Journal

Yorkshire workshop with Sarah Winward

I am so excited to announce a collaboration with Sarah Winward in a few weeks time.  An afternoon of flower filled fun here in Yorkshire, UK on 31st May 2017 12-4pm at Holme Flowers near Thirsk, North Yorkshire.

Sarah Winward by Kate Osborne 

Sarah Winward by Kate Osborne 

A relaxed, half-day workshop on a flower farm where you will forage for dramatic branches, work with flowers grown on the farm and design your own giant urn.  There will be lots of lovely Yorkshire tea and home made cakes and all on a working farm so lots of cows, sheep and all that entails!!!

Sarah is one of my all time favourite designers and I feel so privileged to be working with her, her work is hugely influential around the world. If you've ever pinned a drool-worthy image of a floral installation or stunning bouquet, chances are that Sarah has created it!

Sarah WInward urn by Erich McVey

Sarah WInward urn by Erich McVey

Sarah Winward by Erich McVey

Sarah Winward by Erich McVey

Sarah Winward urn by Kate Osborne 

Sarah Winward urn by Kate Osborne 

Sarah and Fiona foraging in the Cotswolds

Sarah and Fiona foraging in the Cotswolds

I first met Sarah down in the Cotswolds a couple of years ago, after watching her design incredible bouquets and striking urns, we bonded over a morning foraging the hedgerows for wild clematis and huge urn making.

We have kept in touch since and I have been longing to show her the beauty of the rugged, wild and earthy Yorkshire. I've often driven down our tiny lanes bursting with May blossom, just big enough for my van, across the windswept moors purple with heather, or by the local huge craggy rocks with determined little ferns bursting through and thought 'Sarah would love this' and made mental notes where I would take her (I'm afraid I've forgotten half of them!). And rather fabulously she is now actually coming up and I just know she will love it all.

From the tree lined valleys here in my little piece of heaven in West Yorkshire, through the local 'wuthering' Bronte moors and creative towns of Hebden Bridge and Saltaire, up to the more gentle and picture postcard prettiness of North Yorkshire with it's array of market towns and farming folk, Yorkshire has so much beauty to offer and such a varied landscape, each beautiful in it's own very different way. I am so excited to see Sarah's reaction to it all!

 

Fiona Pickles urn by Erich McVey

Fiona Pickles urn by Erich McVey

Fiona Pickles urn by Erich McVey

Fiona Pickles urn by Erich McVey

Fiona Pickles urn and Sarah Winward bouquet by Erich McVey

Fiona Pickles urn and Sarah Winward bouquet by Erich McVey

So, Sarah and I have put together a very relaxed yet inspirational half day of flower-filled creativity for anyone who just wants to share their love of flowers and enjoy a bit of "impulse designing" with us, this is a fabulous opportunity to get to work with one of the world's leading floral designers while she is over in the UK.

The orchard at Holme Flowers

The orchard at Holme Flowers

WHERE AND WHEN

Wednesday May 31st 2017 at Holme Flowers, near Thirsk, North Yorkshire 12-4pm

Holme Farm is a beautiful working farm run by three sisters, Wendy, Sue and Jayne and is located in a delightful and secluded hamlet in rural North Yorkshire. 

We will work in the picture perfect orchard underneath one of the apple trees, right at the heart of the farm and just a short walk from one of the flower fields. There will be chickens at our feet and cows chewing the cud, gazing on quizzically, while the gang of orphaned spring lambs gambol about playfully and get up to all sorts of mischief  nearby

 

AGENDA

12 noon Arrive for a light lunch served under an apple tree in the orchard*.

A chance to meet and chat to everyone in the most idyllic of settings. Enjoy a relaxed lunch of locally reared meats, local cheeses, fruits, breads, biscuits, English wines and soft drinks as well as home made biscuits and cakes. And of course lots of Yorkshire tea.

After lunch Sarah and I will demonstrate our urns, then we'll all head off to one of the flower fields before meandering down some of their many lanes or across open fields to forage for interesting foliage.

You will then choose your vessel and create your own floral masterpiece in the beautiful orchard. 

4pm goodbyes where you can take your urn home, along with a little gift from Sarah and me

Photos throughout the afternoon by fine art photographer Holly of Belle and Beau www.belleandbeaublog.com Holly has been internationally recognised as one of the best Fine Art Wedding photographers in the UK with accolades from The Telegraph and Photo Professional Magazine. She is also the author of ‘The Fine Art of Wedding Photography‘. 

