Upcoming talk on trends in floristry

We’re really looking forward to the Bloom and Bust: Trends in Floristry event at our local Garden Museum on 23 April. This talk is part of an ongoing exhibition called Floriculture: Flowers, Love and Money, which was opened by HRH the Duchess of Cornwall on 14 February. Supported by the Covent Garden Market Authority and sponsored by Waitrose, the exhibition looks at use of flowers in art and life from historical times to the present day.

We’ve very happy to be part of this coming together to celebrate and explore the importance of flowers. Lauren will be sharing her personal and professional thoughts, ideas and observations on past and current trends in floristry. The event is open to the public and there are still tickets available.

Lauren will share some reflections about the event soon.

Spring Culture Series at the House of St Barnabas

The House of St Barnabas is an exciting venture to ensure sustained employment for homeless people by creating revenue streams through venue hire and hospitality that provides work-related experience and jobs. If you haven’t had a chance to check out HoSB, please do make an effort to enjoy this beautiful space. Its fantastic history and aesthetics have made many a magical event. As a precursor to HoSB becoming the first social enterprise members club, it has opened its doors for a mix of banging music events and stimulating discussions. Please do go along to one of their Spring Culture Series events. We were lucky enough to be commissioned to provide the floral installations for last month’s soirée – ‘A Mighty Big If’, hosted by magnetic Richard Strange, who said to us, “Ooh, they’re lovely flowers! What are they thinking?” The event was jam-packed, with words from Brian Cox and David Coulter captured by HiBROW TV

We are providing the flowers for their next event: HoSB and Moshi Moshi present Martin Creed, Slow Club and Sweet Baboo. The event will be hosted by Turner Prize winner and musician Martin Creed, which has Lauren very excited, particularly as he has created a poster especially for HoSB – a beautiful watercolour of the saint’s face.

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Our brief from HoSB was to keep this amazing piece in mind but also be fairly elaborate. The new decor for the venue is pretty top secret so let’s hope we can get some pictures in situ for you this time.

There are plenty of events coming up for which you can still get tickets. We are looking forward to The Secret Meaning of Shoes with the ever-knowledgeable taste-maker  Ekow Eshun, Miranda Sawyer (our lovely and local journalist) and, of course, Mark Hare (we like that pair). It’s only a tenner – get in there!

School for Social Entrepreneurs Stories of Change Awards Ceremony

This event as always brings together the mighty spirit of those brave enough to dare challenging the status quo with those who are similar but working within the financial services. SSE provides a platform for the learning and development of those that graduate from the programme and the tools and support for the enterprises they start.Stories of Change

Among the award winners, special mention should be made of Lucy, who overcame the barriers of homelessness to acquire 11 acres of land on which she will build a homelessness rehabilitation centre based around land-based learning and acupuncture, and Ian from May Project Gardens, which is starting a permaculture garden in Morden with the aim of bringing communities together through ecological and ethical activities.

We were asked for something bright, cheerful and celebratory because this year’s ceremony was earlier than usual. We chose white glass vases and clear glass for the long-stemmed irises and, keeping in harmony with the SSE colours – magenta, gold and blue – we thought sunflowers were fitting to represent their logo. We used the irises to represent vision and fidelity, which we feel is needed for those who take a social or environmental entrepreneurial path.Magenta, Blue and Gold

Floral donation went to the Karibu Centre, Gresham Road, Brixton, which allowed for the space to be dressed for the funeral of a young male victim of violent street crime. Elaine Holness, the director of the Centre and an SSE fellow, continues to create an accessible and safe environment for the Brixton community to hold meetings and events.

