Imagine how excited I was when I got the call (or email!) from fellow florist Zanda Bohgal, of Zanda B Floral Design Studio, asking me to collaborate with her to create the floral designs for an ENTIRELY PINK photoshoot. I love pink, and I love flowers! It's possible that my entire life has been leading up to this moment!
We were designing a floral installation for Amki, a luxury fashion brand, ran by two sisters Amani and Kiran, whose designs combine rich Indian culture with western influences. The result; beautifully intricate outfits in opulent materials to die for!
Okay, so far we knew we were going pink. The concept behind the styled shot: it's Galentine's day; the day to celebrate our besties! Zanda and I were to create florals for a fun, youthful and girly setting where four friends are hanging out and celebrating their friendship, with lots of giggles and lots of candyfloss!
The Floral Foam Free Mechanics
Both Zanda and I were keen to go entirely plastic foam free in our designs for this shoot. We used a wooden stand (which Zanda had made specially for the shoot), we covered it in chicken wire and secured with cable ties as you can see in the picture. We decided not to use moss inside the chicken wire as it would show through the flowers and ruin the pink aesthetic. However, we both decided if we were to do it again (especially for event or weddings flowers - which would require the blooms to stay fresh for longer) we would either add a little moss (either natural or a dyed pink moss) or use florist spike vases to give the blooms a little water.
We decided to create a mini floral meadow to sit on the floor during the shoot. It would be moved into different positions for different photo set ups. Instead of the usual floral foam blocks, which are made of plastic which break down into microscopic plastic particals and causes utter chaos to the environment, I made these "moss bricks" by wrapping teared moss in chicken wire. I used pot tape to secure the brick into a floristry tray (the kind usually used with one block of floral foam). Because the moss is very light in weight, we initially had problems with the front facing arrangement over balancing. To remedy this we added weight to the back of the arrangement to even it out.
A top tip, for any of you thinking to have a go at making these, is to tear the moss up before securing it in the wire. It can be tricky to get stems if the moss is still clumped together. These bricks work well for hard, woody stems but are not ideal for softer stemmed flowers, I used a long skewer to feed in the softer stems so they would not break.
Obviously, we needed something pink. We decided against using any green foliage that would take away from the all pink design so we decided to use a pink Gypsophila (in Pale Pink) to give a general covering of the mechanics in the same way you would ordinarily use foliage.
We started with a few large Fatsia leaves and a couple of stems of Pistachia which had been painted with Oasis spray paint in Perfect Pink. If I'm honest, we weren't really happy with the paint on the Fatsia leaves, it didn't stick well and started peeling, possibly because the leaves were too fleshy with a high moisture content. We were able to use them since they would mostly be covered with the Gyp but I wouldn't recommend using the Oasis spray paint with this type of leaf.
Next in went the MASSES of Gyp: we started with shorter bunches of the flowers to add density and cover the mechanics, then added in some longer stems to create lovely, fluffy clouds of pink-ness. We added more density into the floral design with low level blooms, then added some at mid level and lastly longer stems to give a lovely flowy, airiness.
Some of the blooms we used included: two types of Gerbera, Caprice and a Spider Gerbera in Karembeu, Eustoma in Alisa Apricot, Ginister in Milka, Spray Chrysthamum in Sorbet Berry, Dianthus in three varieties; Cerise, Pale Pink and Tonic Golem and a selection of roses and spray roses.
The only foliage used, other than the Fatsia and Pistachia, was a dyed Asparagus fern. (I have since read up a little on the methods used for dyeing plant material, although pretty it's not very environmentally friendly so if they're opting for sustainable wedding flowers this probably isn't for you). We ordered the Asparagus Fern in fuchsia but they arrived looking a little lilac-y (possibly a mix up at the wholesalers). We debated leaving out the Fern but I loved the beautiful architectural shape of the leaves, and their ethereal floatiness, so much that I persuaded everyone else in their favour! And I'm so glad that I did!
We very much used the same process for the floral meadow arrangement; starting with adding Gyp to the moss block to build a base, then adding Gyp and a variety of blooms in varying heights.
Check out the making process in action below. Please forgive my terrible video skills, this is the first time I've attempted a time-lapse. My first fail was that I forgot to press play (duh!) and the second was that I forgot it would stop filming after 45 minutes! More practise needed I think!
Without any further ado, here is the final installation. Designed and created by myself and Zanda for Amki Online. It was such fun to make and working with such talented people was incredible!
All of these photos are quick snaps taken by Zanda and I behind the scenes on set. Check out the album of professional images on my website.
Have you tried any foam free designs? Do you have any top tips to share?! I'd love to hear what you think, let me know by leaving a comment!