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Belgium-born Cristelle is a trained florist who produces floral arrangements, paintings, weavings and more, directed to various mediums by a powerful physical urge to create

07 August 2020

Designer Spotlight: Pikaloo

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’Belgium-born florist, weaver & painter, Cristelle: ‘Handmade is the soul of the culture; heritage for the future generations’

I am Cristelle, florist, painter and crafter. On Madeit since 2012, I was not very active because my full-time job as team leader for an online floral production business took all my energy but I am back now on Madeit since 2020.

Pink woven wall-hanging with botanical elements by Pikaloo

I chose Madeit because I want to sell only in Australia. Moving from Belgium to Australia, I do my best to integrate into the culture, to be part of the Australian community, to bring my little seed. Made it gives me this opportunity. There’s so much support, I feel that this is the place to be.

Belgium-born Cristelle is a trained florist who produces floral arrangements, paintings, weavings and more, directed to various mediums by a powerful physical urge to create

I have been living in Australia for twelve years. I moved 1 year ago from Sydney to Newcastle to find the lifestyle that I need and enjoy. I come from Belgium, where I did an apprenticeship in floristry at the age of 16. At that age, I was already running my little business of dried and artificial flowers that I sold at markets or in nursing homes.

Bunches of flowers hanging upside down to dry across Cristelle’s home studio with a selection of weavings, floral art and drawings in the background: ‘I cannot imagine my life without being able to create’

I cannot imagine my life without being able to create. I am never bored, I do not have a tv or a social life because I have too many projects on the go and I really enjoy spending time alone in my studio, which is often a big mess but I always know where to find the things I need.

Cristelle’s colourful, sun-drenched studio desk covered in paints, papers, flowers and works in progress

People who enter in my studio are always impressed by how many things are around and how busy it looks. I collect all, with the idea that it can be useful one day and most of the time it is; if not for me, then for someone in need. I always make my friends laugh about it. I like to work in a quiet environment, sometimes in silence, sometimes with chill music and always with the birds singing in the garden.

A cluttered desk of colourful craft supplies from ribbons and twines to beads and dried flowers: ‘Being able to mix different techniques together is an advantage and brings no limit in my creativity’

I like to learn by myself and develop my skills, making mistakes - which sometimes have an amazing result. Being able to mix different techniques together is an advantage and brings no limit in my creativity but it has its negative effects too. It makes it harder to focus on a specific style of creation.

A lime green and neutral beaded weaving in progress on Cristelle’s loom

My creative process is very influenced with what style of work my hands want to do. It is a weird feeling but often my hands dictate me what to do. I have in my head different projects and following my hands’ needs and my mood I may paint or make a weaving or some floral arrangement. I try my best to be unique and affordable, not making the same product we can see everywhere.

Cristelle at work on a large mural: ‘I have drawn and painted since I was able to handle a pen’

I have drawn and painted since I was able to handle a pen. My mum helped me to be who I am today by introducing me to so many different techniques, such as enamel, clay, sewing, pyro gravure, etc.

An early photo of Cristelle working on craft projects with her mum and brother as a child; ‘I owe my mum a lot for the artist I am now’

After school or on holidays with my two brothers, we spent time having fun and discovering new things to do. I owe my mum a lot for the artist I am now. She gave me my adventurous side of trying new things.

Cristelle arranging bunches of flowers in pots in a shop window

I hated school and at 16yo I had to choose a trade to start an apprenticeship. I wanted to be a car mechanic but at that time - in the 80’s - it was not really open to females so I decided to go with floristry and I loved it.

‘Hiding in the Lotus Garden’ acrylic painting on cotton canvas by Pikaloo: ‘I always kept going with my paintings on the side with the idea one day to have my own exhibition’

I always kept going with my paintings on the side with the idea one day to have my own exhibition. When I arrived in Australia I realised that yes, I can realise my dreams and live from my creations, of course it is hard work, but it is possible to access my ideals. I never felt this way in Belgium.

‘Native Garden’ Boho yarn-wrapped hoop wall hanging with native floral arrangement by Pikaloo

My dream job would be to run my business without the need of a full-time job, something that I am trying to do. I love the idea of running my own business - mixing creation, marketing, and buying supplies with administration - it is very exciting. I need to be able to vary what I am doing to avoid boredom, to challenge myself and express my feelings.

Woven wall hanging in shades of blue and pops of lime green; ‘Living in my little world full of colours, smells, textures, forms; I feel very lucky’

Living in my little world full of colours, smells, textures, forms; I feel very lucky and blessed to be able to do what I am doing. It is hard to build a network when you come from another country, are introvert and do not socialise, but I keep going little by little. I am very stubborn!

Tightly packed white vases of dried flowers and foliage

Handmade is the soul of the culture; heritage for the future generations. Each creation is unique, made with love and attention. Behind every handmade product is a person or a group of people using their skills, sharing a passion.

‘Boho Soul’ dried mini bouquet of eucalyptus, lavender and poppy pods

Handmade is the soul of the culture; heritage for the future generations. Each creation is unique, made with love and attention. Behind every handmade product is a person or a group of people using their skills, sharing a passion.

Close up of a bunch of preserved pink stirlingia used in many of Pikaloo’s floral arrangements

Buying handmade is to support the small businesses, is to help the artists to live their dreams, is to buy something which has more value than what it really costs. When I make a creation, I am thinking about the person who will receive it, trying to imagine their pleasure when opening the parcel; it makes me happy.



Visit Pikaloo to find dried floral creations, paintings, weavings and more: Pikaloo

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