Interview with the florist Ira Evora
May is a month of blooming at our BURSA mini-zine. Ira Evora creates beautiful flower arrangements for many cool places in Kyiv, and for our hotel as well. She told us about trends in floristry, inspiration and what is a kenzan.
Ira, how did you start floristry?
It was a very long time ago, I was working in a bank and I was fond of film photography. Once I was looking through wedding shots of American bloggers, and the links gradually moved me from wedding photography to wedding bouquets. Right at that time my sister was getting married and asked to make a wedding bouquet for her and help with the design. I’ve ordered a couple of books at Amazon, there are Californian florists Studio Choo, and I was studying how they make bouquets. There were names of flowers, which are primordial, secondary flowers, herbs, how to use them. So I’ve made two more weddings to sister's friends. Then my friend photographer Lida Kucher asked me to help her with a lookbook for Cathy Telle, to complete wedding dresses from the new collection with flowers. It was my mini portfolio, and I uploaded it to Instagram. People began to order weddings, but it was very hard, a trial by fire, it can be said. Weddings is a very nervous job, and I’ve realized that I want to do flowers arrangement only.
Once during the lunch break I went to the flower shop on Podil with garden roses. I’ve met there Lena, she had just finished the courses and returned from Paris and she was going to open her own flower shop. We began to meet in the evenings, I taught her to make asymmetric bouquets, and she taught me to look after the flowers. We started working together under the name 29 flowers. After some time, I realized that I needed to go further, and I began to do a flower arrangement on my own.
What are you inspired by when you make a composition?
Since we have a very difficult situation with pre-orders for flowers, something is not delivered or delivered rotten, usually I come, look what’s cool, and choose it. But in general, I perceive flowers as a texture. Recently I've watched the documentary about Yohji Yamamoto, where he talks about how the texture of the fabric inspires him to make a dress pattern, and I’ve realized that I have the same with flowers.
How would you describe your style?
I like minimalism, when there are no more than four or five ingredients in an arrangement; I used to use fifteen before. In garden style, basically, there are a lot of ingredients. And in the minimalist trend emphasis is placed on combinations of color, texture and form, and the maximum is four to five components. Also I like the botanical direction when rare plant leaves are used, but they should be specially ordered.
As I see, there are many styles in floristics. What is trending now?
I can not say that there are certain styles, but there are trends, techniques. Basically it's a garden style, as if they are just from the garden. There are leading countries that are developing at the expense of the product they grow. They have such style because there are such flowers growing there. There is a garden style in Europe since the era of the Enlightenment and the Dutch still life, and in America has more southern style, because Californian florists grow absolutely cool flowers all year round. In Australia, a mountain style is predominant; it's dry flowers, grass, because it's very hot there. There is a Moscow school, it's more geometric.
What do we have in Ukraine?
We have a lot of things, there is a very strong seasonality, so at spring bulb flowers, peonies are used. I order flowers from Holland, but they also have some seasonality.
Do you remember the best arrangement you've made?
I remember absolutely all my arrangements. Actually, there is one favorite ikebana, it was two colored, mustard and delicate lilac. It was at the opening of the second 29 flowers store, I did a kind of performance, collected a composition on kenzan and explained how to do it.
What is kenzan?
Kenzan is a metal nail base, which is placed on the bottom of the vase and holds flowers. The benefit is that the nails are stabbed into the stalk itself and give water the opportunity to get to flowers, they live twice as long, it’s a very popular technique now.
What are your plans for the future?
I want to open a garage studio in the center of the city, to open a rollout and there is a wooden box, there are cut flowers in buckets, so I’d just gather an arrangement in front of the customer, or he can take an armful. I do not like when the flowers are hidden behind the glass, so there would be the air conditioner only to cool down the space with flowers. There is a brand of Saipua in New York, they have made this format the first.
Why do you like to be a florist?
I like to be a florist, because you do a thing that brings joy not to yourself in the first place, but to others. Because it is a constant self-development, and there is no limit to perfection. This is a vocation I receive pleasure from, as much as suffering. But the fact that I am an esthete, overcomes all "cons". I think, if I lived in a country where the economy is a little more developed, this factor would go away immediately.