RBS Social Enterprise 100 Awards

We were invited back this year to provide floral designs for the awards ceremony held by Royal Bank of Scotland on 5 December at The Atrium. We made an arrangement for each table and a special installation for the awards ceremony table. We very much enjoyed the challenge of an extremely colourful story to illustrate and embellish the event colour scheme. This year we chose to take the number-based impact measurement theme pretty literally with big, bold vintage, numbered velvet rosettes.RBS SE100 5th We thought this retro feel was fun and fitting as it went along with the handmade ceramic awards provided by Koestler Trust: arts by offenders. The flowers we used were a combination of pink orchids, peach roses, blue thistles (as requested by our Scots friends last year), red berries and giant yellow chrysanthemums. Each table was dressed in multicoloured runnuclus in tall slim vases with the big vintage rosettes.RBS SE100 3rd The blue laser lights in the venue really set everything off.RBS SE100 Awards

Fair Trade Floral Design at the V&A

We delivered a workshop at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 1 December. The journey to the market was especially beautiful walking across the park with its crispy fields and bare trees in the winter sunlight.Image Lauren was impressed with the dedication and enthusiasm of Marissa, the workshop assistant, who was standing waiting for her at the flower market at 6:00 am. It was lovely driving over to the V&A and passing the Natural History Museum in awe of the architecture and design – the scaled reptilian brickwork is exactly right for the purpose of the building. It was bordering eerie walking into the V&A with no sound of other people and being watched by the big golden angel called ‘Spirit’ that looks over the staff entrance.

Preparation was fun, with Marissa and Lauren setting out the Rainforest Alliance certified flowers for the bouquets.Image The workshop was equal parts theory, practice and creative space. We talked a lot about our experiences of flowers and how we see them in the world for the future. Lauren demonstrated small arrangements that have a low impact on resources and high visual flair.Image Participants then made their own arrangements and bouquets.Image

The women attending were a mix of experienced florists and inexperienced flower lovers and came from several different countries including Kenya, Italy and Canada. We would like to thank everyone who participated – Lauren had a great time sharing her experiences. We look forward to further collaborations with the V&A in the future. 

Good Deals Conference

The Good Deals Conference was held at Southwark Cathedral on 28 November and at Vinopolis on 29 November. The keynote speakers were Jonathan Greenblatt, Head of Social Innovation at the White House and James Featherby, author of ‘Of Markets and Men’. We love working with Good Deals because there isn’t a better feeling than knowing that there is a movement towards a conscious effort to invest for returns that are greater than just economic.

Within the arrangements we used black pebbles as they are symbolic of the stepping stones ethical businesses take to become investment ready. The colour black here is used to represent the infinite possibilities that await the investors who are prepared to risk the new and unknown. Black Vase - Spray paint We wanted to echo this air of excitement by using magenta orchids.Small Vase - Orchid In this case, the orchid flower represents the symbiotic relationships that ethical organizations have had to develop with investors and each other in order to survive.Coffee Table

The line and form used in the installation placed on the stage was created to reinforce the simplicity and animated use of stick men in the Matter and Co graphics for the event. So for us, the light-heartedness of the graphics and the unconventional use of line is about freedom and the opportunities that can be created when this is mixed with calculated risk.Stick Men

Fair Trade Floristry at the Victoria and Albert Museum

We are delighted to be offering a workshop at the beautiful Victorian and Albert Museum. Long have you found us enjoying Postmodernist, Brazilian or Afropolitan inspired Friday night lates at the museum and making a B line for Hussein Chalayan talks or Yojhi Yamamoto exhibitions. Now it is our turn to share our art of Thinking Flowers? with you. Our aim is to inform and inspire you with ethical flower thoughts surrounding the global cut flower industry coupled with simple design-focused tips on colours, containers and compositions you can use at home.
We are looking forward to a fun day (10:30 to 16:30) of sharing flower thoughts on Saturday 1 December. We have worked hard to have a concession rate of £64 so as to make it more affordable for everyone (£80 full price). All the materials are included and you get to take your bouquet home. For more information, see http://tinyurl.com/8tanxql

Inspiring Change in Communities

So I’ve decided to take the plunge and start speaking up about some of the things I’m deeply passionate about, though I actually honestly find public speaking very challenging for many reasons. I’m taking the opportunity to speak at one event organised by Geek Girls on a subject that I know nothing about – being a geek. Despite my knowledge of the technological advancement of society, I’m still something of a late bloomer in this regard. I’m stepping into the unknown and sharing my experience of developing and designing organic systems that work for people and plants and how this can be translated into an online interface. So I’m already in awe of these women who are writing codes and processing, empowering themselves and building the capacity of their communities through knowledge of the Internet. I know, I know – I’m late! 