Tumble down walls

Tumble down walls

INVESTMENT £499

To book a place please e-mail Fiona at  fiona@firenzafloraldesign.co.uk and she will reply with payment details. Places are strictly limited and allocated on a first come first served basis.

Demand for this half day workshop is expected to be very high and early booking is HIGHLY recommended.

The £499 is for one place only and is non- transferrable and non-refundable

HOW TO GET THERE

The hamlet of Holme is about a 10 minute drive from junction 50 of the A1/M and a 15 minute taxi ride from Thirsk station-  full directions will be sent out to all attendees beforehand.

 

*We have an indoors wet weather back up plan in case the weather isn't kind.

Fiona Pickles in the orchard at Holme Flowers

Fiona Pickles in the orchard at Holme Flowers

When Katie from Ponderosa and Thyme came to visit

Way back at the beginning of 2017, the year started with a bang for me and has carried on that way ever since (so much excitement but more on that another time!) .

In very early January, Katie of Ponderosa and Thyme and her lovely husband Mark came to stay for a couple of days. Both still jet lagged I don't know how they were so sociable, but it was a lovely time spent getting to know the person (well, people) behind the social media accounts where I have to admit I do stalk her a little bit!  Katie is one of my absolute favourite designers, a real artist, who paints with flowers.

We had some lovely conversations over food, wine and many dog strokes! We wandered around my desperately sad garden (it was early January and we were mid re-design so it was at it's absolute worst!) and chatted about all things floral, how we got where we are now, our influences, loves, worries etc.

Whilst chatting over dinner we took a last minute decision to make an early morning trip to the local flower market for a wander round and just buy whatever flowers we fancied to create something, just because we could. 

So next morning, Katie drifted around the market looking blummin' gorgeous on about half an hours sleep while I looked like the living dead.

We had a lot of laughs trying to decide on a cohesive colour scheme (well, I say cohesive, Katie went a bit 'off piste' with some bright yellow mimosa, which was pretty out there) 

We opted for all sorts of pretty bright colours, including these VERY pink lisianthus, cyclamen and begonia and got everything nicely drinking.  We then set to work.

I dithered for a while between whether to make a huge urn or a bouquet and eventually settled on a bouquet.

Just before Katie and Mark left, we headed back inside for some picture taking, Katie managed to capture this lovely image of me (believe me, I don't say that often!) and I now use it as my profile picture for all social media platforms.

Then I took a very brief one of Katie, sadly about the only photo I took of her time here 😥

Katie of Ponderosa and Thyme

So, I'm sorry it has taken so long to actually post about our lovely time together. It really was a pleasure. I have said it in other places, but I do feel Katie and I are very similar people, with a similar ethos on life and it's all thanks to social media that we met - go Instagram! 

Next time you are in the UK Katie and Mark, please do come back, maybe in the summer or autumn when the garden is looking like a garden and not some devastated wasteland! xxx

Details confirmed for Gathering Blossom Workshop.

If you have signed up for the newsletter this will be old new to you, but if not (and why not?!) I have great pleasure in releasing details of the Gathering Blossom workshop. 

Gathering Blossom
An Arts and Crafts inspired floral workshop

Tuesday 25th April 2017 10am-4.30pm

An inspirational day of art, flowers and flexing your creative muscles. Head off into the fairytale tangle of woods, bushes and masses of cow parsley to forage,  Watch a large scale design being conceived and created by Fiona Pickles as she talks about the process, how she works and what inspires her and her designs.  Learn about styling and creating enticing images for Instagram whilst finding what works for you. Meet and interact with likeminded creatives wanting to charge up their creative batteries before the new season hits and inspire each other as you put it all into practice.

