Gathering Blossom Floral workshop

Using an array of locally grown flowers Fiona hosted this beautiful Spring workshop for a collection of florists 

Gathering Blossom Floral Workshop

A spring floral workshop inspired by the hand painted frieze in the venue, Briarcourt.

Briarcourt is a private Arts and Crafts style residence, built by Edgar Wood and owned by Vicky and Dunc.

I first met Vicky a couple of years ago through twitter, I was following their massive restoration project and contacted her when I was on the search for somewhere 'derelict' to take some images for an editorial.  Once I visited (and found THE most beautiful wall in the world - below- I am going to chain myself to this wall when the time to renovate that room!) I knew I would have to hold some classes here.

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I took inspiration from the hand painted frieze (below) in the morning room painted by Frederick William Jackson, a friend of Edgar Wood and founding member of both the Staithes group of painters as well as the Manchester School of Painters. One of his paintings was called  'Gathering Blossom' which felt a very appropriate title for a spring workshop using all British flowers, including blossom foraged from the grounds of Briarcourt. 

Frieze painted by Frederick Jackson

We had coffee and pastries in the morning room underneath the frieze and Vicky (below) talked us through the history of Briarcourt.

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The workshop was aimed at florists wanting to learn my floral style and foam free floristry. The aim for the students was to watch my demonstration then choose an area of the house that they wanted to dress, so we had a wander round some of the amazing rooms before heading upstairs to 'the wall' room for my demonstration.

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Fiona demonstrating with spring flowers
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I wanted to demonstrate that large and dramatic pieces can be created without the use of floral foam.

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large fireplace florals

After I completed my demonstration piece (above) we had lunch in the Dining Room then the students headed off to forage and find an area to work. 

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The amazing array of flowers, all locally grown were from my garden, Holme Flowers, Picked at Dawn and The Nurtured Stem.

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We had some beautiful cakes in the afternoon (Vicky's brownie is the best in the world - official!) and wrapped it all up with a glass of bubbly while everybody described why they chose their workspace and what they had created. This bought on much emotion, it was fabulous to see everybody overcome their fear of where to work and fully embrace the day.

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Thank you all for coming and thank you to Vicky and Dunc for letting us fill your house with flowers (and a good amount of mess too!).

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Images courtesy of Belle and Beau Fine Art Photography

Clem's Garden - a social enterprise

As well as the lifetime project of renovating Briarcourt, Vicky and Dunc have started a social enterprise Clem's Garden

It will be run mainly by local volunteers who are 50+ and who don't have children or grandchildren to channel their care, skills and experience into:

"We will work together to grow and sell flowers, supporting local charities and community projects with our profits. 

As well as bringing happiness to the customers who will enjoy our beautiful seasonal blooms, we can share pride in the business and the flowers we grow together; and pride in the positive difference they make."

A part of each student's fee was donated to Clem's Garden - it's a fabulous cause and they are always looking for donations of both time and money so if you feel you can contribute in any way Vicky and Dunc would love to hear from you here.