I’m also really excited about receiving an invitation to speak at TEDx Croydon around the subject of Inspiring Change in Communities. Part of me feels almost unworthy as there’s still so much untouched and undone in the plans I have for Thinking Flowers? and Field, but I think this will be an amazing opportunity to thank those in the very varied communities I’ve worked with. I’m really interested in hearing the other speakers, especially Simon Boyle.

Hats off to the School for Social Entrepreneurs graduates!

It’s always a lovely surprise to be commissioned by old friends. I graduated from the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) at the beginning of 2008, and it was there that I was inspired to create deep connections with people who are truly committed to making their environments and this world a better place for all. I think the things I took away from the SSE were the encouragement to become an action-learning facilitator and a business mentor because both of these methods help me to develop my strength to be able to continue to challenge the status quo.

This year’s graduation was held at the PwC headquarters, which I feel creates a real platform for social entrepreneurs entering the social innovation landscape. As always, the presentations given by the students were moving and uplifting and highlighted the power people have to identify the issues they have faced and the ill-health of society and create solutions and design services. I was especially impressed by the speech delivered by Matthew Barrett, founder of The Breakout Media Academy, who described social enterprise as an example of the dignity of current humanity. I was also moved by Louise, who has started a photography social enterprise called Stop, Fix, Develop, which touched my heart as it relates to the first social enterprise I started – Petal Tank – and one of my photographs is being exhibited as part of X Marks the Spot.

The inspiration for the installation that we created for the event started from a series of sketches of fascinator hats that I started drawing one afternoon at a friend’s house. I didn’t know where they were going to go or when I was going to get a chance to make them, but I knew that they would come into existence at some point. So when I got the call for the SSE graduation, I knew that these alternative hats would suit these alternative students. I started with the concentric circles of the SSE logo in the colours of magenta, cyan and blue, and a recycled wire abstract interpretation became a decorative element of the fascinators. The body of the fascinator was made from recycled plastic mesh and the flowers were from Rainforest Alliance-certified tropical bouquets from Costa Rica to meet the SSE’s requirements of a carnival-like celebration. We were joined by the photographer Mystique Holloway, who assisted with the installation, documented the event and supported us on the floral donation where the flowers were up-cycled to the Karibu Centre in Brixton, whose director Elaine is also an SSE Fellow. Upon arrival at the Centre, we found a wake in process and the flowers served as an emotional lift for the bereaved.

Can’t wait for next year’s graduation  … and always pack my tissues. We are also looking forward to attending the SSE and Lloyd’s Banking Group event at the House of Lords, which I feel is celebrating the growth and progression of the SSE’s ability to continue the holistic development of social entrepreneurs. There are very few organisations that work closely with social entrepreneurs and are able to finance their ventures.

Introducing Thinking Flowers? and Field Foundation

Thinking Flowers? is an ethical floral design business and consultancy. Through unique and eye-catching floral installations, ethical design courses and product and service design

The venture was started we question and challenge conventional thinking around ethics and sustainability in the cut-flower industry. We pride ourselves on a truly holistic approach that includes sourcing, floral donation and green waste disposal.
The aim is to effect a long-term transformation of the cut flower industry and people’s attitudes to flowers, through establishing the first ethical floristry franchise. We work in partnership with the Field Foundation, a charity that we established.

Thinking Flowers? was a finalist for the Precious Awards -Social Enterprise Business of the Year in 2011.

