WHAT FIRST SPARKED YOUR PASSION FOR FLORAL DESIGN?
[Maureen] It started with our father in England who loved to grow dahlias. Then my love of plants really began at around 16 years old, when my grandmother gave me a cutting from her begonia plant. I watched that plant grow and bloom with amazement, and was soon hooked - I had a whole wall of plants with grow lights. Then our brother said "You love flowers so much, why don't you go to work at a flower shop?" The next week I did just that and I have never looked back. I have been working with flowers ever since.
FROM THE MANY FLEURS DE VILLES SHOWS YOU’VE PARTICIPATED IN, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE DESIGN?
[Maureen + Kathleen] We’ve loved the excitement of imagining and creating all of our Fleurs de Villes designs; the anticipation leading up to building each one, then seeing our ideas come to life. If we had to choose one, it would have to be our very first that we created for the Vancouver show in 2017. There was so much teamwork and brainstorming to plan the mechanics, balance, water source and flower choices - so when our first floral lady came together, it was magic, and we even took home the “Best in Show” award. The joy of being involved and the happiness of her coming together so beautifully was so gratifying. Yes, the first one was our baby!
IF YOU COULD ATTEND A FLORAL FESTIVAL OR GARDEN ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD, WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?
[Kathleen] It would be magical to visit the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London, the "haute-couture" of the gardening scene. The British know how to put on a show, with all their historical gardens and knowledge of horticulture passed down through the ages. Who wouldn't want to stroll through all the floral gardens while sipping a glass of champagne?
WHICH FLEURS DE VILLES SHOW THEME HAVE YOU FELT MOST INSPIRED BY AND WHY?
[Kathleen] For me, it would be Fleurs de Villes NOËL - the festive floral trail that takes place in Vancouver during the holiday season. Christmas is such a magical time of year, and creating a piece for the NOËL theme brings a sense of nostalgia. The excitement of Christmas, bringing people together and the smell of the evergreens all bring that joyful feeling reminiscing about our Christmas traditions.
CAN YOU SHARE SOME TIPS AND WITH FLORISTS WHO ARE PARTICIPATING IN FLEURS DE VILLES FOR THE FIRST TIME?
[Maureen] Yes, here’s a few to watch for...
If gluing flowers to your design, make sure you choose the best glue that works for what you need it for. There are many floral glue brands and they are not all created equal. Test them out first or network and ask other florists what they would recommend.
Ensure the design is balanced so that it is stable. Equally important is to figure out the water source and how you will incorporate it into the design, without taking away from your desired shape.
The delivery of your design needs to be figured out before your build. Will it need to be taken apart or can it be delivered in one piece? This will impact your mechanics, you want to be able to put it together with ease at the installation location.
It is all definitely worth the work, as it's an exhilarating experience when it all comes together!
WHO INSPIRES YOU FROM THE WORLD OF ART, FASHION OR DESIGN?
[Maureen] So many people and designs always give me inspiration. The biggest thing to do is to have "hungry eyes", look around, there is so much inspiration everywhere. The more hungry your eyes are, the more you will see. From small to grandiose things - different colour combinations, a simple branch, fashion - really anything can spark ideas for you to create beautiful designs. Awareness of what is around you is the key, soak it up!
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
[Kathleen] That I can create whatever I like! Once you learn the techniques of floral design, you pretty much have a blank canvas. There is always change such as the seasons, colours, containers, style etc., so nothing is ever stagnant or boring. Even when working within the parameters of a job, I love that I can always use my creativity. My job is good for the soul - the banter around our shop is uplifting and I’m always learning from my co-workers!
HOW DO YOU INCORPORATE FLOWERS INTO YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
[Maureen] I know all of us sisters love to have phalaenopsis orchid plants around our homes. We love them for their beauty, elegance and lasting quality. Flowers in our bathrooms and a few vases of flowers throughout our houses gives us joy. One of my favourite ways I’ve incorporated flowers into my personal style is a ring I had designed with flowers and birds carved into the sides… two of my favourite things.
HOW DO YOU ENSURE THAT YOUR FLORAL DESIGNS ALIGN WITH A CLIENT'S VISION?
[Kathleen] To begin with, I listen to the client to understand their vision, then explain which flowers might work best for this project. If needed, I’ll ask questions to clarify the client’s expectations and to explain the reasoning behind my design ideas, always communicating my ideas with respect and being transparent regarding any unrealistic expectations.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE FLOWER-RELATED QUOTE THAT RESONATES WITH YOU?
[Kathleen] It would be:
"You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry. Don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way." Walter C. Hagen
This quote reminds us to remember to stop, breathe, and enjoy the small things that life has to offer.