Her next sensuous exhibition FLORAL BATH invites flower lovers to enter a soft world of floral installations, oil paintings, and scent compositions using Greenflor's colorful dried flower collection. Poppykalas, a Danish floral designer with a background in theater and contemporary dance, openly speaks about the influence of nature and her family in her work, her floral signature style series, and how she found a way to combine her family- and floral life. An exclusive open-hearted interview in which the story of her family and the plans for her country home in Møn makes you really get to know the person behind that colorful and inspiring Instagram feed. Poppykalas about spending time in nature, breathe deeply, and how to go with whatever comes up in you.
An interview with Thilde, Founder and Creative Director of Poppykalas
We understand that Poppykalas means Poppy Party. Your work does look like a feast of flowers! But what type of person are yóu at a party? Wallflower or crowd-pleaser or somewhere in between?
"It depends on the crowd. With my closest friends and family you will find me dancing on the table feeling totally safe. When I’m around new people I’m more humble as a wallflower."
Can you tell us more about the “Flowers for your lungs” series? Why do you initiate such series and their themes?
"Flower for Your Lungs” is the title of Poppykalas’ latest Art Print collection. Six prints of photographs with flowers situated in different elements like water, grass, sky, marble, stone and sand serve as a reminder to breathe deeply into your lungs. In true Poppykalas signature style, the sensory collection invites us to slow down, enjoy the moment and be present. The collection is called “Flowers for Your Lungs” because flowers and nature have a calming effect on our nervous system, similar to when you breathe deeply. The colors of the elements like the green grass make up a striking contrast to the pastel colors often found in Poppykalas’ pieces. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Your breath provides oxygen to your brain, heart, and inner organs. When I’m stressed, I try to remind myself to breathe. It may seem obvious, but the effect is profound, and with the collection, I want to share that feeling. If we could all remember to breathe deeply and spend more time in nature, I think the world would be a different place. All prints are sustainably produced."
You only recently entered the ‘flower-world’ with your own studio. Having both traditional and modern floristry insights; what could be an opportunity for the floral industry (or florists in general) from your perspective?
"My grandmother and aunt made floral bouquets with a self thought technique, they also thought me. My grandmother was arranging flowers everywhere on her farm, even directly on the ground. It was like Pippi Longstockings House with no rules AND everything was possible with flowers. My grandmother was also painting oil paintings with this special 3D technique I also began to practise during COVID-19, where I also bought an old farm: Poppykalas Country House. So Poppykalas really moved closer to nature. So my perspective is you should do with flowers whatever you feel like doing, go with whatever comes up in you, even though you did not learn it in floral school. But then again I am not to decide what other people do, I can only tell what is working for me and what makes me happy and that is to play with flowers and other mediums like for example oil paintings, music, drapes, coloured sand, creating rugs, composing scents and much more like I’m working on now (red: 2020) for my upcoming exhibition: FLORAL BATH - June 18 - August 9 2020 in my Floral Design Studio."
People describe you as “One to watch”. Is it safe to say that being driven by a passion that connects with a current trend - made that you grew so fast in a short time?
"What I have learned and finally understood is not to listen to, what other people think about you, but just go with your own feelings and urge to express yourself. Create a free space working with your hands, touching flowers as much as possible. When this is said, yes it was good timing for me to choose the floral path just when people were ready to see flowers being staged in a new way."
What influence has social media on your business? And what represents quality time “offline” for you?
"Social media made Poppykalas international and brands like Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Hästens found me through this medium. Most of my weekends are offline at Poppykalas Country House at Møn, this really makes my body and mind relax and recharge. It has a huge benefit on my wellbeing just being present not experiencing through my phone, this truly makes me happy. Also being with family and friends. A long floral bath and an outdoor shower or a dip in the ocean also really sparks my joy, I’m on love with the water element. I’m also a Cancer, so I can stay for a long time in the sea or in the sand with my daughters. I also really enjoy reading and listening to music preferred played by a record player."
