Our editor catches up with floral sensation Hattie Molloy on the art of flowers and temporality.
Florist Hattie Molloy in her Melbourne studio. Courtesy: Hattie Molloy.
Where did your interest in floristry come from?
My interest in floristry is long lasting, in fact I cannot remember a time where I was without it. As a young child I dreamt of being a florist, I would make posies in the garden, stolen assemblages, gifts for friends and family. It seems some dreams really do come true!
Your self-titled floristry brand has come a long way. How have you set yourself apart in the industry?
Determination! It is hard to pinpoint an exact moment of inspiration and perhaps that is because there isn’t one, my practice is the culmination of my experience with trial and error. It would be untrue to say every moment has been a success, but I most definitely learnt a lot along the way, and have had so many helping hands to thank for the development of my style. When I travel abroad I always find myself engaging with local floristry courses, my practice is an amalgamation of that breadth of knowledge too.
Your arrangements really are works of art. Yet your medium of choice, flowers, is not a traditional art medium. Do you think there is a difference in what you do, to say a sculptor or an installation artist?
I see a lot of similarities between what I do and that of installation and sculpture for sure. Like performance, my floral installations are temporal, they are at the whims of decay and reconstitution, and this is their beauty. I find a lot of dynamism in the way my chosen medium interacts with the environment.
Where do you find inspiration for your projects?
I find a lot of inspiration in the world around me, the gardens of Naarm’s (Melbourne’s) inner north, second hand bookstores and recently, vegetable markets, where I find myself infatuated by the forms and lines of obscure produce.
Your floral installations/arrangements are things of beauty, yet they are also whimsical and almost surreal. What do you hope to achieve through your art form?
Joy! Both for myself and my viewers, flowers have brought me so much happiness, and I hope they can do the same for those experiencing my installations. I am glad you mentioned the word surreal because I think my practice strives to use common ingredients to create otherworldly installations.
Can you tell us about some recent collaborations or projects you have been particularly proud of?
One recent collaboration I am particularly proud of is a project between myself and Nicole Lawrence of Nicole Lawrence Studio, an industrial design and fabrication studio based in Naarm (Melbourne). Together we created modern and playful iterations of classic Greek vases. The forms are playful, colourful and contemporary. It was such a pleasure working with Nicole, she is an incredible talent and the vases are really such a beautiful example of the culmination of our practices.
As a business owner, how have you navigated the challenges of running a solo business?
At times the challenges are very potent, indeed! But I try to be pragmatic, and am very lucky to have an exceptional support base who believes in my practice and eggs me on to keep at it. Kindness is key, most importantly towards yourself.
Do you think social media is a useful tool in marketing your business?
In this world? The answer is yes, whether we like it or not social media is a powerful tool for business. I am also very lucky to have such an attentive and engaged follower base.
Do you have an art collection at home? If so, any names you would like to mention?
I must say, my collection of artworks, objects and artefacts is primarily vessel based (surprise, surprise). I have a lot of beautiful vases, mostly second hand Italian murano. I must admit I am quite obsessed with Gaetano Pesce’s resin vases, they are creatures of their own. Another recent addition is Isamu Noguchi’s stunning concertina standing lamp.
What are your top three flowers, fruits and/or vegetables you like to work with?
This is a hard question! How do you choose a favourite child, and should you?! At the moment I am obsessed with fruit and vegetables, recent obsessions include pumpkins, wild grasses and young banana fronds.