Kirstie Deane, the very talented brains behind Bristol-based florist and event stylist Ruby & The Wolf, chats about her inspiration and shares a few tips.
Please can you tell us a bit about Ruby & The Wolf?
“It’s a florist and event stylist with a dark, romantic twist. I’m based in Long Ashton (currently at my kitchen table, but a proper HQ is in the planning) and cover everything from small arrangements for intimate dinner parties to full-on wedding design services.”
How would you describe your style?
“Natural, elegant and timeless, with a touch of drama. I don’t like anything to look too formal or co-ordinated, and I’m not particularly led by trends – for me, flowers should reflect personal style and the overall feel of an event or space, rather than mirroring the latest craze.”
How did you get into floristry?
“I’ve always been interested in floral design – to me, even the most beautiful spaces can feel unfinished without plants or flowers, and they appeal to various senses (sight, smell, touch) in a way that no other element of décor can. I actually started my career in the animation industry, but I always harboured a dream of becoming a florist. In 2013 I took the plunge and trained at the wonderful Tallulah Rose Flower School in Bath, before launching Ruby & The Wolf later that year. Although it’s completely different from my previous job, I use a lot of skills from the animation world – an eye for lighting, colour and detail, and an instinct for what works together and what doesn’t. I’m very lucky: I now get to do what I love, all day, every day!”
What inspires you?
“I love design and I’m influenced by so many things: art, film, fashion, nature, and especially photography and interiors. I also gather a lot of ideas from rummaging through vintage shops and antique fairs – even the pattern on an old tea set can spark the start of something. People inspire me, too – particularly fellow florists Jo Flowers and The Blue Carrot, and interior designer Abigail Ahern, who uses lots of dark colours and opulent textures.”
What are your favourite flowers?
“That’s a tough question! My taste changes with the seasons, but I’m always drawn to big, blousy blooms – peonies and ranunculus in spring, dahlias and roses in summer and autumn. I also use lots of leafy foliage as it adds a wild, dream-like feel, and I often include seasonal berries in my arrangements. I have to confess that daffodils are a bit of a pet hate, though…”
And your favourite event venues in Bristol and around?
“For parties and small weddings, you can’t beat The Milk Thistle on Corn Street – it’s hidden away behind an unassuming door, but inside you’ll find a deliciously decadent cocktail bar with panelled walls, moody lighting and stuffed animals aplenty. Its sister restaurant The Ox next door is also fantastic, particularly if you like steak and champagne! Slightly further afield, I love Babington House in Somerset – I recently styled a wedding there and it’s a beautiful place, with a little old chapel for ceremonies and a glamorous mirrored dining room for receptions.”
Finally, any insider tips on using flowers in the home?
“Don’t feel you need to fill your home with lavish arrangements – a couple of blooms in a glass bottle or teacup can look stunning, either dotted here and there or grouped together to form a centrepiece. Don’t worry about making arrangements look perfect, either (natural is always best!). A few twigs from the garden or picked up on a walk in the woods look amazing displayed in a vintage apothecary jar – check out Dig Haushizzle for lovely old bottles. Even simple bunches of evergreens or herbs from the garden can look wonderful in their own right, so just experiment. And always trim the ends off your flowers before placing them in water – it means they’ll take up more water and last much longer. House plants are making a big comeback, too. Cacti and succulents are super-easy to look after and really enliven a space.”
For more information on Ruby & The Wolf, visit www.rubyandthewolf.com.
Photography by Kirstie Deane