“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it,” said the artist Georgia O’Keeffe, “it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else.”
O’Keeffe’s large-scale paintings of flowers not only captured that world, they made it immortal – destined to live on for centuries in the eyes and minds of audiences everywhere. For botanical artists, however, the exact opposite is true: of all the different media an artist can work with, botanicals are quite possibly the most fleeting.
And yet these four botanical artists are highly gifted at celebrating the beauty of each individual bud or bloom in such a way that extracts maximum emotion from each arrangement. Their creations really do become your world, if only for a moment.
A relative newcomer to the floristry scene (she studied the art in 2015), Molloy has already moved into her second retail space in Melbourne’s Collingwood, and has steadily built a following on social media. Her high-impact and immediately recognisable style is inspired by the sculptural compositions of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging. As in this traditional artform, many of Molloy’s designs include a single element shooting out from the rest of the bunch, as though making a dramatic bid for escape.
Arrangements by this Brooklyn-based florist teeter between wild and refined, invariably settling someplace that looks quite spontaneous, but is actually carefully controlled. Dearie has designed her share of floral altars and botanical backdrops for weddings, but also collaborates with some of the world’s leading fashion brands, from Dior to Miu Miu, Vogue to Loewe (for whom the arrangements below were created by Dearie and photographed by Steven Meisel). No matter where it’s appearing, Dearie’s work always manages to look both classic and modern and as though it was simply meant to be.
Pictures: Ariel Dearie
Having forged a reputation as one of the finest floral designers in Sydney, Simone Gooch uprooted her business and moved to London in 2015, promptly repeating her successes there. Under the name Fjura (it’s Maltese for “flower”), Gooch’s work is nothing if not varied: a spare, ikebana-style composition might sit next to one that’s bursting with blooms; a single colour used in one arrangement contrasts with a riot of shades in the next. There’s a lack of fussiness and an air of spontaneity that makes it all seem incredibly natural, and that allows each botanical to really sing.
Borg is slightly different to the other floral artists we’ve featured here, in that she makes wearable floral creations – mostly rings or finger sleeves, but the occasional crown, too. She also sticks to a tighter edit of materials, focusing on the dearest baby succulents. Far from being limiting, however, this only seems to make her work richer. The miniature scale and intricate compositions infuse Borg’s work with a sense of wonder that is truly mesmerising.
Written by Michelle Bateman