March 14, 2017

Q&A with Floragrapher, Fashion, and Wallpaper Designer, Ashley Woodson Bailey

Ashley Woodson Bailey took a love of flowers and applied it to event planning, print photography, wallpaper design, and now even a capsule clothing collection with Brooke Atwood.

by New York Spaces

Ashley Woodson Bailey
Photograph by Ashley Woodson Bailey.
Q&A with Floragrapher, Fashion and Wallpaper Designer, Ashley Woodson Bailey
Ashley Woodson Bailey.

NYS: What are you known for?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: I am known for my dark floral photography and wallpaper.

NYS: What drew you to art and flowers?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: I studied art and art history at The University of Texas in Austin. During that time I was exposed to so much incredible art both in books and in museums all over the world. I graduated thinking I would be a curator but fell into the flower world, and I loved it.

NYS: We love that you studied art history and art in Texas! How did that influence the start of your career?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: Art influences the way I see everything. I see flowers as sculpture. The difficult thing with flowers is that the flowers can't last for generations, yet you spend so much time on the design. Now that I photograph the sculptures I create, I love that collectors can have them in their home forever.

NYS: We are impressed that you worked as a floral designer in various cities for two decades. How did you fall

Yes Please by Ashley Woodson Bailey
"Yes Please" by Ashley Woodson Bailey.

into floral designing and how was each city contribute towards a different approach?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: I started doing flowers right out of college in Dallas and Houston, Texas. Tight balls of flowers where all the rage. When I went to work for Bergner and Johnson Design, Sarah Bergner arranged as if she cut each flower from the garden—and I loved that so much. I worked for a few event designers in NYC like David Beahm and David Monn—doing flowers with them was grandiose and luxurious and just incredible. When I moved to the South I definitely felt more of a connection to the flowers themselves. Camellias growing all over the place, garden roses abound—I was just in heaven. Austin was where I really spread my wings—my clients trusted me and let me create beauty for them through my eyes. After our car accident—when I could no longer do events—I was in a pretty dark place emotionally which lead me to my signature dark, Dutch Masters style.

Snow Poppies
"Snow Poppies" by Ashley Woodson Bailey.

NYS: What are some of your favorite flowers on the market now? What is your favored type of arrangement?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: Favorite flower on the market? Well that changes with each season. Right now it is Italian ranunculus. I love dahlias from local growers 3 Porch Farm. An armful of sweet peas are so feminine and smell like a slice of heaven. My favorite type of arrangement is one that feels like all the flowers were picked from an English garden and arranged in a loose style.

NYS: As a self-taught photographer, what have been some of the challenges for you?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: Being taken seriously was the first challenge for sure but I believed in myself and my work. I know what works and what doesn't. I also know when to bring in other photographers to shoot my products.

Wallpaper Ashley Woodson Bailey
Wallpaper by Ashley Woodson Bailey.

NYS: When and why did you decide to start capturing flowers in your lens? Why did you decide to stick with an iphone to capture and edit images?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: I started photographing my flowers after my family and I were in a head-on collision outside of Austin. I broke my back and could no longer do the types of events that I had been doing. In all honestly, I was very much suffering from depression and PTSD and trying to find something to focus on and not lose touch with my love of flowers. I began photographing them with my iphone. It started as a way for me to entertain myself. When people started showing interest in my work via Instagram, I started to print them. I launched the photography business in 2014. I stick with my iphone because I love the way the editing tools turn the images into these painterly like photographs. I do photograph with an Olympus camera as well, but not nearly as often.

Fabric Ashley Woodson Bailey
Fabric by Ashley Woodson Bailey.

NYS: Where do you sell your limited-edition prints?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: My limited-edition prints are sold on my website

NYS: What has creating your prints led to in terms of design?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: Oh gosh! So many doors have opened, and I am beyond excited. I launched a wallpaper collection in the Fall of 2015 and am launching upholstery and clothes very soon.

NYS: We love your wallpaper collection. Where can consumers purchase it?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: You can purchase them at Bradley as well as my website.

NYS: What was your experience like creating a capsule clothing collection in collaboration with Brooke Atwood? How would you describe it?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: Brooke is one of my very good friends so it was a very easy collaboration. We tried several prints and ended up going with Creamy. We had a great time doing trunk shows for the collection in Savannah, Atlanta and Austin.

Wallpaper Ashley Woodson Bailey
Capsule Clothing Collection in collaboration with Brook Atwood.
Photo by Cedric Smith.

NYS: What does the future hold for you?

Ashley Woodson Bailey: Upholstery, fashion, collaborations, travel, and always—more flowers.

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