local pro spotlight: afton johnson

It’s been a little while since we last featured one of our favorite wedding pros and we’re stoked to introduce you to the amazing woman behind Fern and Curl Designs, florist Afton Johnson! We caught up with her this week to learn all about her and her beautiful creations!

Above photo and cover image by Winship Photography

Rockledge Gardens Weddings: You have a pretty interesting story about how you got into floral design. Care to share?

Afton Johnson: Craigslist. Haha – I saw the ad cruising through Craigslist for a floral designer and said, “Well I know colors and what goes together – how hard could this be?” Amanda, my now mentor, asked me to bring in artwork since I had mentioned I painted. I was going through a black and white phase…and only brought grey-scale pieces. But then she asked me to make an arrangement and I picked blues and yellows. They actually sold what I made and I got the job! That was back in 2011.

RGW: Can you tell us how your business got it’s name?

AJ: Working under Amanda meant getting exposed to lots of fun flowers, which was amazing and I still pick her brain on different things to use. We worked on one wedding that called for fern curls. They are these neat little brown stick looking things that have a literal curl for the head. It spirals into a curl and I always loved them. When trying to figure out a business name, that one kept sticking – especially since I have naturally curly hair…so it seemed fitting to go with it! It’s a different little flower, like me 🙂

RGW: How does being in Florida inspire your work?

AJ: I was born in Tacoma, WA, raised in Japan for 3 years and then resided in the Pan Handle from age 3-10, then here in Countdown County since I was 10. So this is home. I love the tropical aspect of this place. Whenever I get to use tropical florals it’s fun because sometimes I can just forage for the greens I need – usually in my boyfriend’s yard!

RGW: You describe your relationship with your clients and couples as a collaboration. Who are your ideal couples to collaborate with? What do you want couples to know about your work style?

AJ: I like to say collaborating because this is a team effort. We work together to bringing the vision to life. The ideal couples would be the ones that are open to the creative expression – like when I get reference photos of my own work, that’s always awesome. Because to me, that means you really want Me and what I create. You come to me for a reason. I never know what anything is going to look like until I’m done and I think that’s where the creative freedom comes out. One thing I’d want couples to know about my style is that I do lean towards the unconventional items and I guess that’d be who I also want to work with too. I’ll be honest, I am not a fan of baby’s breath or carnations. To me, they’re you’re everyday flower that you can grab at the grocery store. Why not treat yoself to those premium flowers for your wedding?

RGW: What is your very favorite part of the process of doing flowers for a wedding?

AJ: My favorite part would be watching everything open up over the first few days I get the flowers in. Like ranunculus. They start out tight and clumped together but man those beauties sure can unfurl and look so dang fabulous. It’s like watching everything get ready for their grand appearance almost.

RGW: You recently opened a storefront! Tell us all about it!

AJ: It’s been a poorly-kept secret but I guess it’s time to reveal it all haha. I’m actually more so using it as a design space. I need – a lot – of room to make my messes. My boyfriend gave me a part of his garage but it got warmer…and I trickled into the kitchen…and then took over the kitchen. Whoops! So I said ok, I need my own creative space. It’s small – so it isn’t anything grand, but it’s enough for me and all the babes I make. I don’t have set hours just yet, that too is in the works…but you can always catch me there the Thursday afternoon and Friday before a wedding. Otherwise, I’m a ghost. Rarely see me but see things have been moved around. I just got my lettering put up too! The best lettering tattoo artist in the land, Bwade of Studio Thirteen, drew it out for me and Amanda did the vinyl cutting! Sherwood Plaza in Satellite Beach! Dakine’s and Wicked Pineapple are too close, because this girl likes to eat.

And decorate things to eat, too! Cake by Sweet Miss V’s, photo by The Collective by Concept

Author: Elizabeth Lark-Riley