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Culture, Art

Cotswold Flora: Floral Forms

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Poppy Wilson c3szzh

Cotswold Flora was founded by Poppy Wilson in 2022, after imagining and then creating a floral form of taxidermy by hand with her own British grown flowers.

The business began with a flower patch in the orchard at Poppy’s home in the Cotswolds where the exquisite blooms she grew were selected for their long-lasting colour and eye-catching textures when dried. “I think the idea came from wanting to use natural materials to bring the outdoors into the home, and I was just trying to make the most out of what materials I had readily available to me.”

Growing up on her family’s farm near Cheltenham, Poppy developed a deep love for the countryside and rural life. Graduating from the University of Nottingham with an Animal Science degree, she embarked on many different roles within the companion and farm animal industries. Eventually in 2022 her entrepreneurial passion took over and she started growing flowers to sell at markets. “I started growing my own flowers to give to friends and family. They grew really well and so I decided to sell them at the side of the road by our house. The flowers were beautiful, but I found that the fresh flowers were wasted if they didn’t sell. I began to hang some of them up to dry and planned some dried flower varieties to grow in the next year. I created a lot of dried flower wreaths in the attic workshop space I created. I was interested in using materials that were easily available to me from the farm and our garden such as twigs, acorns and moss. I wanted to transition from wreaths to large wall art pieces using the same materials but wasn’t sure how I could logistically create the structure for this. I remember thinking about what sort of wall art people might have in their homes and taxidermy/ trophy heads popped into my head. I thought of a stag straight away and knew it would be really cool to create one with a moss head with dried flowers placed as if they were sprouting out where the antlers would grow. I gave this creation a go and soon I realised that it was something that I could create that was more unique than dried flower wreaths. I took my first stag creation to a very small local craft market in a village hall and received lots of lovely feedback. “

Her pieces are works of art, each unique due to the natural variations of the dried flowers. The dried moss Poppy uses is collected from different parts of the farm and the nose is made from a specific pinecone from her grandparent’s home. When curiosity led her to cut a teasel in half, she discovered the perfect botanical ears for her stags.

With the replacement of traditional taxidermy in the home becoming an emerging trend for rural living, Cotswold Flora’s Botanical Stag Heads remain unrivalled.

“I haven’t seen any other floral taxidermists before, and I think that is the reason why my creations have been so popular. I would like to grow the business by creating different varieties of animal wall art, I have created a few hares and am currently working on a botanical horse head which I am very excited about. I would also be interested in creating large free-standing dried flower installations which aren’t restricted to a wall space. I sell the botanical stags online on my website and take great care when packaging them up to ensure they get to their new homes in great condition. I had been shipping to the UK only until recently, someone contacted me, and I successfully sent a botanical stag to the Netherlands which is exciting. 

Poppy’s love of animals is further apparent in the ever-increasing flock of ex-farm laying hens that she rescues, giving them the best retirement, even though at times they occasionally venture into the flower beds and cause chaos. She says “It’s not too bad once the flowers are more mature. However if they get in when the seedlings are coming up, they will cause mass destruction, creating a not-so harmonious blend of flora and fauna”

Cotswold Flora will be exhibiting at Handmade Oxford 2024 for the first time this year.

cotswoldflora.co.uk

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