Posts Tagged “Francoise Weeks”
Hi there! Hey! Hello! Welcome to part two of my Francoise Weeks design workshop saga. We left off on me abandoning my project and breaking for dinner. Once our bellies were full and some energy had been restored we moved on to the main event, the thing that I was the most excited for… SHOES! The shoes are one of Francoise’s signature designs. When I first got hip to her style, the shoes were my favorite! Now that I had a few designs under my belt and was feeling a little more comfortable I was ready to dive right in and make my very own floral shoe!
Francoise did her demo and released us into the wild (aka workspace) to once again pick out our product and let our creativity run free. Since the beginning of the day I had been thinking about what I would do with my shoe. What product could I use? Would I work with only flowers? Only foliage? I felt prepared to tackle the shoe. I had been eyeballing some leucadendron all day; I thought it would make a scale-like effect on the shoe. I made up my mind and I went for it. I ripped the leaves off one by one and began gluing them onto the stiletto heel. As I laid the leaves in place I realized that I was laying them down in the wrong direction. Francoise had mentioned in demo the importance of the direction you lay your leaves or petals. I thought I was going the right way but the further I got it became clear that this wasn’t going to work. At this point my fingers were covered in glue and everything was stuck on me rather than the shoe itself. It looked like I had tar and feathered my own hand. I decided to rip off all the leaves I had glued and start over.
Now that I had figured out the right direction, I was in my groove and everything went smooth. I got all of my leaves down, added some petals on the toe and heel using the same technique I used with my headpiece, and finished it off with a cluster of garden spray roses on the toe. Although it was simple I loved it. It looked wearable.
Again I looked around the room and was blown away! Each shoe was so different. Some looked like they were found in the forest, some looked like they should be on the red carpet and some even looked edible! By the end of the class I was happy with what I made. It looked like a collection and the experience showed me that I can make stuff out of flowers – I just might not be cut out for the traditional style of flower arranging.
I was so impressed with how creative this group was. Not one item in both days of the class looked anything like another and all of them were extremely beautiful. Check out all the different styles of shoes below. Again, which one are you more drawn too?
Photos by Wheeland Photography
Hi, I’m Jenn. I grew up in the flower business with a black thumb and zero floral design skills. I work in the marketing department here at Mayesh. Some of you may be familiar with my work if you have watched our design star series with Beth O’Reilly or have followed Mayesh at an event via social media. I’m the girl behind the camera. As per my duties I was asked to go to our Orange County location to snap a few pictures and Instagram at the two day Francoise Weeks design workshop we hosted on March 1st and 2nd. It started as any other event I covered in the past – show up, take a few pictures and try to be cute and clever while posting captions. Then I got offered an opportunity to actually be a part of the class and participate in day two of the workshop. I follow Francoise on social media and have seen her work, so naturally I was a little intimidated because let’s not forget … zero design skills.
The class starts with a short lecture from Francoise about how to make a floral headpiece. She spoke about her trial and errors in finding the right materials. She gave a “what NOT to-do” list that was curated out of past disaster situations. She showed options of different materials she uses and finally showed us how to mold and manipulate the wire armature she had provided for this particular style. She does the same with a hair comb – showing us tips and tricks to make it sturdy and wearable. Then we were released to forage our product and start our design.
I do have an artistic background. I went to school for cosmetic arts so naturally I am drawn to color rather than texture. I looked around the room at what people were grabbing and I started to freak a little bit. Other people in the class were going for interesting textures, a lot of greens and flowers with height. I looked down at what I grabbed and it was only 4 roses (2 red, 2 pink) and some kind of fern. What was I doing? I was in a room surrounded by extremely talented and skilled professionals. They were like kids in a candy shop reaching for all the lollipops, gumdrops and licorice rope they could find! And me? I grabbed a handful of M&Ms.
