance makes them perfect for Mother’s Day?
Any flower that is significant to you. I would be gifting my Mum freesias if she lived in Auckland. Go with your heart, whatever feels right. It can be fresh cut lavender from the garden if that's what brings you together. We all know your mum / loved one will adore whatever you choose for them - that's the best thing about mums, caregivers, dads, nannas, sisters, whoever you connect with as a mother figure that you want to celebrate on the day!
When making a bouquet at home, what are your top tips for ensuring a beautiful result?
Keep it simple with home flowers! I personally prefer one type of flower with lush textured greenery or branches - you can't go wrong. I love my home flowers to be relaxed and not overly arranged, yet, in the same breath, if you do want to mix / arrange flowers in any colour or variety combo, I think there are no rules to flower choice! Just have fun with it, self expression is key! I do however think having the right vase makes a big difference to the arrangement - vase selection is very important.
Georgie wears the Heirloom Pearl Ring, Skinny Mini Ring and Candor Ring (coming soon).
How can we ensure our cut flowers last longer?
There should be no foliage below the water line. Submerged foliage encourages microbial growth.
Use a sharp knife or scissors to re-cut each stem right before it goes into the vase. Flowers absorb a lot of water the first day they’re in a vase, so watch the water level and replenish it as needed. Try and keep them in a cool spot away from the sun. Every flower has a different life span so remove any flowers that are past their best.
Are there any unique considerations when working with dried flowers as opposed to fresh blooms?
Dried flowers are fragile so you need to handle them with a little more care.
Can you share any tips for drying / preserving flowers?
Hanging certain flowers is best. Flowers with heavier heads should however be dried straight. Make sure there is air circulating around each bunch, and dry in the dark for best results to keep the colours bright. If you live somewhere humid, set up a dehumidifier to stop them from going mouldy.