In conversation

In conversation

With a passion for sustainable floristry and advocating for better treatment of the place we call home, we’ve been lucky enough to connect with Josie from My Father’s Florist.

A friend of Max, we collaborated with Josie to create 29 handheld wreaths to give away this Mother’s Day. Created with the intention to find a home with a woman who made a home, we caught up with Joanna to find out more about her creative process and exciting plans for the future.

Take us through your process – how do you forage and find such beautiful flowers and how long from foraging does it take to have a final wreath or bouquet?

The floral products I am lucky enough to create are all custom made, so the process depends on the individual, celebration, or space.

For the most part however, I forage around the Waitakere’s and throughout my adopted grandparents’ garden. I have a notebook full of scribbles to track and record the early days of foraging and to map where all the dried treasures are found. I prefer foraging for weird and wonderful flowers that have already dried on their stems or plant. If the flowers do need drying, then I will either hang them in my caravan and let the sun makes its home there or use the dehydrator.

Then, I wait for a slow happy day, set up my little courtyard and start to play. Wreaths can take up to 5 hours to make. Quite often however, I will spend a month adding to a wreath. It simply hangs in my tiny house collecting more treasures among the willow until a new one needs to take its space.

You have a beautiful and distinctive style when it comes to your arrangements, how did you develop your signature style?

Beautiful question! My signature style is a testament to my home, to Piha. Its wrenching, gritty and graceful character has shaped the way I create. Just as the ocean shapes a shell over time, it also shapes the way I flower and the way I do life.

There’s something special about having flowers around whether we buy them for ourselves or receive them as gifts, why do you think this is?

My answer to that is rather simple I am afraid. Love. Humans inherently want to be loved and to love. Flowers, in all their wonderful unassuming beauty represent this.

Tell us a bit about your latest online courses, how did those come about?

It came from a place of desperately wanting to connect with my community and educate them around the influx of bleached and dyed dried flowers that are currently flooding the industry. My hope was to enable and inspire people to create and think differently.

My exceptionally talented friend Eleanor who lives up the road in Piha had recently released her online cooking course, and she very generously mentored me through the process.

Your work is quite dependant on seasons with different flowers thriving in different climates, as it starts to cool down what’s your favourite flower or flowers to use?

This time of year (Autumn – Winter) I forage for things like textured Bracken, Magnolia leaves and Lilly seed pods. Throughout the winter I rely on the previous summers foraging to carry me through to the spring. Winter is not only a time for things to slow down for me but also for the wild free land out here.

Lastly, what are you most looking forward to in the season ahead? Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline or are you taking it easy and seeing what comes your way.

In the next few weeks, I am looking forward to making and donating a large wreath to a raffle that will be raising money for an incredible organisation called Surfaid. In the next few months, I am looking forward to taking on a few free-lance jobs and working with some expectational creative leaders. In the next year or so I am most looking forward to- gosh that is a hard one isn’t it? I guess just being a happy healthy human.

Photography

supplied by Josie

As told to

Courtenay Lewis

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