I make my way back to my workstation. I pick up my wire armature and have no idea what to do. I rack my brain of any cool ideas, then I remember my mom got me a vintage hat from the 1950s for Christmas one year. I love mid-century vintage. It’s what I’m inspired by in my daily life from clothes and housewares to make-up and hair. I start to form my wire. At this point I have a direction. I cover the wire in leaves as instructed and I start my design. I glue the fern down around the rim first then start ripping petals off my roses. I start with the red, gluing each petal around the outer edge and working my way in, same with the pink. I basically make an ombre composite rose (a trick I learned from a past Design Star video) and I’m happy with it. What started as a vintage inspired hat ended up looking like something you would see in a Shakespearian play but I’m okay with it because it was a labor of love. I look around the room and I see beautiful hats and headpieces. All of them had height and width. They looked like fairytale dreams and I had something that was reminiscent of a beret but again, I am satisfied. I made something out of flowers! Something I have never done before… at least not successfully. Francoise makes her way around the room and tells me “its unique! It doesn’t look like anyone else’s.” I’m still not sure if that was a good or bad thing but hey, I’ll take it. Now that I was finished with my headpiece, I try it on and what do you know? It fits!
Happy with my hat I move on to my comb. No surprise here, I was inspired by the 1960s Tiki craze – think Elvis’ “Blue Hawaii”. I prep my comb with the cardboard and wire provided. I cut the cardboard in a fan-like shape, glue it on the comb, secure it with wire and start gluing on my flowers. This time, though using a much smaller space to design on, I managed to spread my wings by way of product. I grabbed four waxy vibrant green leaves, one sprig of some kind of textured green, four little groupings of a cute pink flower from the succulent family, two stems of freesia and one pink ranunculus. Wow. What a spread. I glue the leaves down and start my design. I go a different route this time, starting by gluing the ranunculus right in the center and worked my way out. Again, I am happy with my design. It looks tropical, vintage and wearable. I go to put it in my hair and… I can’t get it in. I didn’t leave enough space for the teeth of the comb. By this time everyone was done and breaking for dinner. I abandon the project. I know what I did wrong and learned from my mistake but it looks great in pictures and really that the point, right?
I looked around the room and this time mine wasn’t unlike everyone else’s. I’m pleased with this. No one design looked anything alike, but they all looked like beautiful floral hair combs. I was amazed at how different everyone’s designs looked considering we all had the same product available and were given the same materials to use. Below are pictures of all the different hat styles and hair combs from the class. Which are your favorites?
Photos by Wheeland Photography
Hi again! Back for more, I see? I’m just going to assume that my first blog was so inspiring that you just had to find out more (don’t tell me if that’s not the reason, and you really just love Francoise Weeks… I wouldn’t blame you). Well regardless of how you ended up here, I hope you’re ready for a little recap of the sweet floral jewelry we got to design after a quick break for a tasty pasta dinner and an even tastier glass of wine.
If you read my first Francoise Weeks blog, you might remember me casually mentioning my lack of confidence in the floral purse department. Well, let me tell you, that all changed when floral jewelry was put on the table. Not that my pieces were the ‘best,’ or even close to it, but I loved what I came up with, and in the end, that’s all that really matters, right? At least in this environment, which was really about experimentation and pushing yourself creatively.
Francoise began this segment with another demonstration showing the ‘behind the scenes’ of the jewelry; the materials & mechanics for constructing the base, the variety of items we could create, and some different techniques she has come up with. Another thing I loved about Francoise’s teaching style was her willingness to share the mistakes she’s made, and the trial-and-error nature of this kind of design work. As a novice designer, that sentiment really helped me feel comfortable, and encouraged me to just jump in and experiment. We had a plethora of options to choose from, from cuffs to rings, chokers to earrings, and any other type of jewelry we might dream up. For example, I started making by a chocker, and by the end we had deemed it a “statement choker – headband – belt combo” – because why not?
Along with that three hit wonder, I also made a cuff with a coordinating succulent ring. For some reason, I was really feeling the deep purples and burgundies that day, so I ended up with a little collection in that palette. Unfortunately they did not make the return trip to Seattle with me (RIP), but they have been forever preserved in these two photos:
It was really fun to see what others did – some people had the same idea as me, and created multiple pieces that worked together, while others went wild and tried totally different things. I hadn’t really considered floral jewelry before, but let me tell you, in the right setting I would TOTALLY rock some of these pieces. Think about it, you walk into a room, your arms or neck or whatever it may be, draped in gorgeous flowers… talk about a statement piece! Whether it’s a simple cuff as a unique alternative to a corsage, or a super outrageous necklace used in a styled photoshoot, floral jewelry is so versatile. It may take some time for people to hop aboard this trend, especially brides, but I guarantee there are some risk takers out there who love standing out from the crowd, and floral jewelry might be just the way.
