I have forced myself outside for walks despite the appeal of staying warm and cosy at home, with tea in hand, and I’m glad that I have. It helps somehow, the change of scenery, the bracing air, and a change in perspective.
At this time of year, the sculptural beauty of bare trees, exposed vines, and the ancient branches of climbing plants come into their own. Their shapes inspire me to create more organically, to use their organic forms to create installations more naturally. I take notes about translating their shapes into flowerful arches, chuppahs and mandaps and pen rudimentary drawings, photographing more than I’ll ever need for reference.
I find myself looking in hedgerows on long drives, wondering whether this or that would dry, or hold, or flop in an instant. That’s nothing new though to be honest, I’ve been driving people to distraction musing these things, documenting, and photographing anything interesting (to me at least) ever since I became a florist ten years ago.Thankfully it’s not all bare branches out there, there is colour, and fragrance to be found too. Plumes of bright yellow mimosa and little explosions of brightly coloured witch hazel bring sunshine and scent to the winter landscape. Little white snowdrops are beginning to bloom, carpeting patches of the heath and parks, and the hellebores are flowering their socks off (is it any wonder that the hashtag #helleboreappreciationsociety exists?) and occasionally as I walk through the city, there’s a waft of daphne or the honey sweet scent of Sarcococca ruscifolia that has me searching about for blooms I can get close enough to sniff.
There are tentative signs now too, that Spring is on its way, little shoots, on branches, and hints of green breaking through the soil, emerging from their slumber underground. The days lose their light a few moments later each day, and it feels as though maybe, just maybe, we’re not a million miles away from a studio full of flowers and people.