Has a simple idea ever led you to discover your true passion?
Floral designer Franςoise Weeks has experienced such inspiration. Today her love of creating botanical art from natural materials is leading her down a new and adventurous path: designing botanical shoes and purses.
From child’s play to floral design passion
Born in Belgium, Franςoise and her family took vacations in Switzerland each year. She has fond childhood memories of making small woodland designs during those relaxed summer days.
She and her siblings would gather and play with bark, moss and other natural materials from the surrounding woodlands. They enjoyed creating palm-sized works of floral art they could give as gifts to their mother.
As an adult working in other industries, Franςoise continued to play with flowers. An avid gardener for over 30 years, she delights in arranging natural materials.
A work in progress
If you have only recently learned of Franςoise Weeks and her work from online postings, it may seem as though she’s an overnight success. In reality, she has been passionate about flowers for a lifetime and has refined her craft through the years.
In 1996, she started a part-time floral business while she continued her job in another industry. She began working full time in her small flower shop in January 1999.
Social media success
Francoise credits social media for the popularity of her work. The opportunity to share her photos online created a following of floral peers. This international exposure opened doors for Franςoise to teach her design techniques to students who previously hadn’t heard of her.
Now in her sixties, Franςoise is being invited to travel the U.S. and internationally to teach her classes. She is in China this week teaching a hands-on class featuring botanical hats. The path her life has taken continues to amaze her.
Why botanical shoes?
“The virtual shoes in Michel Tcherevkoff’s book ‘Shoe Fleurs’ drove me to buy my first high heel shoes from the local Goodwill store,” said Franςoise. “I was 59 at the time. I wanted to figure out how to design botanical shoes.”
“As none of the surfaces of shoes are flat, it is important to choose foliage wisely to cover the surfaces. After all the surfaces are covered, small flowers and textures are glued on the rim of the shoe with OASIS Floral Adhesive.”
Floral purse inspiration
When I asked Franςoise about her inspiration for her delicate floral purses, she replied, “The picture of a beautiful table setting, which featured a sweet little flower purse as a hostess gift on each charger, peeked my curiosity.”
“Once I had figured out the mechanics, I experimented with many different shapes and sizes and materials to decorate them. The options are endless!”
“The body of the purse consists of a Styrofoam disc to which a small piece of OASIS Floral Foam is secured, which makes them very light,” Franςoise explained.
OASIS Floral Adhesive is used to secure the floral materials to the Styrofoam. Flower stems are inserted into the wet floral foam. Additional buds and blooms can be added to the design with dabs of glue. OASIS decorative wire in its many forms can be used as a handle or decoration for the purse.
“These small botanical purses are a fabulous alternative to basket arrangements for flower girls. They make perfect centerpieces for bistro tables.” They’re also an excellent choice for mothers of the bride or groom to carry during a wedding and a fun flower accessory for prom.
Follow your passion
Franςoise is a perfect example of achieving success by exploring one’s passion and living proof that new beginnings can happen in any stage of life.
We all encounter inspirational ideas that we might explore. What captures your interest? What are you passionate about? The opportunities are endless …