Meet the Maker: Botanical Tales
You might recognise Bex Partridge’s oh so pretty dried flower wreaths and crowns from Instagram, where her floral art, exquisite styling and beautiful photography have earned her a devoted following. Earlier this year Bex won our #wipsandblooms challenge with Katie from Ceramic Magpie. As part of her prize Bex won a Folksy Plus account and, in her words, this was the push she needed to actually start selling her designs. Her shop may be very new, but Bex’s floral commissions are already in demand with stylists and she has also started running botanical workshops to pass on her skills. Knitwear designer and fellow Folksy seller Antonia Sullivan from Sprig Knitwear caught up with Bex to find out more…
Get 15% off all wreaths by Botanical Tales with code MERRYXMAS before 17th December 2017.
Join Bex from Botanical Tales live on our Facebook page at 12.30pm on Thursday 7th December as she shows you how to make your own floral Christmas wreath!
One night as a way of de-stressing I took a bunch of flowers and started to thread a dried flower wreath. That was two and a half years ago, before I was on Instagram or had an inkling where this would lead me.
What attracted you to crafting dried flower wreaths and crowns?
I have always had a passion for flowers and gardening but really I fell in to making wreaths at a pretty random point in my life. We were in the throws of moving house, which was incredibly stressful and one night as a way of de-stressing I took a bunch of flowers that had dried and started to thread a dried flower wreath. That was two and a half years ago, before I was on Instagram or had an inkling where this would lead me.
White and yellow floral wreath by Botanical Tales – available here
How long does it take to craft each piece?
It really depends, on my frame of mind and how complex the particular piece of art ends up being. On occasion I have to give up and start again, if I’m not happy with how the piece is progressing.
What’s your favourite season for sourcing materials?
I have to say that it’s probably Autumn. Things are generally drying out, which is perfect for my wreaths and I find the richer, muted tones much more my style.
I dream of running Botanical Tales full time, of teaching people my trade through creative botanical workshops and eventually growing all my own flowers. A girl can dream right?
What process do you use to create your pieces?
I don’t have a specific process – I work organically and go with the flow. Normally I’ll have an indication of the colour combinations but that’s probably as far as it goes. I will add, take away, adjust until I am finally happy with the outcome or I start again!
Do you use specialist tools?
I have a ton of beautiful scissors, mainly for my photos! But otherwise I use very few tools. I weave most of my wreaths by hand, using mainly natural elements and try to avoid metal or glue.
After a month of working on my website, I got back to do what I love the most last night. This is the first wreath I've made with flowers dried by myself, and look at the cornflowers, they've dried so well, on the wreath are the dried ones, on the left are some fresh ones about to be dried. This one also for @ceramicmagpie and @folksyhq #wipsandblooms challenge this month!
Congratulations on winning the #wipsandblooms competition Folksy and Katie from Ceramic Magpie ran earlier this year. How did it feel to win?
Once I got over the shock, I was excited and scared in equal measure. Excited because it was the push I needed to actually start trying to sell my craft and scared because I had all the usual concerns such as will people buy it? I felt a little bit of imposter syndrome!
How has winning impacted your businesses?
While my sales are still small, it’s really forced me to take myself seriously. Before, I was just faffing around on Instagram, taking a few commissions and talking about doing things but not actually getting round to them. Now I have a shop, it’s spurred me on to sort out my website and has generally made me take myself more seriously.
Faded cream and yellow floral wreath by Botanical Tales – available here
You have a strong Instagram presence. How has Instagram helped support your business?
To be honest it’s what started my business. I didn’t start with the idea to set up a craft business, it was driven by the response I got to my images on Instagram. In that sense I owe it a lot but it’s also a huge distraction and takes up a disproportionate amount of time. That being said, I absolutely love the community and find it such a supportive space.
What direction do you see your business going?
I have so many ideas but not enough time to see them to fruition! I work full time with a young family – Botanical Tales is my side line. I dream of running this full time, of teaching people my trade through creative botanical workshops and eventually growing all my own flowers. A girl can dream right?
Dried flower wreath inspired by the fading colours of summer by Botanical Tales – available here
What excited you the most about having your own business?
To have the freedom to create and to be my own boss. I’ve worked for corporates for way too long and it’s incredibly frustrating not to be in control of your own workplan and destiny.
What other hobbies do you have?
Gardening, collecting old books and stitching.
If I could I would live in the woods, with a stream running through the house and tree growing up the centre.
What inspires your colour palette?
Nature, through and through. No manmade object can ever be as beautiful as the colours you find in nature. If I could I would live in the woods, with a stream running through the house and tree growing up the centre. I would surround myself with the sounds, scents and sights that nature gifts us and all would be well.
Blue & yellow dried flower wreath by Botanical Tales – available here
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
Wow, that’s something I hadn’t thought of before. It would probably have to be the florist Jay Archer. I love her back story, her style and her approach to floristry. Gosh, imagine being able to work with her!
No manmade object can ever be as beautiful as the colours you find in nature.
What would be your best advice to anyone considering starting their own business?
Test the water, ask for feedback but honest feedback, listen to your heart and remember that being a little bit scared is a good thing (most of the time).
You can buy Bex’s dried flower wreaths and flower crowns on Folksy. Use code MERRYXMAS for 15% off all her wreaths before 17th December 2017.
Bex will be doing a Floral Christmas Wreath Tutorial Live on Facebook at 12.30pm on Thursday 7th December. Follow us on Facebook to be notified when the tutorial starts, so you can watch it live! Follow Folksy on Facebook >
The maker asking the questions this week is Antonia Sullivan from independent knitwear label Sprig Knitwear. Antonia’s knits are inspired by family photos and childhood memories which she translates into distinctive Fair Isle patterns in vibrant colours.