Going Dutch...with Flowers

25 November 2016

On a recent trip to London I was lucky enough to see the Dutch Flowers exhibition at the National Gallery. But what stopped me in my tracks wasn’t inside the gallery but outside, on the gallery’s west lawn: A giant living floral installation produced by Funnyhowflowersdothat.co.uk that towered over 6 metres high and was made using 26,430 fresh cut flowers. It was truly an awe-inspiring floral display of epic proportions; that took its inspiration from Dutch artists’ still life paintings. 

I could have stood staring up at that floral masterpiece all day long but instead, full of passion and enthusiasm for what I saw, I decided to enrol on Jay Archer’s Dutch Masters Floral Design Course!

Of course, it wasn’t for purely selfish reasons that I set off to Jay’s beautiful flower school in rural North Hampshire. We have seen a real trend for maximalist cascades of flowers at many of our weddings and an airy, elaborate mix of flowers taking centre stage in bride’s bouquets and table centres. Pinterest is bursting with this type of aesthetic and our customers are choosing to use flowers and foliage typical of the style and era of these iconic paintings.

So, ever eager to develop my skills and invigorate my creativity I set off, excited to learn more.

Jay’s course focussed on using an assortment of seasonal, English grown, flowers and foliage in contrasting, bright colours. I was like a child in a sweet shop, surrounded by delphiniums, hydrangea, clematis vines, dahlia, garden roses and lots of stunning foraged foliages.

We first studied work from artists such as Maria van Oosterwijck, Jan van Huysum and Ambrosius Bosschaert the Elder, before choosing from a selection of fruit, flowers and foliage to create our own floral work of art.

There’s certainly a very specific look and style to this type of arrangement. A low, wide, asymmetrical grouping of flowers that is wildly extravagant; erupting from low-footed urns with vines and tendrils reaching out in all directions.  Set against a dark backdrop, they are really quite hauntingly indulgent – and I loved it!

In my arrangement (pictured below) I used garden roses, crocosmia, pampas grass, delphinium, dahlia, euphorbia, physalis, grevillea and lots of other flowers. But, Dutch paintings were filled with many different kinds of flowers, so the style can be applied to all your favourites.

Jay’s course has given me plenty of new techniques and ideas for our designs at The Flower Lounge and I can’t wait to create some wildly romantic pieces for the winter wedding season!