Wild, sculptural and colourful blooms are what Sophie Wolanski is best known for. Founder of the beautiful Muck Floral, Sophie's unmistakeable floral arrangements are artistic reflections of herself: warm, intuitive, romantic, expressive and vibrant.
We are delighted to share Sophie with you on auór journal this month, talking flowers, her new role as a mum, on managing a small business in 2020, and what's informed and propelled her floral practice.
Where did you grow up and where is home for you now?
I grew up in Sydney, and home for now in in Marrickville.
Pick three words to describe your personality?
Caring, inquisitive, indulgent.
Can you describe your first ever memory of flowers?
My mum always had flowers in the house as a child. We lived down the street from Grandoflora, which I remember had just opened. She would go up there and buy big bunches of different flowers and arrange them herself around the house.
What was the inspiration behind kick-starting Muck?
I had been working in New York on various events and as a freelancer. While it was incredible experience for my craft, it started to feel very repetitive. The weddings were massive and what I was doing was formulaic. After two seasons I needed to get out of the city and found myself working at an urban flower farm in LA. It was a complete 180. It was the combination of those opposite experiences that helped me hone in on what I did and didn’t like, and what I did and didn’t want to do or create. That is what kickstarted it and it has taken many forms over the years, and continues to morph and change with me.
You have a very individual way of arranging flowers. Where did you learn to put such artistic compositions together?
It’s hard to explain but it’s just what comes out of me. When I think too hard about it or try and do something that isn’t natural to me, it just doesn’t work. I studied sculpture for the same reason. It’s not something I had ever been interested in but I just felt like I had to work with my hands and create something.
What’s your go-to flower at the moment, considering the access to everything at the moment in isolation?
I never really have a go-to, it’s what I’m drawn to at the market that morning. Having only moved back to Sydney from New Zealand a year ago, I am still adjusting to the season here. New Zealand has much more defined seasons which transfers directly into the flora. It feels indulgent here when flowers stick around for so long.
How has this experience changed your approach to arranging and delivering flowers?
It hasn't changed the arranging so much as the organisation. I decided early on to consolidate my deliveries into one day, so I was having limited exposure to the flower market and putting as little risk on my family as possible. I've had a really positive response, and now Mondays are my big flower days.
What’s been the one creative project that has stuck with you?
Doing the flowers in Villa Borsani in Italy for Salone Del Moblie with Katie Lockhart and Ambra Medda. To be embedded in that world for a week was thrilling.
You’ve recently become a new mum. We’d love to know how this has informed or influenced your practice?
I wouldn't say it's influenced my practice as much as my schedule and time management. My days are segmented into nap time and awake time, so I really have to make sure I'm productive during those nap times. It's amazing how much you can actually get done when under such specific time constraints.
What do you love most about this new chapter of your life?
It's so cliche, but just family. We are only three, but it's such a magical and safe feeling to have created your own family unit.
What are you reading and watching in isolation?
I just started reading Educated, by Tara Westover and I'm captivated. And I've watched a few too many things to be proud of! Normal People was a highlight as I was such a fan of the book, and I'm deep into season three of Killing Eve.
What's the best way people can do to support Muck Floral over this time?
Obviously, the events industry has been deeply impacted and all my weddings for this year have come to a complete halt. If you're thinking of engaging Muck for your wedding flowers, starting the conversation and locking in a date for 2021/22 is really important right now. It helps with morale knowing there are events to look forward to and it's important for date management as everything from this year will need to fit into next year as well now. And just continuing to buy bunches of flowers, no matter how big or small.
What does having a small business mean to you?
It means complete creative control and collaboration with the client, and the client alone. It means talking to yourself all day, and learning to make decisions very quickly without overthinking.
What are you most looking forward to when all of this is over?
Getting away, seeing family, having some help with the baby again.