The issue (Why?)

Flowers are vital to humans, everything that fruits flowers . Something deep within us responds to the colours, shapes and fragrances of flowers. They enhance well-being. With an increasingly urban population globally, connecting to nature through flowers is becoming increasingly important. I love the way you have written this. But there’s a problem.

85% of the flowers sold in the UK come from abroad and of these come from Africa via Holland. Shipping flowers which are 80% water from one of the driest areas on the globe to a temperate area such as the UK, mainly by plane, has significant ecological implications. The workers are largely women and suffer from poor working conditions, includingexcessive use of pesticides. The local environment suffers because of soil degradation and the lowering of groundwater. In the UK, after the flowers have
been used they end up in landfill. Only [2%] of the UK flower market is currently labelled “ethical” (either fair trade or organic). You can see an animation here.

What we do

Our purpose is to ask questions and share answers to improve the cut flower
industry and act as flower custodians for the future generations. Our services are just like flowers make connections between corporates and communities offering direct supply chain. Such as our floral donation scheme allow corporates to share with charities, social enterprises and the community.

We promote a holistic approach to enterprise that includes people and planet as equals. We think questioning lies at the heart of learning and as an organisation we are open and accountable to questioning ourselves.

Our focus is:
– events;
floral design courses; and
bouquets

All services include consultation, floral donation and green waste disposal service.

Clients for our events have included: the Guardian, Times Eureka, Pricewaterhousecoopers, Tate Modern, Westminster Cathedral and Metropolitan Police and House of Commons, Deloitte and Clearly So.

Over the last 2 years we have delivered over 30 training sessions in flower essence therapies, mentoring and ethical floristry to our staff and customers alike.

In 2011, wanting to address the largest and most ethically challenged part of the UK flower market, we piloted (and sold out) a ‘Mother Earth’ bouquet range for Mothers day Thorntons Budgen’s in Belsize Park and Crouch End, North London.

The opportunity

We expect 2012 to be a landmark year for Thinking Flowers? After 8 years of experimenting and rich learning, we are ready to expand our services. We aim to run more events, expand our range of floral design courses and develop a range of bouquets for individual and small chains of supermarkets, building on our successful pilot from last year. And to celebrate the Olympic year we aim to launch creative campaigns to connect with corporations, charities and large social enterprises to get on their supplier lists. We will need to recruiting and training new staff.

In 2012 we finalised plans for the Field Foundation, which will promote sustainability through cross sector collaborations to create art installations and learning experiences. Our current research focus is exploring the role of creativity and Dyslexia in enterprise and the cultural industries.

About TF?

TF? was founded in 2008 by Lauren Craig, after 5 years of exploration into
the art and practice of floristry. She has been nominated for Honda Cultural Engineer and won number of awards and in 2011 was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the Precious Awards, and one of the One World Action’s 100 Unseen Powerful
Women who Change the World
. 2010 Highly Commended in top 10 of Future100 Awards.

Also, in 2010 Thinking Flowers? found a new home at FIELD. This was a unique pop-up community retail space in Brixton Village. It was a pioneering collective entity that allowed for the creative development of not only the artists and designers involved but also the thousands of people who visited the space and interacted with the space and the community that supported it.

FIELD showcased artists, designers and Thinking Flowers? floral consultancy. We housed Lambeth Women;s Project events provided a launch pad for the Brixton Women’s Institute (BWI) and Flowers in a Tea Cup (FTC) and thus helped create a strong group of 40 + women working to serve local societal
needs. BWI members act as volunteers for Thinking Flowers? events and volunteers for creating peace gardens and flower growing.

For the future we will launching a Thinking Flowers? #LOVEis campaign for Valentines day.

For financial information please get in touch.
You can and images below and view past work here www.enterthefield.org, | www.facebook.com/pages/Field/253235312886 |www.thinkingflowers.com | www.facebook.com/thinkingflowers