I cannot think you can make rules about these things. One can only have an idea of what seems good and beautiful, and then use any means to achieve it. - Constance Spry in Flower Decoration, 1934.
One step I recently took toward achieving what seems good and beautiful to me was ordering four books that I can hardly wait to devour from cover to cover.
First up, Bringing Nature Home - a recently released piece of eye candy for anyone prone to fits of obsession over flowers and home design. All flower arrangements were styled by Nicolette Owen of Brooklyn's Little Flower School. One of these days I will have a pretty little jar devoted to saving spare change and dollars to attend a class there. (I am bright green with envy over anyone able to attend the flower arranging workshop this Sunday, April 15, hosted by West Elm in NYC in honor of the book release, where participants will get hands on tutelage from Nicolette.)
A couple of pages from Bringing Nature Home, courtesy of Design Sponge:
Next up are two books featuring the afore-quoted Constance Spry - the highly influential British floral designer from the 1920s.
Constance's arrangements were decidedly wild, natural, loose and fluid at a time when extremely formal, stiff arrangements held together with wire were preferred among designers. Today, it's easy to see her influence on many of my favorite floral designers.
Constance Spry, working her nonconformist magic.
In the post "Past & Present: Constance Spry & Floral DIY", Design Sponge's Amy Azzarito notes that Constance "used materials that were usually discarded, like grasses and berries. She embraced vegetables in arrangements and preferred non-traditional containers. She would frequently raid her clients’ cupboards, pulling out serving pieces to use as unorthodox (for the time) vases."
In the same post, the wildly talented floral designer Amy Merrick calls Constance the "first lady of floral design," and notes: "Constance was ... a voracious frequenter of antique and junk shops. Her hunts for interesting vases — from rusted cans to upside-down hats — are the stuff of legend."
Based on that description, it should be clear to anyone who knows me well (or at all, really) why I was so excited to order these two books:
A small compilation of Constance Spry's arrangements (click image for source):
Flowers of Fennel and Orange Lilies, 1951
June morning, 1951
And last, but certainly not least, I'll be anxiously awaiting my copy of Design*Sponge at Home to arrive. It is chock full of home tours, DIY projects, step-by-step tutorials on everything from stripping and painting furniture to hanging wallpaper and reupholstery, before and after makeovers of rooms, spaces and furniture, and flower arranging tips (including twenty arrangements !!!).
So if you don't see or hear from me in a while...