As with most artists, Candace Fempel of the Department of Floristry stumbled upon her talent quite naturally – but perhaps more so than most.
“I think my interest in floristry really comes from spending countless hours exploring in the northern Whiteshell with my family growing up. I learned about various plants and varieties of flowers by working on the yard, or in the garden, with my grandma and my dad,” said Fempel.
“I love the immediacy of making something with my hands and being able to have an idea and execute it myself.”
After being introduced to a local flower shop by her mom during middle school, Fempel decided to pursue her passion for environmental design further, including completing her masters of architecture at the University of Manitoba and founding the Department of Floristry.
“My goal, with the Department of Floristry, is really just to offer various ways – flower arrangements, terrariums, wreaths, vessels, prints, paper flowers – that a person might liven up their space. I like having the ability to do this at a small, accessible scale. Flowers, plants, succulents, and cacti, among others, have a natural ability to connect to people.”
With her degree in tow, Fempel transforms ordinary natural occurrences into living works of art designed to gild the everyday.
“I find my process seems to be evolving each time I design. Because flowers and plants are organic, they have a natural language that requires attention and care to work with. The more I work with them, the better I’m getting at reading that dialogue. The process of creating and making is not always clean and beautiful, but the outcome each time is unique and the work continues to change as time goes on,” explained Fempel.
“Working with organic materials teaches you that even if you think you had a perfect plan, the nature of the material is to change and it will do so with or without your permission. With that in mind, my aim is always to respect and accentuate the natural beauty – the texture, colour, and layers – of the flower or plant.”
Fempel’s terrariums, bouquets, wreaths, and paper flowers may have had humble beginnings as a hobby, but have quickly gained a fanbase in the city – especially her pop-up shops at Tiny Feast in the Exchange District.
“The pop-up shops with Tiny Feast came out of a shared appreciation for smaller-scaled, well-designed home wares. I had met them before they opened, so when I found out they’d be starting a stationery shop I thought they might have some interest in the paper flowers I had been developing at the time. The connection to paper goods actually might be really where it started, and it’s just grown from there,” said Fempel.
“The reaction and support for the pop-ups has been fantastic. We’re trying to create a really convenient but unique environment by centering the pop-ups around popular holidays.”
Following the success of the pop-up shops, Fempel looks to expand her business further – eventually looking to provide floral arrangement for events and designing more vessels for her creations, in addition to her current collaboration with graphic designer Evan Marnoch.
Check out the Department of Floristry’s website: deptof.ca and follow them on Instagram @Deptof to stay up to date on the latest news and pop-up shop dates.