Flower Artist / Megumi Shinozaki
“I am so indebted to flowers, I can’t just put flowers up without thinking about how they look at home”. I was taken aback when Florist Megumi Shinozaki said this with a soft smile.
Collaborating with famous brand names and artists, she has garnered lots of attention. Letting go of the time when she was an introvert, her life changed in vivid and colorful ways when she realized her passion for flowers.
The concept of “edenworks” that she is working on is “life connections”. Her desire is to expand the enjoyment and possibilities of flowers, from fresh flowers to dry flowers.
Flowers and jewels are similar in that they each one does not have the same expression. Each one shines individually, which is basically along the same lines as the theme of ARTIDA OUD, “Raw Beauty = the natural beauty of a woman”. While being surrounded by flowers under the sun, we asked her about the road she has walked, with peace and passion for flowers.
Intuition, from the fashion industry to the world of flowers.
―――We understand that you used to be in the fashion industry. What made you make the change to becoming a florist?
After leaving fashion school, I worked with clothes. After working for six months, I went to Mishuku with my brother on a motorcycle and found a flower shop that looked like a forest along the way. I hadn’t even thought of being a florist up until that time. I decided to go in to the flower shop and saw a poster that said they were looking for workers and inquired. That was my first encounter with flowers. Even though I already had a job, and I didn’t understand what florist do, but I inquired. It really was pure intuition.
―――It seems that there would be a lot of rules when dealing with flowers, such as how to maintain them. After you made the change, did you face any difficulties?
Well, yes, there are a lot of rules to follow, such as the angle and the direction the flowers face. But flowers are alive, so it doesn’t always work that way. Of course, the traditional rules are important, but I think it’s nice to have individuality like an English garden. I think that is what makes them beautiful. While working at the Mishuku store, I started to study flowers and educated myself on how to serve customers.
―――Your flower creations are so lively, and maybe that’s why, right?
I am the type of person who likes to learn from experience and find the answers myself, versus having someone teach me. When I was studying fashion, I had too much pride and respect for my favorite brand and was trying hard to show my individuality, but I felt like “I couldn’t win”. But because I felt so strong about it, I found it hard to take what I learned and turn it into something that expressed what I felt.
―――What have you been working on lately?
Under the name “edenworks”, I am working on flower projects for clients. For example, window displays for department stores, CD covers and arrangements that will show up in music videos, etc. Also, we are filming today at our Yoyogi Uehara store, “edenworks bedroom” where 3 years ago we started a flower shop that is open to the public on weekends only.
We have another shop called “EW.Pharmacy” which was opened last year based on the concept of a pharmacy. We use flowers that were not used in filming from “edenworks bedroom” and other locations and make them into dry flowers, using our original secret method, so that the beautiful color remains as is. We have 20 kinds of products prepared for each season, and you can also understand the details about the flower because we include a note that explains that, kind of like a prescription. We want people to visit us every season.
Another one of our brands is “PAPER EDEN”, which is a project to make flowers out of paper. Besides, the Japanese are known for making exquisite pieces of art by hand with paper, right? Our goal is to market it overseas and so I made an installation in Milan, Italy.
Image of the Milano installation
―――With all of the projects you are working on, is there a time when you feel as ease?
I don’t have very many days off. The flower market opens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 3am so I have to wake up early and I am often sleepy, but “I don’t feel like what I am doing is work”…When I am meeting with customers or hearing what they think, that is when I feel most at ease. So I rarely feel tired.
Every time I see a new flower, it is a precious moment. My job is to pair flowers together
―――From your point of view, what is the charm of flowers?
I would say the charm is that each one is different. Even if it is the same type, the color and shape changes when it blooms. Every time I go to the flower market and see a new flower, it’s like meeting someone new. My job is to pair flowers together, in a way, they are saying “nice to meet you” to each other. Nothing is the ever the same with the combinations so that is the charm, maybe that is why I continue to work with flowers.
I am indebted to flowers. When I was in fashion, I was an introvert and not very confident, but I feel different now. After I started working with flowers, that changed. Once I started working with flowers, I felt more and more that I wanted to connect with people. Because of that, I really appreciate flowers and can’t just put flowers up without thinking about how they look at home. I have a deep respect for flowers.
―――You mentioned on your homepage that the sustainability of flowers is important. That is because of your respect of flowers?
That’s right. The concept of edenworks is “life connections”. I want to change the way people think about flowers. People usually just throw them away when they die, but I wanted to find a way to make a connection between when they are alive and after they die. That is why I started the dry flower business, “EW.Pharmacy”.
―――Is there anything in particular you want to achieve through your work?
I want to convey to the younger generation that personal connections and warmth is important. I am 37 years old now and I see that a lot has changed when comparing the youth of today versus when I was young. For example, when I was young and went to a store to buy a present for my mother, I would think about what kind of person she is, what color she likes and consult with the shop staff to find something special. That is what was important to me. Now a days, people can buy things easily without having to communicate so much which takes away that attachment factor… I think that is a very sad thing to think about when considering the person who actually made the item. That is why I tell my staff that communication is precious and of upmost importance, and that it is something that will create personal connections.
