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In a country known for its grey skies and rainy days, we need bright colours to keep our spirit up. So, when the flower artist, Poppykalas suddenly appeared with her marvellous creations in stores, for magazines and bridal bouquets, we were all eyes and ears. With a style language different from your standard flower arrangements, Thilde Maria Haukohl Kristensen, the woman behind Poppykalas, communicates through the beautiful language of flowers with the aim of bringing back sensuousness in the world.
We met Thilde in her, not surprisingly, very colourful apartment in Copenhagen to talk about her love of flowers and her urge to decorate her home like Pippi Longstocking’s Ville Villekulla.
Hi Thilde, how did you first get into arranging flowers?
Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother who taught me everything there is to know about flowers. My grandmother was an artist herself and made paintings of flowers with a technique that gave the flowers a 3D effect. In my work today, this style is reflected in the way we arrange our flowers, which is different from the traditional way of binding a bouquet or flower installation. In that sense, I haven’t been schooled in the art, but that also gave me the opportunity of not taking all the rules so seriously and create a freer expression. I think I’ve followed the Pippi Longstocking attitude to life: “I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.”
What is it about flowers that fascinate and attracts you?
Right now, on the international scene there’s so much going on with flowers, so it’s an exciting time to work in this field. But what I really like about it is that flowers give me a language with which I can communicate with the world and tell a story. We have worked a lot on perfecting our expression and freeing ourselves from the strict rules of the classic flower arrangements. But most importantly, flowers have a sensuousness that I think we experience a lack of in the world of today.
You started working with flower styling and arranging from home. How has the way you work influenced your relationship with your home?
When I first started working by myself with flower styling, it all began on the balcony. When one day, leaves of flowers were spread all over the kitchen too, I realised it was time for me to get a studio. Today the studio is my free space, my playground. It made me a lot calmer to create clear boundaries between my work and my home so that when I’m home, it’s free time. I leave my computer in the studio. At first, I barely had any flowers at home at all because I needed to find a space of stillness when I had all the flowers and colours all day in the studio. But now, I’ve found a balance, so the flowers are starting to come back into our home.
In your professional life, you’ve created a connection to nature, yet you and your family still live in the middle of the city. How did this come about?
We are very much city people. We love going and eating out and spend a lot of time with all the things the city has to offer. But we do also have a vacation house in the northern part of Zealand. I love it there, being outside and in our garden, but we only need to be there a short while before I want to be back in the city.
What does the word home mean to you?
My home needs to by vivacious, cosy, and comfortable. It’s essential that you don’t feel wrong or out of place in a home. I think you should create a home that feels like a home even to those who don’t actually live there.
Do you decorate with feelings or aesthetics?
It’s most important to me how the place feels but being a very aesthetic person, I wouldn’t feel nice with things I don’t also find beautiful. To me, it doesn’t feel nice without colours or if there are too many clean surfaces; it gives me a clinical feeling which I wouldn’t want in my home. We’ve built many of the things in our home ourselves, so really, it’s turned into one big playground. We like it to be a soft space, which is why our kids are allowed to colour on the walls, and why we sometimes make a big mess by eating on the floor instead of properly at the table. Our home is a place where you should be allowed to just be.
How do you balance the many colours in your life?
I go through periods in my life where I’m almost obsessed with one particular colour and get everything in that same nuance. But I usually go for a combination of one deep colour with a pastel, which creates a nice contrast, I think. I really love pastels, but it’s important to me that it doesn’t become too pretty, what makes the contrasts important.
What kind of home do you dream of?
My dreams are again created by contrasts because what I dream most of is a home which is at the same time a little closer to the sky but also has a garden. And then still, I really love colours, and to be honest, I just want to paint every wall a different shade and move into our own version of Pippi’s Villa Villekula.
Thank you for having us, Thilde!
Thilde has an old-school record player in her home, with which we had much fun when we visited her home. Get a taste of what’s spinning in this playlist she put together for us.