JamJar Flowers branches out

The go-to floral designers in every Londoner’s little black book, JamJar Flowers is a talented team of freelance florists and artists, overseen by directors Melissa Richardson and Amy Fielding. Melissa tells us all about proud moments and future plans

Dried min

JamJar Flowers was based on loose arrangements of wild or garden flowers picked and arranged in a very unpretentious way in jam jars — just how we used to pick them when we were children. Over the past 10 years, our style has become much more complex and adventurous. We like to tell a story with flowers or to match our designs to our clients’ whims or brands. Whether it is a wedding or a press event or an exhibition, we like to feel there is a narrative.

For pressing, we like fairly simple flowers — wild flowers and blooms with simple structures. Fleshy flowers such as hybrid tea roses, tulips and peonies press less well as they tend to rot before they dry out. We love flowers with beautiful shapes, such as geum, nigella, hellebore and all the umbellifers, whose beautiful starry heads press beautifully.

Amy and I had always wanted to have some kind of a second string to our bow. It was probably the success of the various pressed flower projects we worked on that made us start up The Edit. Pressed flowers had become something of an obsession with us, we realised their beauty and potential for making beautiful art works. Then there were various beautiful botanical items we had discovered while working on projects for JamJar Flowers, such as the rose globe and the cigar press that we felt our clients would love to buy if they knew where to source them. Now, we divide our time between the two businesses fairly equally.

We were delighted to be chosen by the RHS to decorate the London Gate for RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2019. We designed the gate as a giant theatre curtain of pollen-rich herbs and flowers to welcome visitors to “The Greatest Flower Show on Earth”. We wanted to highlight the plight of bees who are so vital to the future of our planet and whose future is precarious. An important part of our installation was that, after the show, all flowers and herbs from the gate would be planted in Slade Adventure Gardens in London, where Bee Urban keep some hives. The plants provided the bees with plenty of summer snacking. When we were invited to make a film for RHS Virtual Chelsea this year [the usual show was cancelled due to the covid-19 lockdown], it made sense to go back to Slade and pick the flowers from last year’s gate for a film we made about flower pressing. It neatly completed the circle and it was good to see the flowers from Chelsea doing so well in their new home.

The installations we are proudest of are Arts and Crafts-inspired pressed flower windows that we made for an exhibition at Sketch in May 2019. The pressed flowers were backed by frosted glass with clear glass in front then softly lit from behind. This made the windows look like stained glass with jewel bright colours. We also made a wallpaper from pressed flowers for an exhibition in 2017 with Rakes Progress magazine, which was spectacularly pleasing.

I really enjoyed the whole experience of working on The Big Flower Fight. I was flattered and amused when I was approached to be a guest judge, but I had no idea how the project was going to pan out and, of course, I was a little nervous about making a TV debut appearance in my 60s. As soon as I arrived on set I realised the show would be a hit. Kristen Griffith-VanderYacht, the main judge, and all the contestants had obviously been picked for their larger-than-life colourful personalities, but what I wasn’t prepared for was how really skilled they all were. I was really impressed by what they were able to create in a very short amount of time. I definitely got a huge amount of fun being involved in this delightfully, colourful show.

We have so many projects on the back burner and on the boil that I hardly know where to begin. One of our freelance florists, Flora Wallace, spent lockdown making botanical inks, which we have fallen in love with and are now selling on The Edit. We are also working with Adam Lowe at Factum Arte in Madrid on reproducing our beautiful botanical wallpaper in 3D printing. This is a groundbreaking method of printing that reproduces all the ravishing detail of pressed flowers, but without the problem of fading over time. We are a long way off a finished product, but it is a fascinating process that we are loving. Watch this space…

www.jamjaredit.co.uk

http://www.jamjarflowers.co.uk/

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