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Friday, July 11, 2008

Florist Spotlight: Emily Thompson

Today's florist spotlight, features the beautiful work of Emily Thompson, a talented floral designer and artist from Brooklyn. You are all in for a treat! Not only was she kind enough to share some of the most amazing, whimsical and unusual arrangements I have ever seen, including a 10 1/2 foot bridal bouquet but she also took time to participate in a little Q&A with me.
So please, enjoy!

Photo credit: Heather Cantrell

photo credit Josie Miner

photo credit Josie Miner

photo credit Lisa Vollmer

Q&A with Emily........
How did you get into floral design?
I was trained as a sculptor, in fact I am still a sculptor, and I have a combined studio for that work and flowers. I grew up with a really serious gardener for a mother, and remember when she used to let me choose bulbs with her every year (I always chose frittilaria- they have these amazing checkerboard patterns). But I really fell into floral design after doing my brother's wedding and then my sister's and then my sister-in-law's... it just happened by accident! I only ever worked in a flower shop for a brief month during a summer in college- I was lucky to work there with the amazing Ann Miller-Cawley. I think that my lack of standard floral design training has really allowed me to explore my own vision with flowers, without being constrained by a sense of what is expected in the industry, which can be quite conservative.

How many weddings do you work on in a year?
I design approximately 20 weddings a year.

What was the most unusual request from a bride? (I'm guessing it was the 10 1/2 feet bouquet!)
Actually, that bouquet was all me! That bride is a statuesque 6 feet tall, and I convinced her that she should let me go crazy. She loved it, and her new husband wore it like a feather boa after the ceremony. Even the bouquet had a train! (which detached, so she wasn't encumbered all night). I do get unusual requests, but my favorite requests are when clients really trust my ideas and let me spin their events into wild affairs. Another favorite was when I asked the bride what she had in mind and she answered with one vehement word: "MESSY!"

What has been your most memorable wedding you worked on? (I'm sure they are all special but which one stands out)
There are so many that I loved being a part of, I hate to single one out. But the "messy" wedding was wonderful- the bride and groom and their parents really allowed me total creative freedom. Instead of an altar, they were married under a tree, which I marked very simply with a silk ribbon held in the tree by two birds... it was very subtle and poetic.

Do most brides that approach you have a clear vision on what they want?
If not, what advice and creative direction would you give to brides when it comes to picking out their flowers?
Many have a clear vision of what they want, but more often, the brides who come to me really respond to my touch with flowers, the mood that I can bring to their celebration, and trust me to bring them truly singular designs. Of course, I always work very closely with each couple to reflect their style as much as possible, and I usually incorporate very personal touches.
If a bride doesn't quite know what she wants, I suggest she think most about the all-over sensibility of her celebration- does she want it to be austere? Formal? Rustic? Humorous? These are the kinds of descriptions that really allow me to do my best work. Specific flowers can be helpful in fixing on themes and aesthetics, but usually this comes later in the process.

Not only do you work on weddings but you also provide flowers for other events, private homes,restaurants and store fronts? For my fellow New Yorker and Brooklyn readers, can you share which store fronts and restaurants?
In the non-wedding category, I particularly love doing my annual sinister holiday decor at ANYthing, a shop in Chinatown, and recently I designed a swamp for a table at the annual NY Horticultural Society Gala- It featured a candelabra made of a lichen-covered log and a pool of water lilies.

To see more of her GORGEOUS work, I highly suggest visiting her website here

Grazie Mille Emily!