Have you ever watched a florist take a couple of stems and some leaves, suddenly twist them into a cellophane-covered work of art in a matter of seconds, and thought "I wish I could do that!"? If so, then a new series of floristry workshops for beginners could be just the thing for you.
Marianne Johnson of Sweet Pea Flowers teaches masterclasses which mix practical skills with useful professional tips for beginners and started off this season's programme with a 'Hand Tied Bouquet' masterclass at the Candid Arts Centre in Islington.
After giving advice on how to choose colours for arrangements and how to condition the flowers, in order to make them last longer, Marianne demonstrated both country and contemporary styles. The process involves composition skills as well as physical dexterity and left some participants wishing for bigger hands to keep the carefully chosen and turned blooms in place. It's important to keep checking that the dome shape of the arrangement is right, as well as being mindful of the placement of the flowers themselves while the entire arrangement is constantly twisted around. Marianne is a natural teacher, and managed to spend time with everyone in the class, while 40s music played in the background, and tea was served at the end of the day. All in all, a very genteel afternoon.
If you're the kind that comes over all Martha Stewart for the holiday season, Sweetpea are running a series of workshops on how to do festive bouquets and make Christmas wreaths and table centres. After that, if you're lucky enough to have access to garden flowers - or feel like visiting Columbia Road Market on a Sunday morning, Marianne's pick for the best quality flowers available to the public - then you'll learn skills at these workshops that you'll keep infinitely longer than the flowers.
Festive Hand Tied Bouquet and Festive Wreath workshops run throughout December, full details are available here.