When it comes to floral design, Janice Marrow of Fig & Twigs has some of the most beautiful and whimsy arrangements you’ll see on Instagram. Based out of Newport Beach, California, Janice has been featured in French Style and Romantic Homes magazines and recently took a trip to Aurora, New York along with fellow creatives to spend some time creating beautiful arrangements with Mac-Kenzie Childs.
In this interview Janice shares with us about how she got into floral design and a bit about her creative process.
When did you first become interested in floral design?
I have been creating floral arrangements for as long as I can remember. Our garden was always full of something blooming when I was growing up. My mom taught me at a very young age to always enjoy a life filled with flowers. I started making arrangements for family and friends regularly about 30 years ago and just recently opened my flower shop.
Is there a story behind the name of your brand, Fig and Twigs?
I have always loved figs. I grew up in Italy and figs were often served with our meals. When I was in 4th grade we had to write a story about what we would pack if we were to take a trip to the moon…it could only be one item. My one item was a fig. I was teased and teased by the kids in my class. I remember feeling so sad and embarrassed. I recall my mom being so supportive and telling me how proud she was of me for being creative with my “item for the trip to the moon’. I never forgot that day. A single fig means so much to me. It reminds me to always be kind, to never judge someone for their personal beliefs, to say what I think and own it…even if it is a bit quirky! As for the twigs…I am that mom who stops along the side of the road to collect twigs for my arrangements. It doesn’t matter who is in the car…if there are twigs to be collected be prepared to hold them in your lap if you happen to be in the car with me! I love twigs because they are always fun, earthy, carefree and whimsical… Fig and Twigs is truly who I am.
Is there a particular flower that is your absolute favorite to work with?
Hmmm…this is a tough one! I adore hydrangeas and roses, especially if they are lavender! I also use Dusty Miller and Geranium leaves often. My very favorite is the Scottish Thistle…I am 1/2 Scottish!
What is the atmosphere when you arrive at the flower market in the early morning? What is your favorite part of the experience?
Oh goodness…I wish I could properly explain the feeling that I have the moment I walk into the Flower Market. It truly is a sensory explosion of everything wonderful! The sights, the fragrance, the conversations with the vendors, the excitement of finding something unexpected…all of these create a magical feeling! My favorite part has to be the friendships that I have developed over the years with the vendors. I adore these people and feel honored to call them my friends!
I feel that flower arranging really is an art in and of itself. What would you say is your favorite part about creating an arrangement?
I love starting with a blank canvas…the vase…and having no expectations of what I am about to create. I let the shapes, twigs, buds and blooms take over and work their magic. Hugs from my customers also truly make my day…I love it when I design an arrangement that creates an emotional impact!
For those who are new to arranging flowers, would you say there are any rules to go by?
Have fun, arrange your flowers the way YOU want! Be sure to clip the stems on and angle, use a floral preservative in the water and change the water every three days to make the arrangement last a long time.
Would you say that you enjoy making larger scale arrangements for a events or smaller arrangements the best?
I prefer creating smaller arrangements with lots of details. Most of my arrangements have at least 10 varieties of blooms.
In addition to sharing about the whimsical floral arrangements, you also share some of your desserts on your blog, what is your favorite recipe you’ve shared so far?
I need to post more recipes. I am new to the world of blogging! I will add some for you. My coconut cake is always my most requested recipe.
If you could invite any one person or persons to one of your garden parties, who would it be?
Oh goodness, now you are making me cry… I would give anything to be able to invite my sweet amazing mom to a garden party. She passed away 7 years ago and I miss her dearly. She grew up on a farm, had a heart of gold, inspired me always, taught me to love nature, set a beautiful table and gave me the confidence to life a life filled with whimsy…
Before you went into floral design, you owned a cooking school for 10 years. What was that experience like?
I truly loved owning my cooking school…The White Apron School of Culinary Design. I loved filming the shows for The Fine Living channel, especially. It was a ton or work but I learned so much about organization during that time. There were some days that I had to teach three, 3 hour long classes in one day. One at my home, one at Sur La Table and then another at Williams Sonoma. Exhausting but very rewarding. I stopped teaching cooking classes when my mom became quite ill with Parkinson’s. I needed to be there for her.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I love antiquing with my husband on the weekends and spending time with our four kids, son in law and grandson as much as possible.
Have you or do you plan on doing workshops on floral arranging?
Yes, I do have Fig and Twigs floral workshops. I will be organizing a few for the fall, the dates will be posted on my blog soon. The workshops can also be organized as private parties. These are such fun!