Here at Grace & Thorn we're all about making memorable moments with our beautiful flowers - so we were delighted when the lovely Charlotte Argyrou of @craftist_in_residence popped by with a beautiful illustration of one of our bouquets to tell us about her Wedding Bouquet Illustration service.
Completely bespoke and in a gorgeous vintage botanical style, we were instantly obsessed! We caught up with Charlotte to learn a bit more about her jaw-dropping illustrations.
Tell us about how you got into botanical illustration?
I remember being 15 years old and telling the school careers advisor that I was going to be a botanical illustrator. She laughed and said that wasn’t really a thing, and computers were going to take over anyway, and so I should be a graphic designer instead. While I don’t think I took her negativity too seriously, I did go on to do an academic degree at uni rather than going to art school. It led to a 12-year career in runway fashion PR, where I worked on celebrity dressing, store launches, editorial shoots and London, NYC, Paris and Milan shows.
When I had babies, I didn’t want to travel so much or work all the late nights. I took some time out and rediscovered drawing. It had been 15 years since I had used my pencils. But I immediately knew that this was what I was born to do and now I’m building my dream business that works on my terms and timetable.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
The brands and brides who book me for commissions or for my signature offering, the Wedding Bouquet Illustration Service, are often fashion and media people with a very strong sense of their own style. Their uniqueness and immense passion for their florals is inspiration enough.
I read a lot and love watching old movies or a juicy period drama with all the costumes and divine mise-en-scene. Don’t care if it’s 18th Century or London in the swingin’ sixties, I just love vintage and antique style. Those references seep into my illustrations and I like to think of my floral artwork as modern heirlooms. They travel with you on your life’s journey and can be passed through generations, but they are more elegant and versatile than a dusty old preserved bouquet.
I also keep up with botanical, fashion and interior décor blogs – I’m obsessed with Arch Digest, Apartment Therapy and those dreamy modern gardener’s magazines, like Rake’s Progress.
Who's your hero?
Any creative business owner who has walked away from a salary and annual leave to live their dream. Since I set up my business a couple of years ago, I’ve been welcomed into networks providing massive support for those who bring together vision and gritty determination in the stubborn quest for a happy, healthy work / life balance. It’s insanely hard work. You have to be courageous and resilient to work for yourself, but it’s so worth it.
Any floral wisdom to share?
I’m no florist, but I’m lucky to work alongside some of the best in the business. When it comes to flowers for your wedding or your home, you gotta go with what you love. Forgot trends, forget what you see someone do on Insta, fill your life with florals you love. But whenever possible, seek the advice of and buy from your local florist rather than the supermarket.
Favourite flower combo?
This changes all the time. Usually whatever illustration I’m working on is my current favourite because my clients have amazing style. But I love a Dutch Masters’ influenced bouquet. It’s a luxurious, asymmetric look filled with perfect specimens placed just-so. I also love anything big and wild with a wayward sprig here and a tumbling fern there. To draw – my heart leaps for a hydrangea or a complex dahlia. The more textures and layers the better.