Vivien Hollingsworth from Flos.Botanical Studio gets up a 3am to go to the flower market. She chooses to do that with her own free will. And we are so glad she does, because the result of Vivien's trips to the flower market are absolutely stunning. We love receiving her weekly, seasonal posies at Guild - they are always a surprising combination of textures, colours and fragrances.
We're also super excited to have our first flower related workshop by Vivien coming up on Sunday 11 December. She is teaching Native Wild Wreath Making and we can't think of a better way to decorate our doors for Christmas. There are still some spots left, so if you are interested in making a gorgeous, fresh wreath this year then you can book your spot here.
We interviewed Vivien about starting her floristry studio and how she finds her inspiration...
Can you please tell us a little about yourself and your craft?
I am 27 and I am a florist. I work full time in my business Flos.Botanical Studio. I live and work out of my home in Northcote, I have a studio space out the back of my house and two very kind housemates who let me take over our backyard with my work. I grew up in beautiful lush Warragul in Gippsland but have lived in Melbourne for 8 years now. I studied floristry at Holmesglen Tafe and before that I did a double degree in Visual Arts, painting and Arts, visual culture.
When and how did you get interested in floristry?
I have always loved flowers, my mother is an avid gardener and my extended family are berry growers. I grew up with a love and understanding of the seasons. It wasn’t until I finished my degrees and was working in uninspiring arts admin and considering what to do next that I decided on a whim to enroll in floristry. Once I began I knew that I only wanted to be a florist. It is the perfect medium for me; I love the pace, the connection to the seasons and getting to make impermanent compositions. When I was painting and sculpting my work was often about site and landscape. Now working with flowers I get to make work about the same thing and it completely satisfies my creative energies.
Can you describe the early days of setting up your business?
I have been working for myself full-time for just over a year now. It has been far more challenging and rewarding then I could have imagined. The flower scene in Melbourne is very close and supportive, I have been lucky enough to freelance for some really talented people who have been extremely supportive while setting up my studio. I have consciously tried to cultivate clients who suit my aesthetic and work with brands and people who I respect. The flower industry and be quite commercial so trying to carve out a space where I can be both financially viable whilst maintaining my creative practice has been a balancing act.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Working with flowers creates a certain rhythm. On Thursdays I head to the market around 3am and collect and buy for my jobs that week. I really love going to the market and I find all the characters you meet there really energizing. I love seeing all the surprising and seasonal blooms as they start coming in with the change of weather.
Once I get back to my studio I have some breakfast, begin conditioning the flowers and organising them for the jobs. Then the fun part, I being making my arrangements for the weekends jobs and weddings. As well as my day to day routines I also regularly head out of town. I have family in Gippsland and the Dandenong’s so I am especially attached to those regions and try to go to both at least once a season to see the landscape change.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
For colour pallets I look to the landscape and gardens. I am often working to a brief and design from a client or bride which can be a great inspiration and challenge to work with. I try to find ways to tweak the pallets and integrate a more natural but also surprising composition. I also like to draw from art, particularly the Dutch masters and Australian landscape artists as well the constructivist and contemporary artists who work with still life. I am also heavily inspired by those around me, especially my friends who are practicing artists, and the beautiful produce of the flower growers at the market.
If you could do anything tomorrow what would you do?
Move the country and plant paddocks of rambling roses.
If you could teach your kids one thing, what would it be?
To learn the importance of growing and making things, and the skills to do it.
What are you reading at the moment?
I am dyslexic so more than reading I listen, to Radio National, podcasts on politics, history and feminism and the occasional audio book when I can sit still long enough.
If we rummaged through your grocery bag, what would we find?
Avocados, liquorice and probably some snips - I always have a pair of snips in-case I find something beautiful to cut.
Can you tell us the first thing that pops into your mind when we mention the word …
People: support network
Pause: weekends in the Rhodendron Garden
Sound: The birds on mums Deck
Smell: Lilly of the Valley
Place: Mum's garden
Color: Burnt Orange
What’s one thing you can’t live without at the moment?
Snips, hot chocolate, garden roses and burgundy foliage. The dream combo.
What are your words of wisdom?
Surround yourself with smart talented and motivated people and will encourage you. We all have something to offer and once you find your medium work hard to get better at it. We owe it to each other to share our passions and skills.
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Photos by Bobby + Tide and Samee Lapham (Radical Yes)