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You run a flower studio yet you don’t have a flower shop. Is this a conscious choice and how do you see your business evolve in the future?
"In the beginning I had floral accounts and sold bespoke Poppykalas Bouquets from my webshop, but I ended up finding myself stressed and physical exhausted from the hards work of running this. Big shout out to all of you, who do this! With two small kids and almost no sleep I felt I had to rethink my business and make room for the playfull and creative part I fell in love with. Which also was the reason why I left theatre and contemporary dance. So I actually closed the webshop and cancelled all my flower accounts, because I wanted to do more floral styling at that point and luckily after that, I was booked for two big photoshoots. Also I did not feel like consuming so many flowers for sustainable reasons. Since then I have designed award winning, sustainable rugs for the swedish company Layered, who would have thought this? I loved the creative process and I am dreamning about doing another design collaboration in the future. We have done art exhibition in Thy with my Grandmothers painting with the exhibition Blomsterøjne and made an installation with the performance duo Philip I Schneider at Chart Art Affair 2019 ‘Soil Water Sun’. Now we have FLORAL BATH coming up and an upcoming installation at Gl. Holtegaard Museum in Danmark also with Philip I Schneider. So the more artistic path is slowly growing on me, also with the oil paintings. Also the Poppykalas Country House creates new opportunities for floral sculptural fields, orangeri and a large Atelier. I would say everything is possible, I only just feel like this is just the beginning and the best part is, I have never been happier with Poppy and I really enjoy it where it is now - the stress is very low and my body is happy."
Photos of The Secret Garden Collection; a collaboration between Layered and Floral Design Studio Poppykalas
Were extravagance and color always a part of your life or has starting Poppykalas amplified this for you?
"It has always been a part of my life since I was a girl wearing colorful clothes, because it made me happy and it still does."
Thursd. stands for transparency in the world of flowers. Can you tell us where you buy your flowers?
" Multiflora mostly."
The sustainability movement has an impact on the floral industry. Dried flowers are your go-to. Are these two linked to each other?
"Yes! I love that they last longer. Also that you can create larger sculptures with them. I get a lot of commissioned work with bespoke, larger installations with dried flowers for for example The State Museum of National Art, Michelin Restaurants, Flagship Stores and even also smaller boutiques and private homes. I also work a lot with fresh flowers, I just think the dried flowers have become Poppykalas’ trademark. I remember when I found some old, dried flowers at Multiflora, they were like, what do you want with these, they are so ugly, haha. I found this old catalogue from their supplier in Italy from the 80’es and tried to order some different sorts of dried flowers. Now almost half of the flower market is dried flowers."
If you’d have to create a party with only dried flowers, real flowers OR silk flowers. Which one would be your fave? Or would it be a mixed guest list and you’d invite them all?
"I would invite them all, they all deserve to be there."
Which empowered international florist that shares your extravagant style would you invite for a cup of tea?
"I have been so lucky to meet up with Brittany Asch of @brrch_floral from New York. Via Instagram I could see she was in Copenhagen and I invited her to the Flower Market. We had a beautiful morning and after we went for a coffee and I showed her my favorite vintage shop. I love the kindness and sister solidarity especially between the female florists, this is very STRONG."
You and your daughters make a great band :) Can you share with us a typical situation with flowers and your daughters which describes how you cope with combining business and family?
"The first thing they do, when they come to my studio is to create a bouquet with dried flowers. This is so natural to them and it melts my heart. If I have floral leftovers from a photoshoot I bring them home and they also create bouquets or perfumes. They love playing with flowers. Sometimes they also have enough and are teasing me, telling me I’m always talking about flowers ;-) My heart skips a beat when I see them running in the fields at our countryhouse just like I did when I was a little girl at my grandmothers farm in Thy, where it all started. My youngest daughter Iris makes these flowers where the head falls of. when you smell it, it is just like a clown flower."