Did you know that there's a kind of baby's breath called 100 Million Stars? Or that Agnes after Dark is a deep purple strip of foliage? Until last weekend I didn't either.
While floristry has always been a mystery to me, I've always wanted to learn how to put together pretty floral 'dos' for our table, the Farm Kitchen and blog pictures. So when the lovely Sally from Jumbled, one of my favourite favourite shops here in Orange, invited me to come along to a workshop with floral designer Mikarla Bauer, it took me about one second to say yes yes please.
The idea was for Mikarla to show us all how to create beautiful arrangements for dinner parties or just little corners of our homes that need a little extra colour. With lots of Farm Kitchen events coming up the timing was perfect and I'm now looking forward to making the tables at each one extra gorgeous.
Mikarla has worked as a florist in Sydney and Berlin though is now based in the NSW Southern Highlands. Her style, in her own words is ‘loose and luxe’ and she does killer wedding flowers and even the odd edible arrangement. Mikarla's new website alone makes me want to renew my vows and have another bash at the big day all styled around her arrangements (what do you say Tim!).
And while she says jam jars still have their place on pretty tables, this clever artist is more interested in considered arrangements or 'gestures' as they say in the floral world... She uses clashing colours (or maybe there’s no such thing?), foraged foliage, unexpected textures, home grown flowers and storebought bunches to create sprawling pieces that look like they should/could/would have been painted by a Dutch master. Take a look at the gallery on Mikarla's website and you'll see what I mean.
Ideas from Mikarla on creating gorgeous flower arrangements at home:
- Use low, mis-matched bowls or even tea cups for table arrangements so everyone can see over the flowers and actually talk. Tape squares of oasis (pre-soaked in water) into your bowls and cups for an easy way to 'build' arrangements. Oasis is the green foam that florists use; and it's available at most bargain shops apparently.
- When gathering your material, look for one or two ‘focal’ flowers then use foraged foliage (leaves, grasses, berries etc) to fill around it.
- If you are creating something for a dinner party, go for the discounted open flowers, they may not last for ages but they’ll look beautifully blown and full on the night.
- Keep your arrangements ‘loose’, avoid dome shapes instead going for diagonals and asymmetry.
- Take the time to look, really look at your material and most of the time it will ‘tell’ you where it wants to go.
- Hide little seeds, apples and other natural material in recesses for extra interest.
- Back fill ‘holes’ with foliage, discarded leaves.
- Use fluro rope and even bricklayers tape (available cheaply from most supermarket or auto shops) to funk up your table and arrangements (see pics).
- When using glass vases, keep in mind that the glass should be 1/3 of the arrangement’s final height.
- You can even use pretty little water glasses grouped into arrangements of three, one or two flowers per glass is heaps. Mikarla has done this for weddings using brown paper as a tablecloth then writing love poems in and around the glasses. Sweet.
Thank you so much to everyone at Jumbled for inviting me along last Saturday. It was one of the nicest afternoons I've had in ages. Jumbled's owner Pip Brett and her team host regular workshops; sign up for their newsletter via the website so you don't miss the next one!