Check out some of the pieces created below – which stunners would you consider adding to your jewelry collection??
Photo by Wheeland Photography
As I’m sure many of you saw, two weeks ago Mayesh hosted a workshop for the fabulous Francoise Weeks in our Orange County location. As a blogger and a (slowly but surely) aspiring floral designer myself, I more than willingly hopped on a plane in my rainy city of Seattle (seriously, I heard this is our wettest winter on record!) and traveled south to soak up some Vitamin D, as well as some funky floral education from the guru herself. I participated in the first day, and my cousin & fellow marketing team member, Jenn, took over on day two. As part of the marketing team, it’s always fun to expand our floral knowledge and provide multiple perspectives to our followers. In this blog I’ll discuss the first thing we designed, floral purses, and stay tuned for part two, focusing on the second half of day one!
If you’ve been following along at all with my personal journey into the world of flower design, you might have seen an arrangement here, a bouquet there… but a floral purse? Nope! In fact, you probably haven’t seen many in general! Floral purses can be a fun and quirky alternative to things like centerpieces and flower girl baskets, and bring something totally unique to the table. Now, I must admit, I learned at this workshop that floral purses are (apparently) not a strength of mine. It could have been because of my lack of design experience, or it could have been because halfway through constructing the base I decided to go a new route, take it apart, reconstruct the base, and start adding flowers to the exterior with very little time left… we shall never know. But, despite my own, we’ll call them, “personal problems,” the rest of the designers in attendance dove right in and all came up with some pretty awesome purses. I should also mention, the product we were given to work with was incredible. It was set up in the middle of the tables, and was basically an installation all on its own. Every color of the rainbow, foliage galore, and the cutest little succulents you ever did see. How could you go wrong?
My favorite thing about the workshop, and this goes for the rest of the pieces we did as well, was just how different every design was. Seriously – not one looked the same! Francoise is a wonderful teacher and gave clear and precise demonstrations for each piece, but ended each demonstration with one word: Go. And she meant it. She encouraged us to go wild, test our artistic boundaries, and think outside of the box. And that’s what everyone did, hence the production of twenty-something totally unique designs for each piece of the workshop. See for yourself below!
Photos by Wheeland Photography
Let your inner fashion maven soar! In our Françoise Weeks Botanical Couture Workshop you will create floral-infused purses, shoes, headpieces and jewelry. Françoise will be your mentor as you discuss and practice constructing the mechanics involved in creating a wide variety of these unique couture designs. A discussion about sourcing a variety of materials will be encompassed in the workshop as well. Here are the details:
Here are more details on the specific botanical couture pieces you will learn to design:
A floral purse can be used as a centerpiece, bridal bouquet, or as adornment for the flower girl. Observe the mechanics that are used to create a structure that imitates the elaborate style of couture. Once your base is created, let your imagination run wild with how to cover it: foliage, petals, gilded leaves, feathers or sisal materials.
Elegant and gorgeous, fairytale slippers are a striking addition to fashion shows, bridal showers and weddings. Floral shoes can be created from wire structures or using an old shoe as a base that can then be worn! Once the foundation is laid, styles can vary widely depending on your choice of flowers and foliage.
Aluminum wire will be manipulated to create the base for botanical rings, bracelets, necklaces and even scarves and for the earrings we will start with a set of inexpensive earrings and decorate them elegantly. These beautiful detailed pieces will make for unique accessories for any event or wedding.
When it comes to floral millinery, a design may be lush and vibrant or simple and elegant. The elements used all add up to a unique floral headpiece design. After fashioning a basic armature that can be bent or shaped, your creativity will be called upon to construct these cascading arrangements. Flowers, striking foliage and bundles of berries compose a picture perfect floral headpiece.
One aspect to our industry that will never cease to amaze me is that given the fact that most of us have essentially the same materials available for creative work, that all great floral designers have a unique look and design aesthetic. Love it! My next interview is with the designer, Françoise Weeks and as you read on and see samples of her work, you will surely notice that she has a distinctive design style.
If you really like what you see and are interested in spending some time working with Françoise, then be sure to check out the details for her upcoming workshop in Los Angeles on March 26, 27 & 28!
When did you realize this was the career for you?
