A finished flower crown at the Floral Stylist flower crown workshop.
I’ve always adored flowers and a few weeks ago I attended a flower crown workshop by Sue Cameron who is a qualified florist and the owner of the Floral Stylist. Although she’s been a florist for many years it was the first class Sue has taught as the demand for floristry classes has continued to increase with the renewed popularity of the likes of flower crowns. I had such a wonderful time and really enjoyed the class, Sue was really helpful and I loved my gorgeous crown which I took home and wore for several hours afterwards. Sue has more classes coming up very soon so I thought that it would be great to find out some more about how she got into floristry, what inspires her and her upcoming classes.
How did you first get involved in floristry and what made you start the Floral Stylist?
My grandparents looked after me a lot when we were kids and they had the most beautiful and cherished garden with bountiful flowers and rare blooms. One day Tommy (my grandfather) showed me how a snapdragon bloom actually snapped open and shut like a little puppet and from that point on I was addicted to the magic of flowers. I first got started in floristry 22 years ago in a tiny (million year old) florist in Sandringham called ‘Jacks Florist’. It was so ‘old school’ that it only sold carnations, chrysanthemums and status but I loved it all the same and I went to floristry night school for 4 years at Unitec to become a professional florist.
Creativity must be an important part of what you do as a florist, where do you get your inspiration from?
Fashion and changing trends in interior design and home styling is what I study to keep my finger on the pulse of upcoming weddings and event design. I love WORLD as a fashion brand as it is bold, colourful, non-conformist, tenacious and always pushing the boundaries. I am in love with the seasonal changes in flowers and foliage and I always have been. The year can be marked by the following for me; the first bunch of white anenomes at the end of winter, frilly parrot tulips in spring, the first bunch of fragrant garden roses in summer, and early narcissus flowers in autumn like earlicheer and double cream daffodils.
I also love non-commercial garden flowers and foliages. I think they bring a more natural and botanical beauty to a design. Colour and colour toning are as much a part of me as my arms or legs and I can’t go for long without a colour fix of some kind. I get a lot of inspiration from other artists such as David Bowie (I have always loved his bold, unapologetic, chameleon-like style, he was always ahead of the game). Iris Apfel (quirky, colourful, unique, creative genius). I also read a lot of floral books and follow international wedding blogs. I particularly like the style of the old Dutch master floral paintings from the 17th century at the moment and I draw a lot of inspiration from them.
Sue Cameron (centre) teaching at her flower crown workshop.
What is it like to collaborate on events like weddings and be involved in people’s big day?
We love collaborating with other professional and creative vendors to bring to life beautiful events and there are so many great vendors and venues in Auckland (to see a list of vendors we love this our friends page.) We don’t tend to collaborate as much anymore as our services cover everything from floral to botanical, prop hire and styling. We offer more of a cohesively themed plan for a wedding or event rather than just floral. To be a part of what could be the most special day of a person’s life is both an honor and a joy and something we take very seriously.
Do you have favourite blooms you love to work with that you find yourself regularly going back to?
Absolutely! I am a sucker for a proper, fragrant garden rose, there is nothing that fills up my soul more than absorbing that smell into my very core. I also have a huge affection for dahlias in all their many shapes, colours and personalities. Wild flowers and rare gems like scabiosa, foxgloves and pansies light me up with their whimsical little bells and frilly faces. I am also really big on foliages as I firmly believe that the right foliage can make or break a theme.
How would you describe your style as a florist and how did you develop it?
Trend sharp, evolutionary, bountiful, vibrant, I have developed my style from working for many years with other floral companies both in Auckland and Australia, you throw away what doesn’t resonate with you and you keep what does. There is always going to be an element of my rebelliousness in my designs as I find conformity hard work.
Where did you come up with the idea for your new workshops and how did the first one go for you?
So many people kept telling me that they wish they had chosen to be a florist instead of their current careers and that they loved flowers and would love to learn, so I thought I would create some workshops to quench that thirst. We had so much fabulous feedback from the first flower crown workshop. I was so elated! It is such a great feeling and it has really spurred me on. I love the workshops so much and I feel really happy teaching others and being a part of the floral adoration club!
What can people expect from your workshops?
These workshops are a more holistic approach to learning floristry with an ‘overall experience’ vibe to them. I have created a place where people can come and enjoy the flowers, learn something new, have a relaxed beverage and some canapes, get some great ideas and information, feel like they have been pampered and float home with their amazing and on-trend creation. More workshops are being developed as we speak for people who are looking to further their skills as a florist or a beginner. Some larger scale and all day workshops are on the cards too.
What have you got planned for this year and is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to?
I am planning to have a series of different floral workshops that will cover a lot of interesting and trend savvy design work with some guest speakers from other realms of the styling and wedding industries. I am really looking forward to developing these workshops and meeting people from all walks of life who love flowers as much as I do. I am very much getting into the healing properties of flowers and finding out each flower’s meaning and I hope to develop that into something one day, healing with flowers really appeals to me, what could be more lovely!
I am always looking forward to being a part of so many couples’ happy wedding days and am very grateful that I get to do this for a living!
You can find more information about Sue’s services and her floristry classes on her website.
– By Evelyn Ebrey
Images by Emma Robjohns from Fox & Ivy