Jason Vorse and AOO Floral Re-imagine Floral Design
Even before entering a single rose bud vase arrangement into competition at a State Fair in Castle Rock, Washington at the tender young age of eight years-old, Jason Vorse, the Los Angeles-based, internationally recognized Lead Floral Designer of AOO Floral, had already developed a passion for flowers that would dictate the course of his future. In truth, Jason was merely continuing and building upon the interest in horticulture that his great grandmother Rose, a florist herself whose name in and of itself presaged her great grandson’s future career, had nurtured in him early on in his childhood. You might even say that Jason was born with a proverbial green thumb.
“I was that dork…I was about my only friend I guess,” Vorse says with a laugh reflecting on his early forays into floral design. “Grandma was helping me at the time [but] my interest began in my own house. I helped create 35 acres of gardens surrounding our house. I’ve always helped in the garden. I’ve always done little arrangements for different parties or whatever… from an early age. Probably from like the age of four or five that’s what me and grandma and my aunts did. A few years later, after I kept competing in the Castle Rock Fair, I went onto my first job at 15 which was working in the greenhouses where I was cultivating the varieties with different scientists.”
A quick study, Vorse had earned the designation Master Gardener by the age of 16 further confirming the course that had seemingly been ordained for him from birth. After high school, he continued onto the Seattle Floral Design Institute where he studied Floral Mechanics and Design Elements and it was in this period that he began to develop the “modern with a romantic edge” approach to floral design, combining sculptural and cerebral elements, that would become his calling card.
“[When] I studied horticulture and plant physiology… I got into the plant physiology …and that was when I started to see how I could pull things apart and use them in different ways and actually design with them in a different fashion than I actually saw before,” Vorse offers in explanation of his groundbreaking work. “I use the product in a different way typically. With my knowledge of plant physiology I often don’t use things in water at all. I often separate the orchids into five or six different pieces and then reconstruct them in a different fashion. So the way that I put things back together whether it’s in their natural form or after I have basically dissected them is basically what creates the difference [between what I do and what other floral designers do].”
Vorse’s unique talent earned him not only the immediate attention of the Four Seasons in Los Angeles, whose design department he would head for five years, but also that of none other than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who commissioned the designer’s talents to brighten up a celebration for one of her royal descendants.
“Queen Elizabeth hired me to come down to Sandringham Castle the first time for Princess Beatrice’s 18th birthday,” recounts Vorse. “We transformed one of the ballrooms into a discotheque which was ridiculous. We utilized what was in the ballroom…these like $50,000 crystal containers… which was scary as all get out but it was a pretty cool opportunity to be able to really go in there and change that whole space.”
Not too long after that royal appointment, the Thai royal family came calling offering the master florist the most ‘exciting’ opportunity of his career – creating a calendar promoting tourism to Thailand that gave him the rare chance to scour the jungles of Thailand along with all the local shops and products to design a calendar utilizing the country’s natural resources. “Really jumping into the culture was probably the most exciting part for me,” he says.
A born Gemini, Vorse acknowledges that diversity is what keeps him interested in his work, saying flatly, “I get very bored if my brain is not being stroked.” It is a fact well borne out by the variety of freelance projects the floral Jedi took on in his freelance years prior to joining AOO Floral, a division of AOO Events.
“[After the Four Seasons] I started freelancing and looking for different ways to express myself,” Vorse says of his journey to his current destination. “I started to do more editorial and that really pushed me into different directions. That allowed me to do floral in a different way. It allowed me to build wedding dresses for photo shoots and to do jewelry lines. I actually worked with several different jewelry designers making prototypes out of real flesh floral before they were cast in silver, gold and diamonds. I did that for about seven years and worked freelance and now I’m kind of doing all of the above with AOO.”
With such a full and varied plate, one might be inclined to think that Vorse had already discovered enough boundaries to test, but that notion couldn’t be further from the truth according to the designer who also aspires to create “wearable art”. “Most everything I do is pretty sculptural,” he expounds. “But I think [I’d like to create] some sort of livable, wearable piece for someone like Lady Gaga because it lends itself to my style. Back in the day when Gaga was first coming out Gaga Gone Green was my goal to get after. But even a Raja get up lends itself ultimately to what I want to do. I could see that happening very flawlessly.”
And quite fragrantly no doubt.
Find out more about Jason Vorse and AOO Floral at www.facebook.com/AOOEvents.