I grew up in Belgium where flowers are a part of everyday life. We always had flowers in the house! I knew that I wanted to work with flowers when I was in my mid-twenties. I interned with a florist in Antwerp for a few months and learned so much! It wasn’t until 20 years later that I started my business in Portland, OR.
When/how/why did you start your company?
For a long time I had dreamed of working in the flower industry, but starting a business was a daunting proposition. I had worked in a medical lab for 20 years; when there was word that the lab might close, I took a leap of faith and in 1996 started the business in our basement. Five years later we had a studio built in the backyard. Until recently the focus of my business has been weddings and events. Now I divide my time between doing weddings/events and teaching workshops, both in the studio and out of state.
Tell us a little about your floral extracurricular activities?
Each month I teach one 3-day workshop in my studio; they are intensive and inspiring, providing insights and techniques developed over my many years of European floral design. Topics alternate between weddings/events, woodlands and botanical couture. Everyone gets lots of personal attention, as I keep classes limited to 5 people (my studio is quite small and cozy!).
For the last couple of years, I have been doing presentations at garden clubs as well as at the Yard, Garden & Patio show here in Portland. Next month I will attend a 3-day workshop in New York, organized by Holly Chapple. I am really looking forward to that!
You have an upcoming workshop in Los Angeles on March 26, 27, 28 – tell us more about the event?
Lori Eshler Frystack with Blossom Alliance is hosting a 3-day, hands-on wedding/event workshop in her studio on March 26, 27 & 28. Last year she invited me to teach this floral design and business intensive for LA-area designers.
Every morning we’ll start with a one-hour open discussion about business matters (proposals, contracts, marketing, social media, intricacies of sourcing and pricing flowers etc… ) where everyone’s input and questions are welcomed. After a demonstration of techniques and mechanics, students will design their own pieces. They will hone their artistic talents and will be encouraged to listen to their intuition and further their own vision.
Day 1: we’ll explore design elements for the reception, from centerpieces to arrangements for mantles and buffets.
Day 2: we’ll focus on ceremony flowers, including altar and chuppah decorations, candelabra and pew arrangements.
Day 3: we’ll dedicate this day to design whimsical and woodland bouquets, flower purses and other personal flowers.
These types of three-day events are some of my favorites for the fun, challenge and opportunity to see how other people think about and tackle their projects.
How would you describe your design style?
Detailed and textural; I always prefer using smaller flowers mixed with herbs, edibles, seedpods, succulents, feathers etc…
I have a great curiosity about design and like to explore new ideas. My work has become a lot more varied in recent years and it’s always been a source of great satisfaction and pleasure for me.
The last few years my work has emerged into two distinctive styles:
urban woodlands – contemporary stylings of mosses, lichens, bark and forest floor gatherings
floral forward – exquisite botanical haute couture creations of shoes, purses and headpieces
What or who inspires you?
Nature and art inspire me every day.
What floral tool can you not live without?
My bonsai scissors!
If you had to pick just one (I know it is nearly impossible) what would be your favorite flower and why?
How could I ever choose? I guess if I had to pick one, I would say Iceland poppies, because of those delicate, silky petals and graceful, curved stems…
Tell us a short floral story. Have you ever had a strange floral request? Created something wonderful out of a sticky situation? Have you ever felt like MacGyver and used your mad floral skills in a non-floral situation?
Well, stories come to mind, but nothing that should be repeated! However, I will say, I once had to get very creative for an event, and used dozens of yogurt containers, meticulously wrapped with aspidistra leaves (I also used leaves from laurel, camellia, silverleaf, eucalyptus, begonia…), for an ambitious project. Later, I realized it worked so well that I made a habit of it. They make wonderfully inexpensive containers and nobody would guess there are yogurt tubs under all that elegant foliage! I like reusing the tubs and creating something so beautiful from something so plain.
What is your favorite color combination right now?
Chartreuse with chocolate, burgundy and buttery yellow
Photo Credit: Joni Shimabukuro
Photo Credit: Jamie Bosworth
Photo Credit: Robbie Augspurger
Photo Credit: Joni Shimabukuro
Photo Credit: David Barss
Photo Credit: Ted Mishima
Photo Credit: Jamie Bosworth
Photo Credit: Jamie Bosworth
Photo Credit: Joni Shimabukuro