“Believe in the power of flowers” I want to fulfill all of my customer and client needs.
―――Do you have a motto about work?
It’s about connecting with people, flowers can help people through any situation. My title says I am a Flower Artist, but I don’t think I am an artist. The reason why is because my work is to believe in the power of flowers and fulfill the intentions of my clients and customers. I don’t want to always make things in my own image, but want to communicate with the customer and make sure I can express the feeling of my work based on the intentions, and in collaboration with the customer or client.
―――Please tell us about some of the work you‘ve done up to this point, and if there is anything that stood out and touched your heart.
A lot of the work I’ve done with music and fashion stays with me. I like both, and have worked with clothes. As a result I left the fashion industry, but when I started working with flowers, I felt as though my dreams had come true. Flowers are used in music videos and have collaborated with fashion brands as well.
Soen Magazine April / May 2018 Merged Issue “Mode and Chrysanthemum Doll”
I was also impressed with the overall direction of Isetan’s “2018 HANABANASAI” campaign. The plan included the decoration of the store window with fresh flowers and turn them into dry flowers. Fresh flowers usually die quickly so using them in a storefront window is quite risky and when they are used, they are usually thrown away, but we were able to give the dried flowers to customers as gifts. I love the fact that we were able to make the concept of edenworks and “life connections” a reality.
―――Are you particular about fashion?
I don’t wear very colorful things. I probably wear a lot of monotones because I am conscious that the “flowers need to stand out” from the things around me and in the store. So I think that ARTIDA OUD jewelry has a refreshing feel to it. Like choosing flowers, I can wear it every day. When I wear something that is monotone, I may choose an item that is green or pink depending on the day. ARTIDA OUD’s stones are similar to flowers because they are natural and do not have the same pattern or design.
―――Is there anything you want to achieve in the future?
I want to do something through “PAPER EDEN” and work with children with disabilities. I learned that if you have a disability, there are few things you can decide to do for yourself, such as how you live or eat. I want to do a project and give them the opportunity to make their own decisions as to what flowers they want to use.
―――The theme of ARTIDA OUD is “Raw Beauty＝the natural beauty of a woman”. Taking that into account, is there a woman you think is “beautiful”?
I agree with Phebe Philo, the former creative director of Céline, when she says “Less is More”. I don’t wear much make-up because I think that women are “beautiful as they are” without make-up. Flowers are the same. I think that the farther you get away from being natural, the farther you get away from charm.
―――The natural beauty of a woman of course includes what’s on the inside. What do you think “made you who you are today?”
There is a photo album called “Wild Flowers”. I came across this book when I was studying an array of books about flowers before I went independent. The book has a collection of pictures that show fresh flowers, artificial flowers, illustrations and shapes blended into everyday life. I thought that it looked very peaceful and had a strong feeling to do the same and make creations that blend into my everyday life, so it is a book I use to this day as a reference when working with flowers.
Women are not weak. Do whatever you can and do it with care.
―――Tell us about your favorite ARTIDA OUD item.
I love this pink stone, it’s amazingly cute. The shape is a little distorted which gives it a very natural appeal that I think is wonderful.
―――That is a Tourmaline. It has an autumn feel and comes from the quiet seaside of Crete with mystical colors, and is one of the newest pieces. It is a Tourmaline that is inspired by the clear waves that flow over pink sand. There are melee diamonds mounted around the stone.
Like flowers, stones have their own unique characteristics. Choosing one is a lot of fun. When working with flowers, we don’t wear jewelry as it may get caught on a flower but I want to put this on for special occasions. Is this ring part a moon?
―――It’s part of the “Mosaic” series, made in the image of a crescent moon.
I like the moon. Flowers bloom toward the sun, but at night we sleep, right? I feel at ease when I see the sun. Also, my birthday is in April, and my birthstone is the diamond, so it’s perfect. Really cute!
And the snake ring has a beautiful blue color. It goes well with my nails today. I find it fun to coordinate my jewelry and my nails.
―――Please send a message to all of the hard working women working in different professions around the world.
There are lots of women active in society and both men and women have a role to play. Of course, it’s equal but I don’t think women should say “men and women should be equal!” or be defensive, or try to outdo each other. It’s ok to be weak. But it’s also important to find and do the things that only you can do in order to be yourself.
After leaving the fashion industry, she went independent in 2009. Founded and established “edenworks”. She has collaborated with an array of artists, apparel brands, musician photo work, music videos, etc. She also started the dry flower company “EW.Pharmacy”, “edenworks bedroom” which is open only on Saturday and Sunday in Yoyogi Uehara and a project that makes flowers out of paper called “PAPER EDEN”.
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