House Rules: How to have flower power

Master florist Lamber de Bie will give a talk on Culture Night at the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny

Master florist Lamber de Bie with Vase Attack,  a special floral installation as part of the VASE: Function Reviewed exhibition

Master florist Lamber de Bie with Vase Attack, a special floral installation as part of the VASE: Function Reviewed exhibition

 

It might seem like a distinctly old-fashioned life skill, and it’s true that in generations past, young women were taught to do it as what Jane Austen would have called “an accomplishment”, but who today, hand on heart, can say they truly know how to put together a decent flower arrangement?

Some people just have the knack. There are those that can effortlessly plonk some random hedgerow cuttings and weeds into a jam jar and suddenly it looks as if a Japanese Ikebana master had been at it.

Then there are the rest, we who blanch at the thought of chicken wire and florist’s foam, have no clue about tying up stems or wrapping leaves and whose greenery sullenly droops rather than artfully drapes.

Whichever group you happen to fall into, you will find a little inspiration from next Thursday at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny, where Dutch master florist Lamber de Bie will be adding his crafted cuttings to some of the vases already on display as part of the Verdant Vessels exhibition.

De Bie, who possibly prefers the term “floral sculptures”, will be giving a talk at 6pm on Culture Night on Friday September 16th, and there will ll also be a live demonstration on September 22nd. Two different approaches will be shown over two weeks – Shape and Form, followed by Heritage and Materials, which sound a far cry from my stalwart staples Wilted Roses and Tired Tulips.

The former (not my roses and tulips) will be on show until September 28th – see nationalcraftgallery.ie.

Meanwhile, if you happen to be in London any time until October 15th, check out the alternative: glorious bouquets that will never die, courtesy of Nick Miller’s Vessels: Nature Morte exhibition at Art Space Gallery on St Peter’s Street.

A version of this was seen at the RHA last year.

Miller paints vases of flowers as if they were intimate portraits, keeping them lusciously, eternally alive in oils. Now there’s some arrangement.

See artspacegallery.co.uk or nickmiller.ie for more.

Gemma Tipton

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