Hey guys! I’ve just arrived in Bali for a little creative escape (more on that v soon) but in the meantime, I’m so excited to be back in the studio, this time with Emily Michelle Smith, the brains and creatine brawn behind the eye poppingly beautiful Boutierre Girls flowers.
You know those people you follow online that you would give anything to get be in the same room with for even just a few minutes? Well that’s how I feel about Boutierre Flowers. Whilst florists are pretty common these days, the vision and eye behind Emily’s designs take her into another universe entirely – from floral arrangements as we have known them to actual living pieces of art. When I was in Sydney last week I tracked her down (like some sort of crazed stalker) and got the low down on her journey to this amazing career, her processes and also one florist secret that I needed to share with you guys!
Hi Emily! Tell us a little bit about you.
I am 26 years old, Currently living in Sydney. I love to spend time by myself and with my Cat. I am a huge book worm. I love people but I get very tired very easily! Flowers bring me alot of joy, as does being outside. My family go on hiking holidays every year. I absolutely love the mountains!! When it comes to music I am a huge rap,Hip Hop, and RNB girl. I have a painfully good memory when it come to memorising song lyrics. I do however love my occasional dose of Enya. I am a minimalist and love things to be very white and clean. I also have a huge love for fashion. I find that in my line of work I have to wear very practical clothes. Im generally in a plain tee with jeans and boots. I love to spend money on a really nice pair of boots and bags so I don’t feel like a total dag all of the time.
How did you start experimenting with flowers?
I have always loved flowers and lived in houses with really beautiful flowers (My mum is a very talented gardener) I started experimenting with flowers just over 3 years ago. I was diagnosed with CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and spent a lot of time at home baking and finding things to do to fill my days. I had a huge obsession with baking and posted a lot of food pictures on Instagram. One of my sisters friends asked me to make her wedding cake and some hair garlands. This was my first ever job. I did a fresh floral fountain down the cake and it was a real hit. I booked in about 4 or so weddings from making this one cake. I made wedding cakes for about a year and things snowballed. I figured out pretty quickly that it wasn’t the baking I enjoyed, it was the decorating with flowers. I then decided to defer Uni and study floristry. At this stage I already had Boutierre Girls up and running but as a cakes business. I then became cakes and floral design, and am now Floral Design only. Phew!
Talk us through the process, how do you create your incredible arrangements?
Step 1. Inspiration
I draw my inspiration from current fashion trends. Trends are constantly changing and its alot of work to keep and be constantly evolving with it whilst maintaining your own style. I tend to stick to colour palettes/tones that compliment the current season. I absolutely love beautiful gardens and will most often be using a ton of roses in my arrangements. I love bringing the look of the garden indoors.
Step 2. Brief/Research
My design process can be very different depending on who I am working for and what the design brief is. I like to get as much info as possible on my bride/client. Personality plays such a huge part in my designs, whether its whimsical and romantic, or bright and bubbly, fruity and fragrant, or dark/moody and dramatic. Generally I would need to research the flowers that are in season for that particular month.
Step 3. Develop Colour Palette
I then get the colour palette organised, this is something I start thinking about straight away. I find once I can start to get a visual of a palette it makes creating something reallly beautiful come alive in my head! I can then find seasonal flowers in the desired colour palette.
Step 4. Plan & Buy
The planning and buying is a huge part of the design process. Once these two things are done and its time to make the arrangements I feel like the hard part is over. I usually wake up at around 3am to make my way to the flower markets, where I see whats there and also catch up with suppliers who I may have pre ordered from. Filling the van with flowers is an every day job.
Step 4. Arrange & Deliver
I rarely have an exact picture in my mind of how the design will look but once the flowers are there infront of me I’ll work away until I create something I am visually happy with – it’s just a matter of playing around. I always take alot of photos of my work whilst making them, as I find that pictures show alot of mistakes and capture things that my eyes don’t see like un even holes and gaps etc that aren’t balanced. Then (if I’m arranging in the studio) I load everything into the car and deliver it to the client.
Do you have any creative advice for us?
I think its really great to draw inspiration from other artists and figure out what it is you love about their work, and how you can incorporate it into your own designs without plagiarizing. Its really important to create your own style and find something that works for you and sets you apart from other artists. Its so important to feel confident with your designs and your work and like its truly your own. Also, spend more time outdoors. Always go for nature walks in beautiful places such as botanical gardens or In the Blue Mountains to get inspiration from what’s around you.
As an avid follower of Emily for a while now, I couldn’t help but notice that her arrangements are always so full and well bloomed. At first I thought she used specific varieties of roses, but whilst I was visiting her in her studio she taught me a new technique (a bit of a florists secret!) for opening /blooming roses by hand. I asked if she would mind me sharing it here and she said she didn’t, but let’s keep it between you and me ok? 🙂
How to open up your flowers by hand
- First, check that your flowers aren’t too young, if they are too tight the petals will rip when you try to open them up.
- Blow into the flowers to remove any water and open the petals from the inside.
- Starting from the outside, carefully fold the petals back and down, working your way around the petals.
- Do a few rows of them and then stop, you don’t want to open them all up, just the outside petals.
You can do this technique with roses, tulips and lotus flowers! Watch the video below.
Thanks for having us into your studio Emily! Make sure to follow her on Instagram here. You won’t regret it!