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
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
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.
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.
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.
NYS: Where do you sell your limited-edition prints?
Ashley Woodson Bailey: My limited-edition prints are sold on my website www.ashleywoodsonbailey.com
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.
NYS: What does the future hold for you?
Ashley Woodson Bailey: Upholstery, fashion, collaborations, travel, and always—more flowers.
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