Kasia Borowiecka might not be the only person who has dreamed of moonlighting as a florist. It’s a colourful, fragrant, sensory creative pursuit that has likely entered the minds of many, especially on grey, wintery days. But it was Kasia who made it happen in her late 30s, leaving her job in social care to experiment with Sogetsu ikebana, the Japanese school of floral art which centred around freedom of expression.
After attending workshops and discovering her love of this ‘less is more’ practice, Kasia opened her flower studio, Cosmo & Plums, where she’s been working on sculptural, innovative floral designs for the likes of Natoora, Rake’s Progress and Monoware, which is how we met. Kasia created a beautiful floral display for our cutlery launch last year, and now we’ve got the florist dream seed planted in our heads.
What made you want to start a floral design studio?
I got into floristry in 2017 in my late 30s , after I left my office based work. I burnt out and was looking to do something more creative rather than data analysing and running an office. I was always attracted by the beauty of nature and the flowers. My mum used to teach me when I was a child the names of plants which we were discovering together during our walks. We would make pressed flower books. I wanted to replicate that happy feeling which I had when I spent time in nature. I got interested in floristry, which by that point for me was taken to another level. I didn’t know much about this world , it was far removed from the social care sector which I have been working in for many years. The floristry I discovered was fun and it was artful and conceptual. I wanted to be part of it. I attended workshops and started experimenting myself with the flowers, and I guess when you are a beginner you are more fearless to do things which break the rules. For me it’s all about that happy feeling when I work with the flowers. That is the reason why I do it. The flower studio came about organically after that.
Can you tell us more about the design element that makes it different from your average florist?
I am inspired in my work by the Ikebana practice (the Japanese way of arranging flowers). I took some classes here in London on Sogetsu ikebana. I like the approach of ‘less is more’ and I try to replicate this in my work. I love when flowers can breathe and showcase their beauty; I love empty spaces in arrangements; and I also love using unusual vessels to arrange flowers in. I also get inspired by fruit and veggies, and I also try to use them in my work. I make edible sculptural arrangements through this fun Frukebana project which I run with my friend, Olivia Bennett, who is a photographer.
We loved the flower installation you did for our cutlery launch last year - can you tell us a little bit about how you approached the design?
For me it’s all about the look of the space I am working in: the light and what the guest will see first when they arrive. The arrangement should complement the interior. This is what I take into consideration when thinking about the materials I am going to use, the colours and the shape of the arrangement. In this particular case as the venue itself was rather dark, we worked with a white colour palette and wintery elements. We didn’t want to clash with the décor, so we used dried materials which added an element of warmth and light into the location.
Is your own home filled with flowers? If so, which ones are we likely to see?
At times yes but definitely not always! I like minimal arrangements and I think a few stems of flowers or an interesting looking bunch is more than enough to change the mood in a room. It very much depends on the season but some of my favourite flowers are: slipper and oncidium orchids, gloriosa lily, clematis, nasturtium and sweet peas. Oh and of course Icelandic poppies.
Can you give us some advice on curating our own bouquet of flowers for a dinner party?
Just do what you think looks right and go for it. Be brave and use the flowers that you like and make you happy. Experiment with colours and shapes and just have fun with it. You can even turn supermarket flowers into something more exciting by mixing them up with fruit and veggies. Create sculptural pieces. Share them with your guests to take home.
How do you like to host at home?
I like small gatherings of close friends, and I would usually cook something traditional from Poland. I love cheesecake and I’m good at baking so there’s always a nice dessert at my house. Flowers on the tables of course, or maybe a few pieces of fruit scattered on the table cloth; minimal ceramic pieces to complement the dinnerware and, of course, candles. I want everyone to really feel at home.
We’re coming for dinner; what are you making and will it match your floral arrangements?
Sourdough with butter and anchovy to begin, and a radicchio and blood orange salad with apples and nuts. Then borscht and small dumplings with wild mushrooms for main; caramel cheesecake to end the night; and a few bottles of orange wine for the table.
Can you tell us about an ordinary object in your kitchen that has a special significance?
It’s a very old notebook with my grandma and mum’s recipes. My grandma passed away when I was only six years old, so it has a very special meaning to me.
What’s your favourite piece in the Monoware collection?
The small batch Candle Holder Pair
What’s a dish that reminds you of home?
Pierogi (classic ones with cottage cheese and potatoes) fried with onions in butter.
Your favourite cuisine?
Best song/album for a dinner party?
I’m currently enjoying playlists by Flamingo Estate.