This shoot was a long time in the making for me. I originally wanted to get involved with Forbesfield when shooting a project early last year. After a few emails and brief conversations work got in the way and everything was put on the back burner. All was to change after meeting Vicky from Cocoa Therapy, the chocolatier I blogged about last time! I met Beth from Forbesfield when I originally met Vicky. It's safe to say we all got along famously and these recent shoots are testament to that.
I've always enjoyed the hands on approach to floristry. I love how those working with plants can man-handle these seemingly delicate things without damaging them. Where as Muggins here will try to replant succulents (the sturdier specimens of the plant world) to be left with bare stalks and a pile of green debris.
Beth invited me to join her for a styled shoot at The Exchange Hotel in Cardiff Bay (previously known as The Coal Exchange). She was creating a few pieces for the shoot along with a few other local wedding vendors. The main hall where we were to spend the next few hours was a hive of activity; make up artists, clothing designers, stylists and photography kit every where.
The theme of the shoot was luxurious and grand. Quite fitting for the venue. Oak balconies cascade above you and wood clad walls hug the periphery as chandeliers hang from a mighty ceiling. There is very little natural light inside, only the warm glow of old bulbs. Very much how it would be back in the hay day of this building, when Wales was in the height of coal production and sipping whisky with a cigar was the norm. Chuck in a few moustaches and smoking jackets and you get the idea.
Beth set to work on a table beautifully draped in Cardiff council's finest recycling bags and what unfolded was unmistakably 'Forbesfield'.
See, what I love about the way Beth works, is how effortlessly she creates pieces that fit into any given environment without being overbearing. They help the room sing without the need to scream at you and draw attention to themselves.
Beth's approach is one I highly respect and appreciate. There are no drawings and no plans or rigid guidelines to be followed. Everything is extremely organic; the produce dictates the outcome. I fear I'm not explaining this correctly, but it's fascinating to watch unfold. There's an undeniable sense of intuition to the way Beth works.
The Forbesfield aesthetic seems to work on tone rather than colour, which is really refreshing and impactful. Some floristry work seems to be almost clinical these days, with a jarring high def feel to it. Like modern music on the radio. Like its just regular and expected. Beth's style is worlds away from that. Her pieces are enchanting. They stick with you. They are timeless. Much like listening to an old band on vinyl. It holds a warmth that is born from natural talent and an unapologetic rawness. You know it straight away and the need to react to it is immediate.
Fuelled by a crude mix of coffee and laughter, Beth created her table pieces, a masquerade mask and a cascading "tattoo" for one of the models. However, the most intricate piece was the "Exposure cake", three tiers of dark chocolate ganache paired with dark and moody florals. A collaboration between Forbesfield & The Vale Cake Boutique.
Beth and her vision are proof of what can be achieved when you spend years honing your craft and then go it alone to forge your own path. Her ability and talent will no doubt continue to break boundaries over the years and set new standards within the industry.