On Wednesday 22nd July, we heard from Ellie Jauncey and Anna Day of The Flower Appreciation Society; sharing the books to have inspired their creative floristry.
We were treated to an evening of books and botany for the latest installment of our Reading List events – this time with Ellie Jauncey and Anna Day of The Flower Appreciation Society. The pair introduced six of their favourite and most influential books – including their own, freshly launched self-titled publication – to the YCN Library in front of an audience of budding entrepreneurs, book enthusiasts and those interested in floristry. As well as explaining why these titles have been integral to their creative journeys — the two also candidly charted the development of their business – from making bouquets together for a local pub to collaborating with brands like Anthropologie and ASOS.
Anna and Ellie are 'not your average florists' – Anna is an illustrator and a trained midwife, while Ellie has a background in textile design. The seeds of their collaboration were sown three years ago, realising their common interest in books, music, fashion and much else besides. Each had a love for working with flowers – Ellie's mum worked as a florist and Anna had completed a year-long course in floristry, but felt that her creativity had been stifled by the traditional teachings and prescriptive arrangements. The pair realised that they worked together wonderfully when Ellie helped Anna out in a tight spot, she'd been up all night preparing the flowers for a friends wedding and called on Ellie to help finish the job.
The Flower Appreciation Society grew organically. Their first customer was actually their employer at the time – The Scolt Head pub in De Beauvoir – and they saved up the £30 per week they were paid for their weekly bouquets for a decent camera, with which to start documenting their displays and decorative elements. Their creative, inventive approach to floristry meant that the pair were not limited to bouquets and weddings – and soon branched out into set design, styling, events, floral headdresses, and workshops. Their company name, although long and not conducive to a concise email address, was chose intentionally to encompass all things floral.
Ellie and Anna's natural, relaxed approach to floristry is a far cry from the more structured, formal arrangements preferred by traditional florists. Preferring to use only British flowers, their style and colour palette is influenced by the seasons and what is available at their favourite market – Covent Garden. Often seen there at 6am choosing their blooms, both warned that floristry isn't all about artistic arranging, the majority of the work consists of heavy lifting and early starts.
Their newly launched publication entitled The Flower Appreciation Society: An A-Z of all Things Floral has been a pivotal moment in both Anna and Ellie's lives. When asked what achievement they are most proud of, both instantly answered "our book". A true labour of love, the publication has been painstaking put together over the course of two years and the duo were responsible for all their own illustration and photography.
Below are Ellie and Anna's book choices, charting their creative inspirations chronologically. All the titles, including The Flower Appreciation Society A-Z, have now been added to YCN's Library for Members to browse and borrow at their leisure.
1. Mister Magnolia by Quentin Blake
2. A Drawing Retrospective by David Hockney
3. Charleston House, a Bloomsbury House and Garden, Quentin Bell and Virginia Nicholson
4. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
5. Seasons by Blexbolex & ABC by Bruno Munari
6. The Flower Appreciation Society: An A-Z of all Things Floral, by Anna Day and Ellie Jauncey
Many thanks to Ellie and Anna for sharing with us their Reading List and to Flore Diamant for taking photos.
Location:72 Rivington St,
London, EC2A 3AY,
Start:22nd July, 2015 at 6:30pm
End:22nd July, 2015 at 8:00pm