Ready to meet one of the coolest floral designers on the planet? We’re lucky to have Jay Archer of Jay Archer Floral Design dropping by for a visit today!
As an award-winning wedding florist, Jay designs original and captivating floral arrangements for couples who are looking for something outside the normal wedding box. She specializes in natural, seasonal wedding floristry with an English Garden aesthetic. Her work has appeared in numerous UK wedding magazines and has won recognition and industry awards. Most recently, Jay became a Chapel Designer and started a brand new floral venture called the Jay Archer Floral Design Flower School. The new Flower School has partnered with British growers to spread awareness of seasonal blooms and the Slow Flowers Movement. Jay encourages her students and wedding clients to consider seasonal varieties of flora and fauna grown specifically in the British Isles.
BB: Welcome to the Brouhaha, Jay! We understand you’ve had some exciting new developments in your business recently. Can you tell us about those?
JA: Yes, after thinking about a school for a long time I have finally put plan to petal and launched the Jay Archer Floral Design Flower School. I have always wanted to teach and fundamentally believe teaching is just aiding people to develop their natural skill-set. So many people say to me ‘I would love to work with flowers, but I don’t have a creative bone in my body’. I really believe this isn’t the case – think of when you were a kid – drawing was one of the very first forms of communication you had. I want to give people confidence in themselves, whether they’re new to floristry or upskilling and I want to break down these competitive, ridiculous closed-off minds – only happy, open-minded hearts here! I am really looking forward to seeing what the students bring to the table too, and what I can learn from them..
JA: I was also delighted to be made one of the 5 profiled florists for New Covent Garden Markets British Flower Week. This is a big deal for me as it’s a very topical subject right now in the UK to use locally sourced, British grown TRULY seasonal flowers. I have been doing this since I started out, and it’s a dream come true to be recognized in field as a keen supporter of our small, resurging industry.
We recently moved to a new unit which means my workshop and my office are now together. I feel this is a much more productive way of working. I am more efficient and, when I leave the ‘office’ I go home to my family- not more work! Having a proper, bona fide consultation space to take clients to is beyond magical- they can see my work and I feel comfortable and relaxed there meaning ideas and creativity flow. I just love my new place and hubbie has called me several times to see where I am!! The bigger space means we can take on more work too and, although we always managed before, the new space just gives us freedom and mind space!!
BB: How would you describe the JAFD style?
JA: Abundant. Always lots of everything- whether it’s a more ‘grown up’ look or wild and free form… always ‘naturally’ styled, loose and textured. I love foliage and use it as much as flowers- young oak leaves, white leaf and weigela are my current fave foliages and we’re able to cut them all from our farm at the moment.
BB: Where do you find inspiration?
JA: All around me. I love food, reading- currently I am working my way through Roald Dahl’s box set I bought the kids and am on the BFG- and gardening. Nature inspires me- just being outside on dog walks, the workshop farm or even driving. I LOVE driving my van- it’s headspace where no one can call me/email me and I can just think. I often don’t listen to the radio or music, instead just musing. Sounds obvious, but the plants themselves inspire me too- I love choosing unusual colours or tones of flowers, and pairing them with the unexpected for example, burgundy snapdragons with black cornflower and coral peony; or maybe dark red garden roses with yellow Icelandic poppies… in my mind, anything goes!
Memories play a big part too, and I often tie things in to a client’s childhood memories or periodic nostalgia. Basically, I just love flowers and the more relative I can make them to someone the more I hope they love them too!
BB: Thanks for stopping by Jay! I’m sure the BB readers are wondering why I referred to you as ‘one of the coolest designers on the planet’. We think your bridal portrait might speak louder than words!
Jay’s wedding photography: Tarah Coonan Photography
All other photography: Ria Mishaal Photography