Floral Magic – An Interview with Françoise Weeks

This week, we’re kicking off a new series of interviews and articles with featured local wedding vendors in the Portland metropolitan area. A series called Wedding Talk. Our first guest vendor is the amazingly talented florist Françoise Weeks.

Françoise was born in Belgium in an area romanticized by the flower arrangements of the Dutch and Flemish painters of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Honing her talents through training with the florists of Antwerp, Françoise discovered her signature — a unique lush and textural style, heavily imprinted by her love of nature and art. Since 1996 she has translated her passion into creations of flowers, herbs, fruits, vegetables and foliage in a way that the masters could only paint.

Her portfolio runs the gamut from elegant natural simplicity to the abundant and bountiful; she consistently delivers the unexpected. Françoise’s first priority is to realize the ideas and needs of her clients and bring to the process her attention to detail and unique creativity.

Recently her work has emerged into two distinctive styles: URBAN WOODLANDS — contemporary stylings of mosses, lichens, bark and forest floor gatherings and FLORAL FORWARD — exquisite botanical haute couture creations of purses, headpieces and shoes. She shares her knowledge of floral design and mechanics with professionals and students from around the world in an intimate studio class and workshop setting. Françoise has been the subject of numerous magazine articles throughout the United States and Europe.

The following is an excerpt from an interview between Yvonne Ashton of Mayesh and Françoise Weeks.

When did you realize this was the career for you?

I grew up in Belgium where flowers are part of every day life. I knew that I wanted to work with flowers when I was in my mid twenties . I interned with a florist in Antwerp for a few months. It wasn’t til 20 years later that I started my business in Portland, OR.
When/how/why did you start your company?

For a long time I had dreamed of working in the flower industry, but starting a business was a daunting proposition. I had worked in a medical lab for 20 years; when there was word that the lab might close, I took a leap of faith and in 1996 started the business in our basement. 5 years later we had a studio built in the backyard. Til recently the focus of my business has been weddings and events. Now I divide my time between doing weddings and teaching workshops in the studio as well as out-of-state
How would you describe your design style?

Detailed and textural; I always prefer using smaller flowers mixed with herbs, edibles, seedpods, succulents, feathers etc… I have a great curiosity about design and like to constantly explore new ideas.The last few years my work has emerged into two distinctive styles: Urban Woodlands – contemporary stylings of mosses, lichens, bark and forest floor gatherings and Floral Forward – exquisite botanical haute couture creations of shoes, purses and headpieces.

What or who inspires you?

Nature and art.

What floral tool can you not live without?

My bonsai scissors.

If you had to pick just one (I know it is nearly impossible) what would be your favorite flower and why?

It isn’t a fair question….as there are so many. But I would tend to say Iceland poppies, because of their delicate, silky petals and their curved stems make it look as if they dance in a vase.
Tell us a short floral story. Have you ever had a strange floral request? Created something wonderful out of a sticky situation? Have you ever felt like MacGyver and used your mad floral skills in a non-floral situation?

I have literally used hundreds of yoghurt containers: covered with aspidistra leaves or other varieties of foliage; they make for super inexpensive containers. They also are perfect spacers when packing arrangements for weddings or events.

What are your favorite color combination right now?

Chartreuse with chocolate, burgundy and butter yellow.
What trends do you see emerging within our industry?

Incorporating succulents is hugely popular here in the Northwest; the woodland look also is emerging around here.
What is your best piece of advice for new comers into the floral industry?

Don’t be afraid to take risks, work hard and be open minded.

You can see more of Françoise’s work and connect with her by visiting Françoise Weeks European Floral Design.