Aimed at

Floral designers and artists wanting to adapt their style to embrace a loose, unstructured and free-form style

Creatives wanting to gain more understanding of the floral process

Artists wanting to paint with flowers

Florists wanting to improve their Instagram gallery

Lovers of spring flowers just wanting a day up to their knees in British flowers and foliages making a mess in someone else's house

Fans of the Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau, Edgar Wood and Frederick William Jackson

The day includes:

 Foraging amongst the extensive and wonderfully overgrown grounds for foliages and blossoms

Large scale demonstration by Fiona using locally grown flowers

Time for you to design and create

One to one and group time with Fiona 

Opportunity to style areas around the venue

Social media and styling advice

All refreshments and lunch

Pictures taken throughout the day by Holly of Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography available for your use

Video of the day available for your use 

Welcome bundle 

All equipment provided

 

Venue

Exclusive access to Briarcourt in Lindley West Yorkshire, a large privately owned residence designed by Edgar Wood, a leading light in the Arts and Crafts Movement. 

Established as a reaction to the Industrial Revolution, The Arts and Crafts Movement stood for traditional craftsmanship over mass production, embracing the beauty of the materials and the workmanship of the makers.  A perfect sentiment that sits well with my ethos and way of working.  

Inspiration

A mural at Briarcourt painted by Frederick William Jackson, a founder member of both the Manchester School of Painters and the Staithes group of painters. His paintings include 'Gathering Blossom', hence the name of the workshop!

 

Foraging in the grounds

Foraging in the grounds

Lunch in the panelled dining room

Lunch in the panelled dining room

Dress the inglenook fireplaces and original windows

Dress the inglenook fireplaces and original windows

Each booking is for one person only and cannot be cancelled once booked.

NB Briarcourt is a working and large scale renovation, including all the areas we will be using, This is in no way a finished venue, but a lifetime project for Vicky and Duncan, who live there, to restore a beautiful and historic house back to it's former glory. Please don't expect a polished, finished venue. Part of what makes this experience unique comes from seeing a real piece of history (and an utterly beautiful one at that) being restored to its former glory, if you don't mind bare floorboards, unfinished rooms and a bit of peeling paint you are in for a real treat!

Investment

£599

Make a difference

For every place booked £15 will be donated to Clem's Garden, a not for profit social enterprise currently being set up within the grounds of Briarcourt - see below for details:

"Clem's Garden will be a not for profit social enterprise run mainly by and for older people who don't have a job or a family life to channel their care, nurturing and experience into. By everyone working together to grow and sell organic cut flowers for a nominated charity, we hope to help in some small way to provide a vehicle to help address the epidemic of loneliness, boredom, and low self esteem too many people face, especially in later life. As well as bringing happiness to the customers who will enjoy our beautiful seasonal flowers, we hope to cultivate friendships and confidence in the growers who volunteer here."

A minimum of six students is required

Book Now

Gathering Blossom - A spring workshop

Amazing windows, panelled walls, fireplaces big enough for small countries to huddle around, un renovated and peeling walls beautiful beyond belief, original and full-room mural from a Staithes Group artist, Arts and Crafts architecture.

And the flowers of course, don't forget the flowers. Picked from my gardens and other local artisan growers and foraged from the tangled, overgrown, fairytale wilderness outside this magical place.

A small group of like minded floral artists and creatives gather excitedly waiting to design, create and weave their magic about this amazing place.

This will be the 'Gathering Blossom' workshop in April. (Named after a painting by the Staithes Group artist, Frederick William Jackson).

More details (including where and when!!!) and priority booking to newsletter subscribers, so sign up now ....

I can't wait for you to see this place!!!

Saltmarshe Hall

I am so honoured to have been asked to provide the florals for this shoot that came about to launch the new range of bespoke and vintage-inspired dresses from Glory Days Bridal, which happens today!

AND (small fanfare ...) Hayley is giving away a wedding dress to one very lucky winner, completely free of charge - see the bottom of this post for details - heck that's one great offer!

Hayley got the team together to showcase her gorgeous new range and everything just came together like magic.  Saltmarshe Hall was an incredible venue with amazing grounds and outbuildings. It was a heavenly day!

About the flowers:

I made three bouquets in total, these two I made in advance from my gardens and the other was foraged entirely from the grounds (with a couple of added chrysanthemum heads for added 'umph') and made on the spot , it was all wild, unruly, big and gangly!

The second bouquet was more restrained and in cooler tones of lemon, pale pink and cream flowers from my garden, including lemon sunflowers, garden roses, lemon dahlias that fade to pink, pink scabious, ferns, jasmine and sweet pea trails. As well as a single faded lacecap hydrangea head and, unbelievably for November, a small white foxglove.

