Ashley Woodson Bailey is a self-taught photographer with a signature "florography" art print focus. Launched in 2014, each of Ashley's patterns begins with inspiration from fresh flowers. She forages, visits her floral market and partners with floral farmers to hand-select an array of blooms before studying and arranging them in her signature, wildly organic style. She captures their beauty from multiple angles over the course of several days before selecting and editing her favorite shots. As inspirations strike, she transforms the final image into patterns, prints and limited-edition products.
We spoke with Ashley about her inspiration, process and what brought her to her current work.
Velocio: Ashley, we were drawn to your photography and are so pleased to bring your art into a new medium.
AWB: I loved the idea of this collaboration from the beginning. I love to see flowers dance in the breeze and to me, through the cyclist, they will always be moving.
How would you describe your craft and focus as an artist?
My focus is definitely the flowers and creating an everlasting life for them. I pursued the flowers first, as a full time florist — I owned a business in Austin called The Byrd Collective — but the photography side of my craft found me. It was a happy accident. My husband and I were in a head on collision 6 years ago — I nearly died with a torn aorta and duodenum, as well as a broken back. The doctors told me I would never do flowers the same way again — and they were right.
In the process of healing, I also found my joy. My family, of course, is number one. Flowers and my love of beauty are a close second. I was surrounded by so much pain, and could no longer work as a large-scale installation florist like I had in the past. My body was broken, but I continued to arrange flowers. I studied the flowers in the hospital room and healed myself in the time off by arranging and photographing flowers that my husband and the kids would bring to me once I was home. AWB and all it is now is thanks in many ways to this entire life-altering day.
At the time I was very upset to lose what I loved, but in the end I love working with the flowers on my own terms.
Where do you find inspiration?
On the runway, in museums, through travel and always through nature.
Cycling is a sport that appreciates aesthetic, beauty and exploration. Cycling allows a person to see the world through a different lens--we often visit new countries by way of bike or even view our own neighborhood differently as it allows us to observe through so many of the senses. If you were to take in a place via a bicycle, where would it be and why?
Amsterdam — so I could ride through the fields of flowers.
There’s a fun trend on social media within the cycling world to collect a #roadbouquet while out riding: the little joys of nature plucked along a journey or adventure. What would your ideal road bouquet consist of?
Oh gosh, it would depend where I was. I am from Texas so I would love to gather a bouquet of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush.