If you visit the studio of floral designer Françoise Weeks, you’ll encounter everything from traditional wedding arrangements to unique fashion pieces such as rings, necklaces, headpieces and handbags — all made from a wide variety of plants and flowers.
“I grew up in Belgium and flowers are so much part of the culture over there,” says Weeks. “We always, always had flowers at home. And my mom … loved flowers. So from the time I was a very little girl I used to love to help her arrange flowers.”
Weeks first started her business in Portland in 1996 with a focus on creating traditional flower arrangements for weddings, but her work has evolved quite a bit since then. About seven years ago, she began designing a piece she calls a “woodland arrangement,” which involves relatively few flowers (and sometimes no flowers at all) and lots of mosses, barks, succulents, fruits or vegetables.
“I like to go to the produce store and get some cool little fruits or vegetables or herbs. Or I use a lot of parsley. I use a lot of kale. They are available year round and they are fabulous texture,” explains Weeks.
She then started creating a type of arrangement called “botanical couture.”
“I just think of it as … flower arrangements that are related to fashion. So you have the handbags and the shoes, and the jewelry and the headpieces,” explains Weeks. She says that there are a lot of flower fashion shows in Europe, but she has not seen one in the U.S.
Watch the video to learn how Weeks makes a botanical ring:
Weeks’ headpiece has become a popular item with her wedding clientele. She started making them three years ago when a local photographer, Ted Mishima, asked her to collaborate with him.
“We never imagined that it would become popular. And then last year, it seems like I saw them everywhere on Facebook and on blogs,” says Weeks.
In addition to creating her own floral designs, Weeks enjoys sharing her passion for flower arrangements through her workshops. She teaches classes in her studio in Portland, as well as in other states and countries.
“I explain the mechanics on how to make the arrangements… And then they [students] basically interpret what they just learned and make their own. It’s always really amazing to see how extremely different all the arrangements are from the different students.”
To learn more about Françoise Weeks, tune in to Oregon Art Beat on Thursday, April 17 at 8 p.m. or Sunday, April 20 at 6 p.m.
This article features content from Françoise Weeks’ interview with Oregon Art Beat.