The third, again all picked from the garden with the exception of the trailing pepper berries, was in deeper tones of rusts, salmons and pinks. Again, a little more restrained thank the foraged bouquet, with large dahlia and chrysanthemum heads taking centre stage, but with some twirling flourishes of sweet pea vines and jasmine trails.

I also designed a flower crown from the foraged goodies, with a bit of  chrysanthemum added for good measure.

If I had to choose, my favourite is the foraged bouquet, its wild, large, totally fits into the surroundings and until I started making it I had no idea how it would look, which i LOVE!! It is a bit like choosing your favourite child though (or dog). Do you have a favourite? Id love to hear which and why 😀

Rolling in Roses73.jpg

It was wonderful to be part of such an amazing team of people (including the hairdresser who worked with a broken arm, without realising it was broken!!) and I suspect there may be more (shoots! Not broken arms ).....??? 

Images - Shutter Go Click Photography

Dresses - Glory Days Bridal

Flowers - Firenza Floral Design

Make up - Victoria Farr Make Up artist

Hair - Hula Hair

Venue - Saltmarshe Hall

And for that chance to win the wedding dress see the feature on Rock My Wedding today - you have until midnight on 28th January 2017. Good luck!!!

Always live life to the full

On 21st November 2015, Jess and Ollie had a beautiful, meaningful and personal wedding.  A day where two people who loved each other just wanted to commit to one another.

Arranged in just a few short months by Michelle because the only thing Jess and Ollie wanted was to be married as quickly as possible, while they could.

A few months earlier Ollie had devastatingly been diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer, which tragically was also now terminal. He underwent treatment, which was put on hold temporarily to allow him to be as healthy as possible for their day. They had only their very close family there for the big day and it was a real honour to be asked to provide their flowers. If ever there was a wedding that was to be special, this was it!

Tragically Ollie passed away in July this year.

I wanted to feature their beautiful day, not only to share the lovely images by Mark Newton but also because Jess has decided to run the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge to raise money for Cancer Research and I hoped that maybe, in a tiny way, I could help to boost her fundraising. That is one tough challenge to undertake and the least I could do is feature their lovely day on the Journal.

So PLEASE spend 5 minutes enjoying their day, then head over to the Just Giving page Ollie's Yorkshire 3 Peak Challenge and donate whatever you can. I know it will resonate with many people for different reasons and let's face it, it could so easily be any one of us ...

Jessica and Oliver Collinge - November 2015

The eagle eyed among you will have noticed their wedding was a year ago today but I can't even wish them congratulations on their first anniversary.

I cannot imagine what Jess is going thorough and has gone through since they received the diagnosis, she is one very tough lady and she is determined to make a difference by running the challenge, so as I say, PLEASE head over to the Just Giving page and donate whatever you can, thank you.

Fiona xxx

 

Photography Mark Newton Wedding Photography

Florals by me!

Dress Eve and Ellis Ripponden

Wedding Planner Taylored Elegance

Church St Michael's Church in Mytholmroyd

Drinks at Oliver's local The Hinchliffe Arms

Venue Holdsworth House

When everything comes together ....

Yesterday I was involved in the most glorious of shoots and as I type there are only a few preview images from the amazing Shutter Go Click Photography but they are so beautiful I couldn't wait to share them!

The shoot, at Saltmarshe Hall, was arranged by Hayley from Glory Days Vintage Bridal for the launch of her amazing new range of hand made dresses, which she only finished the night before and oh my word, were they exquisite!

The lovely people at this beautiful venue (I really hope I get the chance to work there again, it was SOOOO up my street!) allowed me to use foliages and berries from the grounds to make this bouquet and oh boy, was I in my element. SO many beautiful buildings, walls, trees (and even drainpipes!!).

More to follow :) x

Images - Shutter Go Click

Dresses - Glory Days Vintage Bridal

Venue - Saltmarshe Hall

Florals - Firenza Flowers

Make up - Victoria Farr

Hair - Hula Hairdressing

 

One of my all time favourites ...

It's well over a year ago that I was involved in this fabulous collaboration but I've never actually shared it on my website - until now :)

It was a collaboration with, amongst others, my two lovely friends James and Jo Melia of Melia Melia Photography (see below for full details of everyone involved) and the images we achieved are some of my all time favourites.

