Dorset- and London-based floral talent Tattie Isles thinks way beyond the petal. The designer focuses on the mood more than anything—what she wants guests to experience as they enter and engage with the setting. “It’s decidedly about surprise,” she says. “I like people to be transported and to question whether they imagined something or whether it really happened,” she says. Tattie focuses on the effects of light, movement, scale, fabrics, and even the music when executing her vision. While flower arranging is a vital part of her creative process, she really relishes the theatricality of putting together an event and making it come to life.
Tattie ignores trends and doesn’t really take notice of what others in the industry are doing. Her jumping-off place also doesn’t involve the palette or the constraints of the location. “I start by meeting clients in person because I believe the best collaborations are when you have good chemistry,” she says. “I try to read someone and work out what they are like and how to tell their story through the flowers. I usually ask people what they want the event to feel like and what they want their guests to feel rather than the aesthetic itself.”
Tattie first discovered her love for flowers while looking for a holiday job. “I was introduced to a floral designer in the area, and I basically started carrying buckets around for her,” she says. She soon realized that she had a true passion for the business. “It’s one of the most creative things that you can possibly do! You are constantly making new things and then moving on to the next, which I love.”
While Tattie didn’t find her calling for flowers until she was an adult, she always had an imaginative side, even as a child. “I did not like being stuck inside four walls,” she says. “I found the classroom challenging unless I was doing art or playing an instrument.” A lot of her talent also was fostered by her artistic mother, who now works with her in the business alongside Tattie’s husband, aunt, and close friends. “My father was in the military, and we moved around a lot and often lived in these funny little buildings that were very plain,” says Tattie. “My mom made them into remarkable homes and settings for me and my siblings, and I experienced firsthand how our surroundings affect us and how, with a little ingenuity, you can make things lovely wherever you are.”
For her designs, Tattie enjoys using unconventional materials. “Anything in the natural world is up for grabs,” she says. “However, I do test everything first.” The team tries out floral designs at different temperatures and with different lighting to measure longevity and durability. “We’ve fashioned a science lab of sorts,” Tattie says.
With three boys ages 2, 4, and 6, the designer now finds herself wanting to balance her work and home life more than ever. Because of that, the team is focusing on fewer but larger commissions going forward to allow more time for refreshing their pools of inspiration and tending the home fires. “I find the creative breaks make me look forward to doing it again,” says Tattie. “It’s like missing someone. If you see them all the time, you don’t have an opportunity to miss them and have that excitement of seeing them again. I think this approach will keep my creativity going for many more years.”
By Alice Welsh Doyle | Photography courtesy of Tattie Rose Studio