02 | In the Process with Helen Hung

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Photo Credit: Clarzzique
For the second installment of the "In The Process" series focused around creatives, we have Sydney, Australia based floral designer, Helen Hung. From weddings to events to workshops, Helen truly captures the beauty that is flowers in the most creative way. Hope you enjoy the following interview that captures the everyday process of creativity, as well as the need to create.

Habit & Heart: How did you get where you are today?

Helen Hung: I've always had an interest in making things and the creative arts since I was a young kid-- I'd watch Art Attack on TV twice daily and make all the things Neil did on the show! After high school, I ended up studying a double Bachelors degree in Commerce and Arts at the University of New South Wales, majoring in accounting, finance and french-- which have nothing to do with where I've ended up but have been great skills to have. After uni, I worked as a software product manager, and a few years ago, I started making terrariums, gardening and teaching myself how to arrange flowers. I shared a lot of this on my blog and on social media... and then a couple of friends asked me to do their wedding flowers and it's kicked off from there!

 H&H: Many people would not think that floral arranging would be considered an art form. Yet, it is one of the most creative mediums to work in! How would you describe your creative process? What roadblocks do you come across along the way, and how do you face them?

HH: I like to start with a theme, an inspiration piece, or a colour palette at the very least. I find my creativity comes alive most when I'm working with a set of constraints, which is why I like to have an anchor to base a design or arrangement around. Once I've got that anchor, I make some brief notes (normally just on a post-it!) of the shape and impact I'd like to achieve, and brainstorm a selection of flowers I'd consider using. Ultimately, it comes down to the moment at the markets when I'm on a buzz, alive in all my senses. I love to work with seasonal and locally grown flowers, so often it really depends on what is there that week, and I'm often happily surprised by something amazing I've spotted that day that would be perfect with what I'm working on! 

A roadblock for me would be when something i really wanted is not available-- it could be a particular flower or colour for example. In that case, I have to pivot and figure out an alternative on the spot. It can be quite stressful when that happens, but you just gotta make it work!

H&H: Why do you think it is important to create? How do you think the "ordinary person" without an art degree or a creative profession can practice this urge to create?

HH: I'm a HUGE believer that EVERYONE has the ability to create. Everyone is "creative" in their own way, and it's one of those things where the more you make time for it, the more confident you feel in your own capabilities. You certainly don't need a traditional accreditation in order to get started!  

H&H: I would think that doing the floral arrangements for weddings and events could be stressful due to the pressure for perfection. Do you struggle with this? What lessons have you learned through the years of creating?

HH: They can be stressful for sure, particularly when you're just getting started! Then again, I still get a bit nervous every time I'm about to deliver bouquets to the bridal party. There's always that 1% of 'omg what if they don't like it?!!' - fear that makes your nervous. These days, I'm a realistic perfectionist (I may have just made that up myself)-- I set a high bar for myself always, but I also know that there's no such thing as 'perfect'. I make sure I put my 110% into every creation of mine. Communication with the client is key to ensuring that I've done my homework in understanding as much as possible what they want-- descriptively and visually. It's never enough to just ask someone to describe what they want. Their version of "soft pink" may not be what you're thinking!

H&H: Does your city and location effect your work? If so, how?

HH: Yes, because my suppliers are local to me, here in Sydney. If I were to move cities, I'd need to find new suppliers and flower markets in order to succeed.

H&H: What do you hope to portray to your audience and clients through your work? 

HH: The magical nature of flowers. They're absolutely amazing. Sometimes I still can't believe that they just exist, thanks to Mother Nature. Having the opportunity to create living art with them is my way to spread my joy [for flowers] across the world!

H&H: What advice would you give to fellow artists with the same desire to create?

HH: Just start-- go do what you're dreaming about, talking about, scared about. The hardest thing is always just getting started and taking action. Don't be afraid to make mistakes along the way, that's truly how you learn and grow as you create.

H&H: I love seeing the various creations you make at your workshops. What is your favorite aspect of teaching others to create a floral arrangement?

HH: I love witnessing *that* moment when students hit that "aha, I get it!" moment, particularly after initial periods of being a bit uncertain or less confident. Once they've grasped it, they just get going, and you feel amazing because they're getting it and you helped them get there! It's also so much fun being able to see how everyone's final creation is always different from each other's. Like I said, EVERYONE is creative in their own way, and it really shows!

And, that's a wrap! Thank you so much, Helen, for sharing your creative insight into your business. I love that while you still work with 'constraints', your floral creations remain unique to you and your brand. You can follow Helen on Instagram @limetreebower and on her website, limetreebower.com. Or, if you are a Sydney local and in need of some blooms for an event, email her at hello@limetreebower.com or get involved in a workshop.

As the floral designer emphasized in this interview, everyone is creative in their own way. It may not be in traditional artistic mediums, or in florals like Helen's creative expertise, but can come in any form. Ask yourself, what am I passionate about?, what am I good at?, and how can I share this with the world?. That answer is the key to creation, yet the execution is the key to a full life.

Who do you want to see featured on the "In the Process" series? Connect with me via email (catemarg@gmail.com), on Instagram (@cate.marg), or in the comments below. 

1 comment:

  1. Lovely interview! Those floral arrangements are beautiful!


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