It was the first styled shoot at The Arches, Dean Clough in Halifax, West Yorkshire UK, from which they launched as a wedding venue. It is fabulously different, it's industrial setting allows for something that little bit different and away from the mainstream wedding 'look', all of which is right up my street!

For this collaboration we wanted to embrace the heritage and grittiness of the building itself, I used flowers to pick up the colour of the brickwork, grey silk ribbons that echoed the stone flag flooring and the steel girders,  we even used items from the fabulous antique shop around the corner, most of which were from the mill itself. 

I created an arch from a piece of rope and a branch, built a fireplace from crates and a charred old plank, we filled a filing system with flowers and used two beautiful salvaged wooden benches for the ceremony. The table plan was foliage circlets hanging from holes I could find in the beautiful stone wall (now sadly no longer there).

The flowers were large and unapologetic, this was a chance to do something that I would naturally do, given a free reign and an open brief, a dream come true in fact!

The food from Eat Me Drink Me was amazing too, we know as we got to taste it at lunchtime!! It is as good as it looks, proper "Yorkshire Fare' !

Florals and styling - Firenza Floral Design

Images and styling - Melia Melia Photography

Venue - The Arches

Planning and styling - Charlotte Eden and Eve

Dresses - Eve and Ellis Bridal Couture

Hair - Kizzy Charisma Bridal Hair

Make up - Jo Bilham Make up artist

Calligraphy - Claire Gould

Catering - Eat Me Drink Me

Rock My wedding also featured us on their fabulous blog last year 

 

 

 

 

What a wonderful Summer ...

So! We are officially in autumn, a time for picking fruits and berries from the hedgerows, of harvest festivals and kicking through piles of leaves amidst wafts of woodsmoke and bonfires. Much as I love autumn and all it has to offer, I cannot believe it is here already, I just don't know where the summer went.

My summer didn't involve long, lazy holidays, or even the luxury of family time, it was just incredibly busy, spent amidst a blur of flowers and happiness with many beautiful weddings and projects. 

The down side of all this is that the poor old journal has, once again, been sadly neglected, there is barely time to eat and sleep during the busy times, let alone update the journal, so I do apologise, but I shall  be sharing all my flowery exploits over the coming months.

There was so much gorgeousness it's quite overwhelming, weddings in grand manor houses, cowsheds, Michelin starred restaurants and vineyards, I have built many arches in the most incredible settings and even dressed a rowing boat with flowers. There were exciting trips to many flower farms around the country, my van filled to the brim with incredible stashes of florals, to make sure I had just the right rose for that bridal bouquet , or floral chandelier, the van has been packed and unpacked so many times I have lost count.  

I have foraged from countless hedgerows, even falling down a rabbit hole whilst doing so (not like 'Alice', just an ungainly fall in a dodgy old lay-by resulting in a twisted ankle).  Amidst all this there were also one-to-one sessions at mine, a couple of editorial shoots, helping a couple of lovely flower friends with their weddings and a demonstration at Harrogate Flower Show.

As I say, I will be sharing lots of images but first a long overdue catch up with admin, family and of course the garden, which is undergoing a radical change thanks to letting me loose with a pair of loppers and a spade, more of that I suspect too (lots more room to plant things)!

A huge thank you to Anna and Jamie for the above photos of their day, all taken by the amazing Naomi Kenton

In the meantime here is a breathtaking insight into just one of the projects by Tegan of Roost Film Co, when I provided the florals for Holly from Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography and Naomi of Naomi Kenton Photography at their workshop A Beautiful Way in Wiltshire.

Workshop credits:

Flowers from Firenza Floral Design - Wedding and Event florist

Dress by Cherry Williams London
Stationery by The Wells Makery
Hair by Louise Alway- Bridal Hairstylist
Shoes by Harriet Wilde
Catering from Eat Five Star
Held at Valentina's Lost Orangery from Unique Home Stays - www.uniquehomestays.com

Hello again

Here it is! My brand new website!

I can finally unfurl my crumpled wings and emerge from the chrysalis that I feel I have been stuck in for months.  It's a new beginning and very exciting it is too.

The best place to follow my daily exploits is still Instagram, it reflects who I am and what I am all about. If you love my feed, you are (hopefully) likely to love my work and if the journal aspect of my lovely new website is easy, usable from the phone and not too clunky then who knows, I may become a fiendish blogger too - let's see!!!

SO, bring on the flowers .....