When you think of the word flower you are probably imagining a bunch of Fresh Flowers like roses or tulips right? What about when I say the words dried flowers. What comes to mind? Do you see the multiple colours of dried ixodias, tea trees and banksias? Maybe you conjure up the whimsical pampas grass & oversized leaves or spear palms and fronds that have been coloured in multi colours. No matter what comes to mind the fact remains that Dried flowers are back in Vogue in 2019.
Let's start with a quick recap. Dried flowers were the "Must Have" item in your home 30 years ago in the late eighties and nineties. Dried was a booming business & Australia was leading the way in dried flower design at the time. My mum, Ulla Filholm was a world-renowned dried flower designer & she often did demonstrations and was also flown overseas to do a workshop in Japan. It was a big big deal. Now I worked more with my dad in the fresh flower business so I was always a little "fresh" leaning & biased. I did find the works that could be created in drieds were just phenomenal & breathtaking. A real quandary for me as even though the flower had essential passed away, it was still able to be pretty and bring happiness to the viewer.
It's been 30 years since dried flowers were in fashion. The art of drieds was kept alive by hardcore lovers of dried but now they're back on the main stage, in Vogue & people can't get enough of them. But why? What has caused this resurgence in demand and fashion trend?
Instagram & Pinterest have been publishing more and more photos of dried flowers over the past 6 months. Most designs and installations were in commercial settings for shop fronts or product launches where they needed a whimsical feel to their work, something dried flowers are very good at. We saw a plethora of arrangements and installations of large scale dried leaves and flowers sometimes intertwined with fresh to make the display look massive, classical & whimsy and also to give it longevity. From this, the fashion resurgence spilled over into handmade bouquets and gifts that were easier to handle for market sellers and creative folks who liked the idea of arranging but maybe weren't doing it as a main business, yet.
It was no longer just the fringe using dried flowers, main floral designers also started using them in their creations largely because it gave them different textures in their work. The dryness & rigidity of the flowers, once they've been dried out, is a stark contrast to their former fresh selves.
The Dried Flower Industry is underpinned by the Native flower growers who are largely based along the southern and western states of Australia. These large scale inter-generational businesses are a tribute to people who never gave up and continued to work in their passion.
The process of drying flowers is very labour intensive & also time-consuming as each flower has to be actively fully dried out. If not fully dried the flower will retain some moisture and this can then lead to moulding which you may see from time to time on some heads and stems. Each bunch has to be hung up and air-dried. Now there are drying machines. Some use heat – such as the one that you dry roses in & some use cold a.k.a a "freeze drier" which freezes out the moisture content of the flower cells thus preserving them, like peonies. A challenge faced by the dried flower manufacturers is that there is no super large scale versions of the machines needed to enable them to do thousands of units at a time. This then lends itself more to the bespoke handcrafted fashion trends that we are enjoying now in this high tech digital age. It's almost like flowers joined the "go slow" movement to bring more balance and peace.
So, no matter what flowers you like. The important thing is that you have some form of floral in your personal space. Flowers are known to increase the feeling of joy and happiness and are a great tool to help stave off loneliness. If you are a busy millennial that forgets where you put your keys most mornings then you will love dried flowers because they are super low maintenance that you can get away with just vacuuming near them every 3 weeks to get rid of the dust.