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Wonders Community Series — Jaime McCuaig

For the last 10 years Toronto-based florist Jaime McCuaig has refined her quixotic, unconventional and playful style of floral composition. Inspired by the intersection of true wilderness and manufactured landscape, Jaime’s practice extends to custom gardens, bespoke arrangements, set design, art direction, styling, installations, and events. Since opening her studio GUNNAR Floral, she has become renowned for her outstanding creative projects and exciting collaborations with artists, brands and photographers.

This spring, we shared the latest collection from WONDERS with Jaime and photographer Kristina Dittmar. Together they produced their creative interpretations of the Spanish labels innovative, sustainable and comfortable Spring/Summer styles. We also had the opportunity to catch up with Kristina in her studio to ask her some questions about her practice, inspirations, and the fleeting lifecycle of her art.

Read the interview with Jaime below. 

What has been the most rewarding aspect of freelance work?

Freedom to work intuitively. Making my own schedule and choosing which projects I take on lets me practice the art of prioritization. I don't always strike the perfect balance, but my time is my own and I feel very present in my work.

What about some of the challenges?

Resisting a scarcity mindset in quieter and slower times/months. Indulging authentically in rest when presented with the opportunities to do so. Remembering that spring does and will arrive after a long winter.

What's your favourite aspect of working with florals?

An acute awareness of the seasons. Working in the 4th dimension. Sheer, inexplicable, terrorizing beauty. The practice and art of awareness and consequently, devotion. Infinite combinations and portals.

Working with something natural like plants and flowers means they have a lifespan, how has that impacted your work?

My work is absolutely impermanent. I cannot covet my work or lock it up for a future version of myself to re-examine. It's fleeting and it teaches me over and over and over again to let go.

What do you enjoy about living in Toronto?

I have an incredible community of kind, creative and innovative friends here in Toronto. I am very proud of the relationships I have built and fostered having arrived here in my early 20s with absolutely no idea who I would grow into.

How has the city influenced your art?

I often think that I owe my obsession with beauty/nature/flowers to the "ugliness" of Toronto. I like the challenge of having a box drawn around me that I can push up against and destabilize. I am fascinated by juxtaposing elements-- like the freeway and the slices of wild ecosystems that shoulder and hold it in place. I sometimes can't keep my eyes on the road. Toronto has trained me to look harder and as a result I see an abundance of beauty here and anywhere else I find myself. 

If you weren't a florist, what would you be doing?

A botanist? A gardener? A landscape architect? I think many truths can exist at once and perhaps I am all these things already.

What have you been listening to or watching lately?

 Birds, rain, Gregorian monk chanting. Really.

What's your dream project or collaboration?

I really want to realize a large-scale land art project. Develop it from seed to harvest or have its final iteration be rooted in the ground. I love the intimidation of scale, the potential to get lost in your own mess, and the opportunity to feel small amongst plants.

Where do you see your practice in five years?

I shy away from looking too far ahead into the future. I love not knowing and being surprised. I hope that over the next 5 years my practice continues to be a powerful outlet for me to explore my relationship to the living world. I see more self-directed projects, more relationships that change the way I see myself/ my work/ the world, more time dedicated to being outside, more trust (internal + external)... mostly I just hope for a future of awe.  

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