Tremella Botanicals: Floral styling in the shifting landscape of COVID-19
We were lucky enough to get the chance to work along side the incredibly beautiful Bek for one of our more recent photoshoots. If you follow us on social media, you will have seen her beautiful botanical and floral arrangements all over our feed.
Bek was kind enough to answer some questions for us. Enjoy xx
Please introduce yourself briefly and let our followers know the scope of what you do at Tremella.
Hello, I’m Bek - a wedding and events stylist based in Melbourne who usually specialises in weddings, events and editorials/photoshoots. However, given how all weddings and events have been cancelled/postponed, I have since moved onto contactless flower deliveries to still bring flowers to our community's doorsteps. My aim is to still support our local flower growers and farmers who have been especially hit hard during these times. I work from my home studio and have started an online shop to make ordering flowers much easier and am currently in the process of introducing fine art floral prints predominantly photographed by my photographer parter Serge.
Talk us through the journey that has led you to become a Floral and Botanical Stylist
I was previously working in the social and community health sector (my background is in psychology) and ran a street style photography blog with my sister as a creative pursuit. I left Melbourne in 2014 to travel and 13 months later ended up in London - the heart of the arts! The events floristry scene was thriving and it was there I discovered a whole new world of floristry - with zero experience or qualifications I reached out to as many established florists as I could and managed to gain some incredibly valuable work experience in the thick of the London events scene. The creative energy of the city was so addictive and I met and learnt from so many artists I think I still carry that with me up till this day. A year after I came home to Melbourne and worked as the in-house florist & stylist for a wedding venue called Stones of the Yarra Valley & Meletos before I decided to venture out on my own and continue to evolve Tremella with the changing tides.
How important to you is it to work as sustainably as possible?
Being environmentally sustainable is constantly at the forefront of my practice - over the past few years in Melbourne I’ve built some great relationships with local suppliers and flower growers and try to avoid imported product and bleached/dyed botanicals as much as I can. I have never used floral foam in any of my work and am always thinking of new creative ways to build large-scale floral installations without the use of the toxic foam - this is also where Serge comes in, he is great at coming up with the mechanics for my visions. He’s also attempting to grow mushrooms on the green waste leftover from my event work - but that’s still an experiment in progress!
90% Foraged (apart from the roses) foam-free installation together with my flower buddy Kim from Make it Beautiful. Photo by Sergey Osipov
4 meter foam-free hanging installation, created together for a wedding with State of Nature Floral Studio and Wanderlust Creative at The Old Church Red Hill. Photo by Miranda Stokkel.
What inspires your unique and gorgeous approach to botanical styling? Does your style come naturally to you?
I love to mix both Western and Eastern elements of floral design and am very much inspired by Ikebana, the Japanese art of arranging flowers yet also by Dutch Masters compositions. I am all about finding balance and tend to look out for unusual, sculptural botanical elements (that are not necessarily flowers) with interesting shapes and textures; combined with softer florals and often include foraged pieces in my work. Working with the natural world means I have to be super adaptable and learn to go with the seasons and product that is available. Experimenting with colour combinations are really exciting for me too - I try to challenge myself to use colours I don’t necessarily feel attracted to and am often surprised!
You often work closely with your photographer fiancé Serge to develop your unique floral imagery, has working together influenced what you create and your process?
I live with my partner Serge and together we have teamed up to produce fine art photography prints focusing on single flower portraits which will soon be available due to many requests. These are all shot through a 100 year old plate camera that Serge has mounted onto his digital camera so the results have a lovely painterly feeling to them. We wanted to do a still life series to show off the beauty of single flowers; the whole process is very slow and most images actually don’t end up seeing the light of the day and is almost the opposite of producing flowers for an event!
Photographing and documenting my work is a really important part of my process and I try to intentionally make time for this, however it does prove difficult when prepping and bumping in for events under a tight schedule. I do have quite specific visions on how I like my floral arrangements to be portrayed and Serge understands me and my aesthetics really well. We do love spending time together creating, I would even go to say it deepens and strengthens our relationship. I enjoy photographing my own work too and can spend hours weekly editing - it teaches me so much patience and helps me understand the craft - I definitely respect photographers so much!
Fine Art Photos of poppies by Sergey Osipov (this will be available on our print shop).
How are you and Serge finding joy while we stay at home at the moment?
As a couple - Serge and I find alot of joy photographing flowers and find it an almost a meditative practice. We’ve also recently bought a slightly fancier printer so we can print our own floral postcards which has been so satisfying, I’ve been sending them off with my flower deliveries. I’ve been enjoying having a break from working in the very fast-paced weddings and events industry (as much as I love them!) but it has also been great slowing down and remembering why I do what I do in the first place, like going on daily foraging neighbourhood walks with my sister Rach. We started getting into picking edible weeds and it has been so fun cooking and making teas with them.
What do you love most about your job?
I love the freedom and variety that comes with running my own creative business and being able to execute new ideas whenever they come to mind! Most importably though, having the ability to bring joy to other people through flowers has been so powerful during this time - I often get messages from people who have received them how much a bunch of flowers have just brightened up their mood and their homes. The fact that flowers are perishable and fleeting make them even more special, and introducing the best of Mother Nature according the changing seasons to people - how incredible is that! I I’ve been able to connect and build relationships and a community around me through flowers and I am just so grateful for that.