ISSUE 03 - POLLENHEAD
Pollenhead, founded by Agnes, is a floral designer based in Singapore. Her botanical arrangements are interpretations of Dutch Masters and English Garden, while utilising underrated flowers and plants to showcase a beauty second to none.
We’ve recently collaborated with her on an editorial for our recent release, Eternity Bracelet, for the design of a Floral Cloud to create a dream-like inner garden.
1. How did you first develop an interest in floral arrangement/design?
Eucalyptus scent, quaint neighbourhood and a curious cat. Couldn’t sound more basic than this.
I first stumbled across a quaint shop at the corner of Tiong Bahru in Singapore. The green covered shop stood out starkly amongst the white roofs and noisy eateries. I was greeted by a curious cat, a warm eucalyptus scent, and an European atmosphere. I didn’t have a clue what the store was but I knew I wouldn't mind working in an environment like this. The green covered shop, called “One Olive”, still stands strong today. I eventually continued to stay and started building my foundations there.
My passion for floral design did not happen overnight. The laborious tasks of filling vases every day, conditioning flowers and everything in between while maintaining the standards set was a huge challenge for me. I grew to love the challenge over time. After I joined NAFA, I began to understand art and design better and I learned to appreciate working with sensory mediums more. I love how I have to work against all odds — time, temperature, colours, creating movements, shapes, clustering then presenting. It’s always an evolving journey, and there’s always a new perspective to it.
2. Can you describe your personal style of floral arrangement/design?
It’s difficult to describe them in words. I like to challenge myself based on project briefs and I do adhere to the Wabi-Sabi philosophy – Nothing too overly manicured, nothing too wild.
3. What are some career highlights so far?
Gentle No More is a huge one for me! The floral cloud installation was a simple idea using easily accessible materials to replicate the texture and shape from the brief that Gentle No More had provided. It was a thought provoking and fun one.
Out of pollenhead, as a budding floral artist, being recognised and accepted into one of Singapore’s leading floral boutiques with a garden style is a huge deal. This is one of my most memorable leaps of faith.
4. In your life so far, even in your childhood, have you come across any floral arrangements that stood out the most to you? What was the story behind it?
Gregor H. Lersch. His works make you wonder if he’s a plant whisperer. They listened, shaped themselves gracefully and topped it with a little “it looks like you could have done it too, but you actually cannot”. This guy is like an earth bender on crack. His family comes from a legacy floral design company, called “Interflora”, which later became FTD in the United States.
5. Has anyone romantically brought you flowers? Which was your favourite one?
Yes. It’s called Invisible Air, haha. Unfortunately, no. Someone once asked, “Would you give a cobbler a pair of shoes?” This got me thinking, even though the love for the craft and materials itself got me into this career, and as much as you can find me judging it, I would love to receive one some day.
6. What are your must-have tools as a florist?
Floral wires - No. 26 and No. 28 (MUST HAVE)
Intense garden/pruning shears — cut anything and everything
Twine and a new industry favourite, chicken wire
7. What are some affordable flowers that appear expensive or fancy?
In Singapore, every flower is expensive.
Cheaper flowers that could potentially look fancy:
White, cream Gerberras with no dark centres; or Mathiolas.
8. What kinds of flowers or plants do you feel are underutilised? Why?
Tropical flowers and plants aside, commonly underutilised Gerberras and Chrysanthemums are making a comeback now. There is a huge variety of Chrysanthemums, I understand the cultural archetype it gets with weddings and funerals but when chosen correctly and utilised well, it’s a kick ass supporting flower.
9. Have you gotten a chance to explore sculptural or artistic arrangements? What are their stories?
Unfortunately not, and it’s something I wish to embark on with pollenhead.
10. What flower is the closest to your heart at this very moment?
Red Spider Lilies. I love the cultural association behind it - “They are associated with final goodbyes, and legend has it that these flowers grow wherever people part ways for good” and “In old Buddhist writings, the red spider lily is said to guide the dead through samsara, the cycle of rebirth”.
I find comfort in the idea of rebirth or starting afresh.
11. What are you trying to do differently in 2021 – lifestyle-wise, style-wise or otherwise?
I want to experiment more and to push my creative boundaries further on what floral design could be. It should and could be more than just a table piece.
12. Do you have any words of advice for aspiring florists?
Do something out of your comfort zone everyday. It could be swapping out the Baby’s Breath for Continus, or having faith that the Ranunculus would dry well. They don't have to be a huge task.
13. What projects do you have that we should look forward to?
I have a lot planned!! So if you’re a fan of sensory mediums like flowers and plants, give pollenhead a follow :)
14. Finally, how did you feel about the Floral Cloud photoshoot with Gentle No More?
Like my answer above, I am grateful for the opportunity to have the platform. While tackling plenty of challenges knowing that the substitute material (Baby’s Breath) could never replace the texture of the desired material (Continus), I had to recreate the depth using colours, angle the Baby’s Breath to recreate space and shape, and of course the budget. This placed me out of my comfort zone and further on to think quick on my feet to resolve the other challenges, especially with the team from Gentle No More looking 👀
For more on Pollenhead, check out her Instagram at @pollenheadd.