Allison Chris Wilson | Floral Designer @ Fat Cat Flowers in New Orleans, LA
In January I curated a list of 15 things to do before 2016! One of my lists items included doing a personal project. I am meeting different creatives learning their story and documenting them in their work environment.
To start this project off I captured Allison Wilson, a florist in New Orleans. I met Allison through common friends, and not to long ago learned about her talent for creating some of the most stunning and elaborate flower crowns and floral arrangements I've ever seen.
How did your passion for Florals take root?
I grew up in Baton Rouge around beautiful Louisiana blooms like Camellias, Jasmine, Magnolias, Azaleas, and Gardenias. My mother was an excellent gardener and instilled a love of flowers within me. Sometimes that flower love went a little to far and when I was about 9 years old I sprained both of my arms trying to climb through a Camellia tree in our backyard. I began working in flower shops when I was 20 years old and fell in love with spreading joy through flowers.
What is something that inspires you to be a florist?
One of my favorite passages describing the beauty and importance of flowers was written by Eckhart Tolle:
"Seeing beauty in a flower could awaken humans, however briefly, to the beauty that is an essential part of their own innermost being, their true nature. The first recognition of beauty was one of the most significant events in the evolution of human consciousness. The feelings of joy and love are intrinsically connected to that recognition. Without fully realizing it, flowers would become for us an expression in form of that which is most high, most sacred, and ultimately formless within ourselves. Flowers, more fleeting, more ethereal, and more delicate than the plants out of which they emerged, would become like messengers from another realm, like a bridge between the world of physical forms and the formless. They not only had a scent that was delicate and pleasing to humans, but also brought a fragrance from the realm of spirit. Using the word ‘enlightenment’ in a wider sense than the conventionally accepted one, we could look upon flowers as the enlightenment of plants."
What is your background in the floral industry?
I first entered the floral industry in 2005 where I worked for Billy Heroman’s Flowerland and Fred Heromans in Baton Rouge, LA. I moved to New Orleans in 2006 and trained under the wonderful AIFD designer Paul Norman of Thibodeaux’s Flowers and Gifts. I started a freelance business called “Pour L’Amour De Fleurs” in 2009 and serviced Baton Rouge and New Orleans. In 2013, I received a degree in Urban Design and Regional Planning from the University of New Orleans, and joined forces with the amazing Diane Mouton and Fat Cat Flowers.
How would your describe your floral designs?
Within the floral design world, there are many beautiful styles and techniques to master. I tend to gravitate towards a more natural organic look within arrangements. A great designer, Paul Norman, once told me, “Let the shape and direction of the flower dictate its own path within the design.”
I am inspired by 17th century Dutch Still Life paintings depicting floral designs with fruits and a wild nature. I love designs that are more minimal and highlighting individual blooms or elements within the design. I like to stay away from excess and over stuffed arrangements ( or what I like to call "Kim Kardashian" flowers. :)
I am a great admirer of the "Slow Flower Movement" which is striving to locally source flowers and change the standards for flower growing in our world.
What is the future for Allison the Floral Designer?
In the future, I would like to evolve more towards growing my own flowers to use in my designs and become a master gardener like my mother. I also have an interest in learning how to create and administer Bach Flower Essences as a form of healing. My brother and I have discussed writing a book and photographing flower festivals around the world. Traveling to Japan and studying Ikebana is also on my bucket list.
I absolutely loved talking with Allison and getting to know more about floral arrangements. It truly inspired me to pay a little more attention when picking out flowers for the dinning table, and in awe of the detail in wedding arrangements.