Woodland Wonder

Floral artist Françoise Weeks makes magic of the Oregon forest.

Françoise Weeks understands that enchantment can be a process of gathering. “Gorgeousness always stops me in my tracks,” she says. The floral artist, known for her Portland studio workshops and global fan base (not to mention her captivating Instagram), has spent the last two decades harvesting bark, seeds, moss, lichen, branches, and mushrooms from Oregon’s sumptuous private forests. This month she collects projects big and small inspired by her forays with a new book, Wonder of the Woodlands: The Art of Seeing and Creating with Nature.

Wonder of the Woodlands Copyright@2024 by Françoise Weeks. Photograph copyright@2024 by Theresa Bear. Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

Ever since her early years living in Oregon, Weeks has embraced a mindful activity of dropping single branches of plants she finds into small, often recycled vases. “I’ve never spent much on the container,” Weeks says. Individual vases with single ferns, like the wavy fern pictured here in a cut birch vase, make for a simple but elegant table setting, she adds.

These days Weeks moves between the small delights of quick arrangements and the big impact of highly considered works. For this piece, she drew inspiration from the space under a mid-century coffee table. After noticing that she had gathered a lot of interesting moss recently, she decided on the spot to create a moss-carpet installation. “It’s perfect for an at-home cocktail party,” she says. First she layered plastic on the floor to protect the materials. Then she built a foundation with attractive barks and glued various mosses, foraged mushrooms, ferns and lichens to the base. She finished off the piece with tiny pots of violets and pansies for pops of purple.

Weeks often brings fungi into her work — both varieties she forages in the Oregon woods and types she might pick up at a farmers market. “I’m addicted to mushrooms,” Weeks says. “They are so fabulous.” Here she used a well-worn, bowl-shaped driftwood as a stage upon which to arrange a tiny forest scene — the kind of piece that invites you to come closer. She layered it with enoki mushrooms, morels, seed pods, pinecones and cotinus flowers. “I’m constantly searching,” she says.