Words Simon Paterson
Images: Forest McClymont
From the walls of Brookfield School to shop fronts, weddings and London Fashion Week. This month's front cover artist and local mum of three, Forest, has a lot to be proud of. I was lucky enough to squeeze into her busy schedule for a coffee and a chat about all things floral and arty.
Forest, many of our previous front cover stars knew from an early age that they were going to be an artist. Was this the same for you?
Well, both of my parents are artists and I have been illustrating for as long as I can remember. It’s just what we do as a family. Pete (Pete Barber, Dad from UrbanCanvas.co.uk) took me to festivals, where he was working, such as Bearded Theory, and I loved it. I’ve just always known that I wanted to earn a living being creative.
Sounds like a cool childhood to me. Can you remember the first piece you ever sold?
I think I was at school and my teacher wanted to buy it, but I gave it her for free. It was a collage piece, I think it's still in her office at Brookfield.
How old were you when realised you could make a good living by following your creative passion?
I didn’t really know I was ever going to make money at it, it was just something that I had to do! When I started being creative with flowers and posting pictures online of my arrangements, people started messaging me asking to buy them. I was just doing it for fun, and it just really exploded! This was about three years ago, I've now honed my craft and am really enjoying the weddings I’m doing, especially since the restrictions have lifted.
That’s great to hear and very inspirational for our young readers. Tell me about London
Fashion Week, you were involved in that, weren’t you?
I was, I did a set design during the pandemic. They weren’t doing runways so I created sets out of flowers so they could use them in the production. I really enjoyed it.
From Brookfield to London Fashion week! That’s quite the journey. Who inspires you? You can’t say your parents, sorry mum and dad.
Alexander McQueen, Vivien Westwood... I thought I would go down the fashion route, I quite liked the catwalk. You can create anything for the model to wear and it’s a piece of art, unique. Fabric is just so versatile. Textiles are where fashion and fine art meet.
What’s the highlight of your journey so far?
It has to be being on set, that’s where I want to be really. I love photoshoots and being part of a team of creatives all sharing and making something special together, so, more set designs please.
If you could work with anyone in the world, who would it be?
To be honest one of my favourite florists is Anna from Swallows and Damsons, her work is amazing and luckily I get to freelance with her regularly! But I also LOVE the idea of working on set designs for Elle Decor, Vogue Living or similar design companies doing set designs and large scale installations.
So, what’s next for Forest the Florist?
Well, I have a studio on my friend's farm...
It’s not Adam’s Happy Hen’s, is it?
No, but Adam is a good friend of mine. We had dinner with him last night! I work from a shipping container, it’s very cold, but it works, and I can fit all my stuff in it. I am currently kitting out an out-building where I live, and I will be able to host clients as soon as this May. It’s very exciting and I can’t wait. Of course, we have Mother’s Day coming up so get your orders in now people, and my wedding calendar is filling up fast!
It’s great to meet someone like Forest who has found her purpose and is living her passion. I absolutely love our floral front cover and it’s the perfect illustration to depict spring as it emerges.
Forest is taking orders for Mother’s Day and events bookings. The best way get in touch with her is through her socials and via email: