Bev Saunders and I got chatting the other day. I was really interested to hear how she’s inspired by flowers.
I can’t quite remember how we first met Bev – do you?
I somehow discovered you initially on Facebook, I didn’t “like” your page, I loved it, and started following your posts. I then realised that you are an active blogger and a very proactive business person, and you became a kind of a virtual mentor. I visited Kent Creative Live a few times and then one day you walked in and I instantly recognised you. Unfortunately it was a few meetings later before we had an opportunity to chat. It was like meeting a heroine.
Tell me about you
I studied textile design at Croydon Collage of Art, and went on to work as a freelance designer with Heywood Studio in Twickenham, where I worked briefly with Bernard Nevill. During this time I met Julian and some years later we married and moved to Bristol.
The creative career was a bit shaky for a while, but I worked with Berger Decorative Paints as a colour consultant before being introduced to picture framing. I started to help my framer a few hours a week to supplement my income, and it quickly developed into something more substantial, it culminated in me spending seven years with Aza at Decent Exposure. Aza had a real talent for unusual and creative presentations of client’s work, and I think some of this rubbed off on me.
In 1997 Julian received a promotion and his work moved us to Kent. We coincidentally moved to within five minutes of where his parents lived, so it was a bit like coming home for him.
Since arriving in Kent I have had the opportunity to develop other creative skills working with interior designers, architects and specialist joinery companies. All of this coupled with my design and colour consultancy experience informs how I treat client’s work.
Are you a flower arranger or a gardener?
I’m not a flower arranger, but I’m a big fan of fresh flowers, I love the way they fill a room with perfume and colour. I have loads of books that I dip into from time to time to try to emulate some of the wonderful creations that you amazing ladies put together.
My arrangements tend to be very simple, but I love getting the most out of flowers I’m given and seem to be able to make them last quite a long time.
I am a gardener (of sorts!) I love being in the garden, getting out in the fresh air. I love the physical effort that you have to put into gardening, it makes me feel alive. Friends say we have a lovely garden. I still manage to make huge planting mistakes, and kill off virtually everything I’m looking forward to seeing pop up each season.
My redeeming plants are my irises. They’re a bit of an old fashion flower, but I love them, and even I can grow and propagate them, they just love our garden, even parts of the garden they should fail in. I love the colour combinations and the intricate detail you find in them: Mother Nature is just so amazing!
How do flowers inspire you?
When I was at college I used to be questioned about some of the colours I would put together in my designs, which knocked my confidence a bit. Then one day my tutor said the inspirational words, “if you’re not sure, look at what nature puts together”, and that was it.
I suddenly felt vindicated. When you look closely at plants you see the most amazing combinations and variations. Sometimes you see four or five colours in the tiniest of flowers. Flowers (with a little tempering) have often confirmed for me that what I’m proposing, will actually work, be it for embroidery, a textile an interior scheme or a picture framing project. One of my heroines is Tricia Guild of Designers Guild fame; she too loves flowers, and is heavily influenced by them in her work, and her sense of colour is just stunning.
What plans have you got for “Edge”
Ooooh! Because I don’t have a ‘High Street’ presence, I work really hard for every client I get. I’m developing a good client base, benefiting from repeat business, and now I’m getting more referrals from happy customers.
The clients I have are lovely, they seem to have confidence in me and enjoy coming to see me. I’m particularly pleased about that, because it’s important to me that all my clients enjoy the process. The pieces I’ve worked with have been nice quality, varied and interesting. I would like to develop a rapport with more artists and gain their confidence so that when they exhibit they stand the best possible chance of making sales.
Joining Kent Creative Live has been great for that, it’s also helping me develop as a business person as well. A big challenge is to develop a corporate client base. It’s going to be a long old process, but it’ll be worth it. Interestingly, research shows the benefits to staff wellbeing, improved productivity, and reduced sick leave in businesses that embrace artwork in their premises. I can help them source imagery so companies don’t need to worry about not knowing where to start.
Whatever happens I’m keeping going, because I’m loving every minute of it.
You can check out what picture framing services Bev can offer by clicking this link Edge bespoke picture framing
Until next time, happy flowers!
If you’d like to find out more about my next flower arranging workshops, you can sign up direct to my mailing list on the home page of my website – or, if you’d rather, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keeping in touch:
Belmont House – a garden tour and flower crown workshop
Meet the Flower Farmer – from plot to vase
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