As lovely as Leigh’s designs are on Instagram it’s in the flesh, where you can experience the texture, colour and of course the scent, that the displays come alive and it’s no wonder that she’s such a popular florist for weddings and events in London and Surrey.
We were delighted to see Leigh’s arrangements recently at the inaugural Strawberry Hill House Flower Festival, which Leigh organised along with florist Claire from Honeysuckle & Hilda and floral photographer and stylist Janne Ford. Nearly 40 florists, flower growers and artists took place in the event, creating a wonderful celebration of British flowers in a beautiful venue. In case you missed it here’s a link to our blog post featuring photos of some of the floral designs.
Leigh is asked to provide the flowers at many weddings and one of our favourite weddings that she worked on was at the Secret River Garden and we’re delighted to announce that Leigh will be available to host floral workshops at this hidden romantic venue in Twickenham in 2020. If you don’t know about this magical venue you can read about it here. Leigh Chappell’s workshops offer a rare opportunity for floral creativity and relaxation and the Secret River Garden, with views of the River Thames, is a wonderful location full of photographic opportunities.
Leigh Chappell tells us more about her approach to floral design and workshops below.
Having trained as a botanical illustrator I then worked in Graphic Design until one day when my children were at school a friend persuaded me to do a floristry course with her. This prompted my career change to floral design about twelve years ago. I am based in Twickenham.
When I was a child at school in Gower, in the Summer we would go off on rambles, each collecting some wild flowers and then sit with the teacher and identify them from a big book on wild flowers before heading back to school. This has really stuck with me and I love the wild and natural feel.
I create floral designs for weddings and events but also run floristry workshops such as wreath-making at Christmas, bouquet making, table flowers or tailor-made workshops for both beginners and more experienced florists.
My style is natural and inspired by how things grow… I don’t really have favourite flowers as they each have their own charm but like to work with both seasonal and dried flowers. I don’t use floral foam as it’s so bad for the environment being made from plastic, so tend to use old methods.
Social media is very much part of my business… my Instagram feed is pretty much my portfolio and I have a network of colleagues that I have met via the platform.
In fact, I recently, with two colleagues, set up a sustainable Flower Festival at Strawberry Hill House and there were approximately 35 talented floral designers and artists involved … all of whom I contacted via Instagram. The event was to highlight the resurgence of British Flower growers in the UK and the fact that we are all as florists striving to be more sustainable in our methods.
An average day of floristry usually starts with early morning collection of flowers and working to get all the designs made in time for an event. Flowers have a limited life span, so whether the event is large or small, preparation can only really start two days before. We do flowers for weddings and events with some of our favourite venues being The Secret River Garden because it’s so beautiful and another being Ham House. It’s a joy to work anywhere with beautiful architecture whether traditional or modern but especially anywhere with a beautiful garden where you can bring the outside in as a florist.
If we happen to be running a workshop, after flower collection we set up the space to look welcoming to our attendees. We want them to walk into the room and be bowled over by the blooms.
My aim for a floral workshop is that anyone attending should leave feeling that they have had a really lovely, enjoyable day, having learned a new skill and enjoyed the company of the other attendees , generally with a delicious lunch included. They should have loved the ingredients they had to work with and enjoyed the surroundings too.
We set up the Sustainable Flower Festival at Strawberry Hill House when a carefully curated group of leading Floral Designers and artists who exhibited their work for four days to highlight the resurgence of British flower growers and sustainable methods of floristry.
We had a floral workshop at Eggington House which is a beautiful period property with a glorious garden just outside Leighton Buzzard. Susie Garrigue the owner and host invites us into her home and cooks a delicious lunch. Our workshop was based around the displays of the Dutch Masters but with a modern twist, using the backdrop of the house which my colleague Janne Ford photographs and then explains how to use Instagram to full benefit for business.
At Evolve we regularly share news about latest venues, styles and events on our blog and social media. You can visit our blog here and follow us at @evolveevents.
To get more ideas or help with your event talk to the team on 020 7610 2808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about Leigh Chappell visit her website here or follow her on Instagram here.