Flower Arranging with artist Christie Leigh Floral
From Monet’s lilies to the oversized paintings of Georgia O’Keeffe, flowers and gardens have provided inexhaustible inspiration for artists over the centuries. “Why” might be an unanswerable question, but at Completedworks we think they’re the best kind, so for this week's ‘In Conversation With…’ we’ve enlisted the help of floral designer Christie Leigh to discuss foraging, femininity, and flowers (obviously).
Meanwhile on the Completedworks Instagram, Christie has hosted a flower arranging workshop.
How did you begin your career in floral design? What interested you initially?
Growing up in Devon i had an obsession with nature and could always be found rummaging around the garden or in local fields foraging for wild flowers or berries. At the age of 10 my family and i moved to Lanzarote and i discovered more tropical plants and flowers for the first time - this had a huge influence on me. Years later i went to art school and studied illustration at university, this is where i started to grasp an idea of composition within design. After graduation i modelled for a few years and with that came an understanding of sets in fashion and i decided to marry the two.
What makes the perfect bouquet - are there key elements to consider regarding structure or colour or is it more personal?
A bouquet in typical floristry has many rules - i don't like to apply these rules. For me a bouquet is so personal to the customer but also to the floral designer - it's a contract of taste.
How important is the vase in floral design?
The Vase is so important as it can dictate the structure of the display and type of flowers/colours you use. I like to approach each display in this way.
People seem to favour emotional language over descriptive language for flowers in a way that’s very different to, for example, plants or trees. Do you think there is a reason why people have such an emotional response to flowers?
Flowers are transient and theres a beauty in watching the birth, life and death. A tree lives beyond us, whereas flowers perish in front of our eyes. It's almost like watching the fragility of our own existence and that resonates.
The recent exhibition at the Tate tried to dissociate the floral paintings of Georgia O'Keeffe and their relation to the female body, why do you think there has been this traditional association between flowers and femininity, is there anything perverse in the desire to feminise flowers and do you think that it's possible to view flowers outside of a gendered context?
It is possible to view flowers outside of gender because almost all flowers have male and female sex organs. So in essence they are non-binary. But flowers are often highly sexualised so perhaps this is why people often associate them with women - just a hunch.
Lastly, Christie’s Completedworks pick is…