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Meet the Maker - Worm London

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Meet the Makers - Wreaths authors Terri & Katie of Worm London

28 Apr 2018 |

Meet the Maker

Wreaths are often dismissed as just a Christmas decorations, but in fact they can be (and should be!) made throughout the year. In their new book Wreaths, Terri and Katie of Worm London, show you how to fill your house with beautiful, organic, wreath-like arrangements all-year round. As Spring is the perfect time to play around with florals and craft a wreath in celebration of the new season, we caught up with Terri and Katie to find out where they get their inspiration and how they learned to construct such blooming marvellous creations. 

Why floristry?

We were in jobs that were making us feel restless. In our minds they were not our forever jobs, as they didn’t make us happy – we just knew we should be doing something creative instead! We’ve both grown up with a huge love of flowers so we decided to give it a go and start up a business working with florals.

 

 

How did you learn/who taught you how?

We signed up to do a really basic flower-arranging course. It was a level one course run by the local council. We had a wonderful teacher called Irfa, who really appreciated flowers. She taught these classes but also taught flower arranging in a men’s prisons, which is amazing! It was an inexpensive course covering the basics, how to choose and treat flowers, plus simple floral designs. It was great because unlike some of the more expensive design courses, we got to bring our own flowers, which meant that we would go to the flower market before the course started every week. This helped us learn about all the different flowers and meant we had a chance to get to know all the characters down at the market – who are now like family to us! Most importantly though, choosing our own flowers meant our designs were always personal and made to our own tastes – that’s where we started to find our style.

Favourite flowers/materials?

We are really fond of wild grasses and seedpods. They dry out beautifully and give any design a sense of personality. We also love wild-looking flowers with imperfect stems like chocolate cosmos. Flowers that evoke memory from their scent are also really important to us, like lily of the valley.

Who are your craft influencers or idols?

Terri: Grayson Perry. I think his way of conveying the emotions of his subjects through his craft is inspiring.

Katie: Iris Apfel is without a doubt my favourite maker. Her company, Old World Weavers, makes the most beautiful textiles. I really love her eclectic taste. Her inspiration comes from travelling all over the world and I like that it is truly a real mix with strong non-western influences. I was lucky enough to get the chance to talk to her a few years back and she was the loveliest person, she had so much time for me and managed to teach me a whole lot of life lessons, which I will never forget.

 

 

Favourite book you have ever read?

Terri: I’m a huge Sylvia Plath fan so it has to be The Bell Jar. I read it first at university and always come back to it.

Katie: I always go back to Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Its a simple story, written very beautifully and has some really profound moments. Its basically about one man’s journey through life and, as the reader, I feel I learnt a lot about myself when reading it. I hate reading books twice, but for some reason I am always drawn back to reading this again.

What inspires your creations?

So many things! We are inspired hugely by the landscape around Southern Ireland where we grew up – all that rain helped to make the varied landscape freckled with a beautiful wildness. We are also always inspired to do conceptual projects based on themes, last year we did a series of flower arrangements that represented the different stages of our menstrual cycle, for example. Flowers can have a voice and that feels wonderful to us.

If you weren’t crafting you would be…?

Katie was styling before flowers and Terri was acting. Both of these industries have given us a good background for running our own company and designing. When we are slaving away for long hours in our studio in preparation for an event, we tend to watch a lot of crime documentaries, so I reckon we’d make pretty good detectives at this stage, or perhaps criminals…

What tune gets you in your creative groove?

We have a flower playlist that we made to play during our workshops. We both love it when Minnie Riperton’s Les Fleurs comes on.

Favourite thing you ever made?

We filled the freemasons hall in London with wildflower meadows for the launch of the Erdem collection for H&M last year and all 800 guests left with a posy of flowers. We barely slept in the run up to it, and when we did we would just have nightmares about spilling water and staining the marble floors, or all the flowers being dead before the event started! The sense of achievement though – when we had pulled off something so big and beautiful – gave us the best feeling afterwards.

Who should we be following on Instagram?

Round to Ours authors @jackson&levine for wonderful interiors/food inspiration. @_patter for beautiful feminine images @houseplantjournal for great tips on looking after plants and incredible plant time lapses @kristinperers who shot our book, for her incredible eye for detail and wondrous home, @theplantmagazine for beautiful design and everything inspirational in the plant world.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to start a creative career?

If the opportunity is there for you, take it! As soon as we realised that there was an opportunity for us to make a change in our lives, we quit our jobs and started working exhausting hours waitressing nights and weekends just to fund our daytime flower antics. We had to work incredibly hard for the first two years to get it off the ground and there were weeks where we did relentless 18-hour shifts, saying yes to any work that came our way. It certainly isn’t easy, but it’s so incredibly fulfilling and there are so many wonderful highs that make it all worth it. Plus doing it with a pal helps – you feel braver with decisions and get to share the excitement. And all that hard work paid off eventually because now we work solely with flowers!

What’s next?

We have so many exciting projects coming up. We just made a music video for an Irish musician called David Kitt and we love it. We are also in the early design phase of some really exciting campaigns that we will get to work on this Spring/Summer so keep you’re eyes peeled! And we’ve finally learnt how to drive – so we better go find ourselves a Worm wagon to put all those flowers in!

 

To give you a taster of what you can expect from Wreaths, we've shared on our blog the above Honesty Mobile project. Click here for the project details

Wreaths by Terri Chandler and Katie Smyth is available now in shops and online from Waterstones and Amazon