The Howe Collective: Florrie

The Howe Collective are a group of creative women who are working together to boost their businesses and drive forward their efforts. They are currently working together on a pop up shop, to be held on Cupar, Fife on March 20 for more information read our piece on the group and the event here.

“Working from home allows me to involve my kids in my creativity – my 5 year old has just bound her first book – just as my Dad did with me.”

Su Florence is a hive of industry, even as she finds herself at the beginning of her creative journey with her fledgling business Florrie.

Hand binding sketchbooks, journals and notebooks as well as producing her own line of original linocut print designs, and selecting vintage pens to complement her makes, she has become a dynamo, powered on by her need to create and the community of artisans she trusts.

Her creativity started young. She grew up with photography with her dad a talented amateur and she found herself by his side, in his make-shift dark room, absorbing his knowledge.

She started bookbinding after being introduced to it at a workshop during the Westport Festival in Edinburgh over 12 years ago.

Su said: “I was doing my PhD in Organic synthesis at the time and it became a creative outlet after long days in the lab.  I’d always been a maker dabbling in various – paper crafts, soap making, and painting to name a few – over the years but it was always bookbinding that I would return to when time allowed.”

After her two children were born, the bookbinding tools started to gather dust with time being in short supply and it took another craft to draw Su back to her creative nature. It started back with her photography, which became her go-to when her children were small and morphed into lino cutting of her photos – small sections she could carve with little mess while the kids slept.

Su added: “Following a lino cutting workshop with local designer and teacher, Nicki Bradwell, my creative interest was re sparked and I started to make cards, and journals for family and friends. “Encouraged by a friend to join Instagram, I discovered a welcoming community of like-minded creatives who gave me the incentive to take my creative endeavours more seriously and attend a local craft fair as Florrie in November 2018.” 

Now she is developing beautifully bound books featuring repurposed fabrics and remanants, which inspired a path through recycling and into a style of her own.

“It simply started with a remnant of vintage Laura Ashely fabric that I was given by my Mum, and I wanted it as a book for myself,” she said. “Through trial and error, I learned how to make my own book cloth and it got me thinking that there must be lots more of these completely useable fabric remnants out there. Luckily, we have Scrapantics nearby which is a brilliant store that focus on connecting people with industrial excess and materials that can be used for new purposes. By creating book cloth this way, it allows each book to be unique.”

Florrie continues to evolve and, with the influence of her membership of The Howe Collective, Su is constantly gathering new contacts, new methods and new communities.

Sue added: “Through our initial interactions and continued collaborations, we have widened our local creative sphere, so I feel like there is a community growing here in the Howe and wider North East Fife, as well as building an online presence too.”

Su Florence

To find out more about Su’s work visit her website where you can find links to her online stores and all her social media accounts.

Crafter Recommended:

“So many!! Obviously my fellow Howe Members, and East Nook Studios, tablet & HAAR, Nicki Bradwell, Balgarvie Weaving, Last Winter, Victoria Ward Pottery, Tea With Jud and there are hundreds more.”

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