Chelsea In Bloom, a competition between neighborhood retailers and their floral installations, has now netted Free People and Worm London. The results are elaborate, aromatic and exquisite…
Worm London was born around a pint of Guinness. Or a few, according to Katie Smyth, one half of of the duo known as Worm. She and friend Terri Chandler, growing frustrated by their then-jobs and looking for something creative, took stock in their mutual love of books and blooms and funneled it into their current floral design studio.
This year, as part of the annual and prestigious floral display show, “Chelsea In Bloom,” we thought there no one better partner than Worm. Their thoughtful, sensitive and unedited approach to flower arranging stopped us in our tracks, immediately. CIB’s theme, ‘Under The Sea,’ highlights the dire need to conserve and protect our oceans. The subsequent wave of flora — grasses and wild thyme — spilling out from our Duke of York storefront is proof that the message was, and is, received loud and clear.
“Chelsea in Bloom” runs now through 25 May. Be sure to vote for your favourite, though we may already know who you’ll choose?
And, following is a quick and sweet interview with the lovelies from Worm:
Have you always had a love of flowers, where does it stem from?
Terri: Our first memory of flowers is picking wildflowers for the May altar for the Holy Mary, and for our primary schoolteachers, which is a huge tradition in rural Catholic Ireland.
Katie: I remember making my mother stop the car on the side of the road to pick wild poppies!
We love the name Worm — why Worm?
K: As bookWorms, we loved the concept of making a bouquet last beyond the flowers themselves. When we first started out, each bouquet came with a book published by small London houses. Then, WORM was born!
How did you two meet?
T: I was working with Katie’s boyfriend in the Bahamas. He told me she was moving to London from Dublin, and didn’t know anyone.
K: I needed friends!
T: Every Sunday, all our friends met in the pub for a Sunday Roast dinner, and from there we instantly clicked!
Where do you source your wildflowers?
K: In the summer months, we forage for flowers across the UK & Ireland.
T: We are both hoarders by nature, and share a vast collection of vases, jars and dried flowers that are left in our studio over the winter months.
What have been your biggest challenges and rewards so far?
T: The biggest challenge is wearing all the hats required to run a working business.
K: In the beginning we were too afraid to say “no,” and that has been our biggest learning — we can’t do everything.
T: Oh and thorns! As florists, your hands take all the elements.
What served as your inspiration behind the FP floral installation?
T : Having both grown up by the sea, there is something inside that draws us back. I am always visiting the English seaside.
K: Being a Pisces — a water sign — this year’s theme spoke to me directly!
T: After visiting Hastings on the East Sussex coast, we realized we loved how the elements affect the wildflowers grown on its cliffs, AND the wild thyme found there.
What has been your favourite project so far?
K: We love projects that bear a moral meaning. We recently worked for the Charity Maternity Action, creating a ball of 52,000 carnations, with that same number representing the number of women who are unfamiliarly dismissed from the work place during and post-pregnancy.
T: We love “Chelsea in Bloom!” It creates such a sense of community, seeing all the florists from the flower markets come unite in a celebration of flowers. I’m so excited to see all of this year’s displays!
K: I love the opportunities this job has given us, especially to travel and work with new people!
Do you have a favorite flower?
T: For us, flowers are so nostalgic…They always invoke a memory. For me, seeing daffodils marks the first sign of Spring, and that gets me so excited.
K: I just love grasses. You can do so much with them. They can take on so many different forms.
What about Free People’s lifestyle impacted your plans/designs?
K: We love what Free People represents — the eclectic mix of styles and tones possess a true, craft-like bohemian vibe that we definitely relate to!
Visit us if you’re in the neighborhood!