When Constance Spry released her first book of flower decoration in 1934, two years after opening a flower shop in Burlington Gardens. ‘She caused flower arranging to become an art form’ and taught pupils who enrolled in her flower school at South Audley Street in 1935. She advocated the abandonment of ‘one kind of flower in a vase’ encouraging a revival of ‘mixed flowers’. Many stuck determinedly to single flower arrangements. Her innovations met great resistance; bare branches covered with lichen, branches of larch studded with cones, cabbage leaves and artichokes. The use of wooden bowls, baking tins, sauce boats and urns from the garden as containers was considered very strange however, she paved the way for a revival of interest in historical period flowers and their charms. The garden that set off such a style needed to be conceived as integral to its philosophy as a whole and designed to provide flowers that would fill the rooms of the house providing profusion and a sense of abundance, which was indicative of a ‘lucky country’ like Australia. Of all high end florists in Australia today Canadian born Susan Avery, with her unrivalled and formidable reputation for quality and excellence, continues Spry’s tradition. Since her early days in Woollahra at Sydney Susan has changed the face of floral decoration in Australia into that of being a high art form. She has achieved a cohesiveness and unity between Australian native plants and exotics that both inspire and inform. Her understanding of form, shape and texture, as well as her ability to lavishly mix colour from pastels to brights, in posies, bunches and arrangements constantly leaves her clients speechless at their beauty.
Carolyn McDowall FRSA has gained considerable experience and business acumen in her professional career. An independent cultural and social historian, Carolyn is an interior designer by trade. She has been involved in the creative sector for over thirty years in Australia; completing interior design projects, creating and producing innovative corporate and not-for profit (social profit) community events. She has over that time continuously conducted independent research , while designing, developing, and producing educational art and design history programs in conjunction with renowned specialist colleagues.