Posts Tagged “woodland floral design”

Interview: Francoise Weeks

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!

Enjoy!

 

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

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