Strawberry Hill House Flower Festival 2019
Strawberry Hill House is a place that needs to be seen to be believed. When Janne first reached out to me to invite me to part of the Flower Festival she was curating with fellow creatives Leigh and Claire, I struggled to get my head around what it could possibly be. So I asked to visit the house, to get a sense of the place and oh my did it get me excited. When we arrived, we were shown in the side door and the house inside was as dark as can be, Claire explained that due to the restoration work and number of pieces of art, the shutters remain closed at all times when the house isn’t being used.
Up the spiral staircase she led us, into room after room, where we were allowed to open the shutters just a crack to take a peak at the beauty the light revealed. The house has a calm, welcoming atmosphere, despite its’ age and history, I didn’t at once feel uncomfortable or spooked. Most of the windows feature stainglass designs and this lends to the most magical of light shafts when the shutters are pulled back, rich shadows appear in corners of the rooms and with some of the rooms featuring skylights in the ceiling, it feels almost as if you are outside whilst being inside. it is designed to perfection.
When we entered the green Closet I knew I could make something special of the room. The walls are covered in green wallpaper with gold star designs and two large windows. With an open fireplace and barewood floorboards as soon as I walked in I had an idea of what I would create in the space. On two sides of the room, there are a number of old paintings set in antique gold frames, that would be the perfect back drop to the meadowscape idea that was forming in my mind.
Enlisting the help of my wonderful dried flower supplier and friend Anita from Atlas Flowers we set about designing the structure of the installation. It is important in my work that as much as possible I use only natural materials and we managed to achieve that with this display. Using reclaimed planks of the wood as the base and clay for those pesky stems that wouldn’t sit in holes, we created height by using large cuts of tree trunks in the corners of the room. I foraged for many an oxeye daisy and dried them in the weeks running up to the event and Anita bought boxes and boxes of dried grasses of which we used just a handful of stems. The end result was exactly as I had envisaged and to know that I will be reusing pretty much all the materials helps me rest easy.
We were just one of over forty florists and artists displaying their work at Strawberry hill house and I took the time the following day to capture some of the beauty. The effort that everyone went to was unbelievable and to see it all come together over the course of an evening, felt pretty special! If you have a chance to visit the house, the event is on until Wednesday 26th June 2019.
You can read more about Strawberry Hill House here if you are interested in the history, it’s quite fascinating! This event is a true testament to what can be achieved now without floral foam and sourcing only from local growers. Floristry is moving in the right direction and I for one am cheering it on!