As I write this, we are still in lockdown but I love the idea that at some point, in the not too distant future, I will be able to look back at this blog with a sigh of relief that it is over and that a new normal has been established.
For this ‘new normal’, my current self has been, well, reimagined: I am now an absolute pro at Instagram Live, proficiently creating Oscar worthy videos on social media in ten minutes flat. I saunter down the street with a newfound appreciation for freedom, feeling nothing but love towards my fellow citizens. I meet up with new industry friends introduced to me via the medium of YouTube and InstaLives. My hair is stunning, my nails perfectly manicured, and my abs… well, let’s just say, all those workouts with Joe Wicks have had the desired effect.
The Real World
Of course, that is a complete fantasy, we have a long way to go before we can safely say that this is over – if indeed we ever can. And whilst we are still in lockdown, it is, of course, the scientists, doctors, health professionals, policy makers, food suppliers and civil servants (to name but a few) who are out there working; undoubtedly feeling the pressure to both do their job and keep themselves and their nearest and dearest safe.
As florists, it won’t surprise you to learn that we aren’t considered in any way to be “key workers”, but still, like many others, we are trying to ‘do the right thing’. We have battened down the hatches and are keeping indoors. We are also feeling a bit guilty that we cannot be more useful.
Lockdown and Learning
When we were required to close the Hybrid studio in March, we needed to do something with the flowers we had left in stock and so we brought them home with no real plan for their future other than to give them away to people who we felt most deserved them. I consider myself a bit of a ‘creative introvert’ and struggle at the best of times to put myself centre stage, however after a chat with a marketing friend, Keren Lerner at Top Left Design on a Zoom call, she convinced me to bite the bullet and make a video of what we did with the flowers. So, I did (it can be found here…) and, actually, it was fun! Since then, I have encouraged others to do similar and have participated in InstaLive interviews and ‘how to’ videos.
We have seen lots of amazing initiatives within the creative industry where people have used their talent and skills to keep others entertained and enthralled; dance classes, art demos, book readings, the fabulous “One World: Together at Home” virtual concert, organised by Global Citizen. And for those of us whose creative yearning is greater than their desire to keep out of the limelight, there is unique potential here to be creative on your own terms.
I am willing to bet that those creative people who have stayed home have tried at least one new thing to keep themselves inspired and entertained and have probably shared it by the medium of the internet. We have given it a good ‘go’ and this, we think, is good for the soul. In our house we have become great fans of Channel 4’s Grayson’s Art Club with artist Grayson Perry encouraging viewers to paint whilst challenging them to do something out of their comfort zone. Perry believes that ‘art can help us get through this crisis’ and that ‘creativity is a way of dealing with what’s going on in your life’ and we wholeheartedly agree.
During lockdown many of us have gone back to activities we used to love as kids. We have got creative with the items we have had to hand and completely embraced the idea that nothing needs to be polished and infinitely orchestrated so long as you have made a bit of an effort! But I have to admit that one of the best things about the programme is that we get a glimpse inside Grayson’s art studio…
Having a Peek!
Come to think of it we would never have had this candid peek in to these homes of people on TV before lockdown?! I’m pretty sure we are all fascinated by the live interviews on our screens that give us an insight into people’s real-life homes!
Sometimes I have to ask myself: am I watching this for what the person has to say, or because I can have a nose at what’s on the person’s bookshelf? A layer of mystery has been removed and we can see people in a new way. And for that matter we are even seeing our friends, clients and work colleagues in a new way whenever we have a Skype or Zoom call with them.
When the country first went into lockdown, Hybrid set up a WhatsApp group for our team and other floral friends and called it “Let Hope Bloom” (which has been the #slogan for the flower industry throughout the pandemic). Every day since we have shared creative ideas and images of our surroundings with each other, sending photos of nature waking up across London and the Home Counties. We have documented the rise and fall of daffodils and tulips, witnessed the stunning varieties of blousy blossom on London streets (the best place to see blossom is on a suburban street!), bluebells, lilac and clematis. We are now onto poppies, peonies and roses and each day, we admire these and share them with each other. I don’t think that we appreciated British flowers in quite the same way as we do now.
And yes in ‘old normal’ times we would spend every day with each other, completely accepting of each other’s skills and talents as florists but somehow through or our WhatsApp group we have become even more creative and got to know each other even better. We have been making things to please ourselves and sharing these (and our other talents and skills) with pictures from our own homes. And we have become so much closer as a result.
Working from home, with my children off school isn’t always easy! But immersing myself in my children’s world has provided much needed escapism! We have painted images of flowers, made floral headdresses, decorated hula hoops, filled jam jars with wildflowers, painted Easter eggs and made paper flowers (not that you require children to do any of these things!) We have rediscovered hobbies from yester-year and taught ourselves new things too.
It’s all about connecting
So, whilst we may be feeling guilty and sad that we are not in our studio right now we know we are doing the right thing. We are staying home and finding new and exciting ways to communicate with the outside world. We are sharing what we are good at whilst learning new tricks too. We are thankful that our minds are being kept occupied and we can share our creative take on floristry from the comfort of our own home.
If you have any questions you’d like to ask about arranging flowers, floristry in general or the industry, we would love to hear from you. Please also share any pictures you may have of flowers you have grown or arrangements you have created.