I love a styled shoot because it gives me the chance to get creative and experiment with different floristry techniques and media. So when a local shoot with an eco-friendly ethos came my way I had the perfect floristry gem up my sleeve.
I have been lodging at my parents since December whilst my house gets renovated and every morning, I take the dog for a walk in their local park. It’s a beautiful Victorian ornamental garden, full of fountains, topiary, and gorgeous stonework terraces. Nestled around the tennis court is a jumble of Hydrangea and it was the deadheads on these bushes that I started lusting over.
Every morning I would check them in disbelief after high winds and heavy rains left them intact and perfect. I was itching to pick them! These gold and bronzed, crispy blooms were teasing me! In the end, I decided to contact the Patch Manager via the local council and ask if I could have them. Bingo! I waited patiently until the end of March when all the frosts had passed. Then I joined the team of local gardening volunteers to remove the deadheads and I took my fill. 6 boxes!! They have sat in my workshop ever since, waiting for the perfect opportunity to take centre stage.
The shoot featured a team of local talented suppliers. We all worked together to create an impactful centre stage grazing table, with minimum expense and environmental impact. So no air miles, no foam and little waste. It was all about thinking creatively and making the most of locally available and seasonal wares, to create drama and a wow factor without a harmful environmental impact.
The setting was the gorgeous 17th Century Patricks Barn in Sussex. With exposed beams and raw brickwork, the barn provided the perfect backdrop for the WOW installation I had envisioned. Becky from The Garden Chef created a grazing table foodscape of dreams, a feast of savories – homegrown, seasonal and locally provided produce. With meats from theirs and neighboring farms. Wholesome treats showcased on wooden boards and platters provided by Bramble Sky. I love the natural variety of colours and textures displayed together on the rustic boards, every item looks so fresh and inviting to eat.
Scotch Eggs, quiches and cold meats sat perfectly next to fresh fruit and olives. Such a spread called for impact and drama and I knew the hydrangea heads I had been holding onto would make the perfect material for creating a bold, statement hanging cloud. Photographer Lesley Burdett captured the look and feel we were after perfectly. I love the underlying moody tones in the photographs and she manages to really show the scale and size of the cloud.
I wanted the clouds to look like they were floating, to have an almost ghostly feel to them. That they were effortlessly part of their surroundings, blending in, but striking and mesmerising at the same time. To create the perfect cloud is a labour of love, it requires time and patience to achieve the weightless feel it has. Each head has to be individually teased into place. Plus a lot of arm stamina and ladder work as it can mostly only be assembled in position.
With grazing tables growing in popularity and becoming such a styled work of art they can often get lost in a vast space and the hard work poured into them overlooked by a guests haste to eat. Investing in a hanging installation or elevated display helps frame the area and finish off the look. Adding to the wow factor, providing the perfect photo op and getting guests talking. To complete the look we wanted a sense of drama and a moody undertone. The hydrangea cloud finished off the look completely! I love the soft and organic curves these clouds portray, the natural colour and lighting indicative of a stormy sky, moody and striking. I also love how this installation is completely unique to the space and the surroundings in which it hangs.
Most importantly there is longevity to the installation. The deadheads had served their purpose in nature and were no longer required. Being dried out means they require no water and as long as the deadheads remain undamaged they can be used time and time again.
Insta handles for a dream team of talented suppliers to work with –
Food Plinths @bramblesky2014