Art may have various forms and I’ve already had the opportunity to prove that fact multiple times. What can be understood as a piece of art? I believe that any effect of our creative work, thanks to which we can express ourselves, our thoughts, beliefs and likes. Is it important what kind of materials will be used to prepare our creation? Undoubtedly, there are as many answers as people in the world. And this is beautiful! If anything can be perceived as the art form, it means that there are no boundaries and no holds barred, on the condition that the actions we take are compatible with our own perception of artistic expression.
Flowers can be called natural pieces of art, as they are invariably delightful and surprising with their excellence, ephemerality, as well as with their beautiful fragrance. It often happens that what seemingly resembles a simple bouquet is something way more than that. In fact, in front of our eyes emerges an elaborate composition, created for hours by artists truly passionate about their work. People who decided to devote their lives to art, which surely doesn’t belong to the so-called mainstream art. However, it has a great chance to be present not only in exclusive salons, but also in our tiny, cozy houses. Today, I’m pleased to introduce you to Rose Cao Pilipets – a happy mom, wife and artist creating beautiful floral designs.
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Rose: This is Rose, from Vietnam living in Serbia. I’m a full-time mom of two, a 4-year-old boy and a 5 months baby girl. I’ve been a floral artist and an instructor since 2016. Now I work 100% online to devote more time to my family, myself and my garden. 🙂
Passion Piece: You’re not only a successful mom and wife, but also an international award-winning floral designer. How did you discover your talent for craft work, especially the one related to flowers?
Rose: Thank you for your good words, the first part of the compliment is saved for my husband and children for feedback. For the second part, yes I was a silver medalist in the Singapore Garden Festival 2016 – the most prestigious tropical flower show in the world (my design is featured at 1:09 in this video ). It is a long story how I got to that point, but I’m the lucky one to have discovered my passion through my partner. When I met him in 2014, I was still working as a Demand Planner in an oil service company. I liked that job, because it’s challenging and paid well. However, if one asked me whether I was excited to travel to work each day… hmm, not really. Since the trip was far, I hated the routine, and I always looked forward to having some rest at the weekend. While my partner – a bootcamp fitness trainer – was always very excited about going to see his students, never reported sick, never once complained. He was a ball of energy and I admired that kind of attitude, I once wished I would be like him – wanted to do what I love (which is art, I like painting, mixing up colors), then my days, months, years would not be wasted.
On our 2nd date, he bought me a bundle of roses. Since then every week I received a new type of flower. I didn’t know anything about the flower names or how to arrange them, he even bought me a glass vase. So I just cut those flowers and put them in that vase with tap water. Yes, that was the beginning (and now I know I did it all wrong, because certain types of flowers don’t require a full vase of water) lol. I received a lot of flowers, so I started feeling the need to take a flower course (I was thinking about the basic one). But after first 10 classes, I enrolled into the professional course that took me 7 more months to complete. I would say that my interest had sparked into a hobby then turned into a passion and finally became my profession.
Passion Piece: Not so many people deal with flowers professionally. Why is this type of art so unique?
Rose: Firstly, this type of art is very unique, because it’s considered as ephemeral art which means something that lasts for a very short time (Have you ever seen smoke art? Bubble art? Ice sculptures?). It takes a lot of time, brain cells to create and for flowers, they can be very costly. As result, you have to keep on creating and creating, depending on what’s availble according to the area you live in, the season you are in…
Secondly, unlike painters who can mix their own color palettes, floral artists can’t change the colors of flowers. We have to learn how to hamornize them together.
Passion Piece: What challenges did you face during the first steps in floral design?
Rose: I would say the lack of appreciation for my job at first or the level of understanding about this type of art is not there yet! A good example of that is my mum who has never perceived my art as nice and has never believed it would sell. She said: ‘I won’t pay for a flower arrangement which has only 1 flower’. So the mindset of value comes in parallel with quantity and it needs to be replaced by the unique composition (no second piece alike) or the designer’s time and creativity put in each design.
Passion Piece: It seems that the initial difficulties didn’t discourage you at all! Where do you look for your inspirations? What do you pay your attention to?
Rose: Actually for me this difficulty was the oppotunity. If people don’t understand the value of the design work, then I have to let them know about it (educate the tagerted market). I was aware of the fact that my art was not going to sell if no one would be willing to pay for it. So I launched a course to make them create art themselves, so they pay for their own art. At least, after putting my mum in my class, so that she could learn with other learners, she now likes my work better and appreciates flower art more as a whole.
My inspiration comes from various things, can be as simple as a bamboo stripe, or a piece of kraft paper… I put them in front of me and I try to think what I could do with these items, how I could make an art from what I have. But the key factor to create is not to see or have any influence from anywhere. Just play with the stuff I have. I pay attention to the forms, colors and texture of anything I use. I try to use them alone or mix them with others. Just have fun and express my thoughts!
Passion Piece: Is there a particular kind of flowers you love working with?
Rose: As an artist, I don’t have any restriction working with certain types of flowers, because like I have said, forms, colors, texture, besides many other elements, are the most importants factors.
But if I had to choose, I would say I like to work with orchids, since they last longer than most flowers, they have unique form like no others.
Passion Piece: You have lots on offer for your customers and people interested in floral design. You organize retailed flowers besides workshops, private event and wedding flower decorations. Which occasions do you enjoy most? Why?
Rose: I started doing workshops first, the reason has already been described in one of the previous answers. So I love teaching most, and I enjoy seeing my students create pleasing arrangements based on what they have learned from me. Of course, I do like other things, such as big projects during weddings or grand openings too, but teaching brings me most joy.
Passion Piece: What kind of customers turn to you most often? What do they expect from you?
Rose: I started working online 2 years ago. So most of my customers are students. They want to learn about the floral design to open their flower shops, new florists want to upgrade their skills or simply they just want to learn a new skill at their own time to decorate their houses or to make arrangements/gifts for their loved ones. During the Covid-19 pandemic, I have found a surge in numbers of students. People start to look for things they can do from home.
Passion Piece: What do you consider to be your greatest success in the floral design?
Rose: At first I thought the sucess was me being the first Vietnamese to win the Silver medal in SGF2016, but after so many years in floral design training business, I think the greatest success would be changing the mindset of our community about the value of floral design works through education.
Passion Piece: You keep doing the great work. How do you reconcile your private and professional life?
Rose: Moving from supply chain to flower design has helped me to balance my life. I now have enough time to take care of my children. Although, the income is not as great as before, I love my lifestyle and the time I’ve gained from doing what I do now.
Passion Piece: Is it important to find the right balance in your life? Or maybe following your passion is the most important?
Rose: To survive you might not need any of the above, you just need a job that pays the bills, if you want to feel useful, better find out what you love doing. But to live a meaningful life, you do need both.
Passion Piece: What do you enjoy doing in your free time? Is there a hobby you’d like to take up?
Rose: I like painting, making clay art with my kids. I’m learning about gardening to become self-sufficient.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in the nearest future? Is there a new project you’d like to work on?
Rose: My plan is to grow as many fruit and vegetables as possible to depend less on the supermarkets, next goal would be to have a lot of flowers around the garden. Soon I will have my youtube flood of all designs and arrangements using flowers and foliage right from my garden. Oh, just thinking about it makes me so happy.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Rose: You serve best doing what you love.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly inspiring conversation and I wish you every success you deserve in your garden! 🙂
Passion is a spark, which motivates us to take actions and it doesn’t allow us to fade away. We should do our best to try new things, as only in this way we will be able to decide what we really love and what we would like to devote our lives to. I hope that Rose has just encouraged you to do that!
See you around!
Photos by: Rose Cao Pilipets