Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Connected to Nature

Do you tend to pick up farmer's market flowers on the weekends? Grayson Handy's soon-to-be released, Flowers for the Home: Inspirations from the World Over by Prudence Designs, is filled with ideas for making arrangements with all sorts of fruit, flowers and leaves that are readily available in most places, whether it's a big flower market or the back yard.

Handy is the co-owner and creative director of Prudence Designs and Events in New York, and his focus is decidedly global. He talks about the color palettes, decorative arts, and native blooms of various countries and regions, from Japan to the American South, and then creates arrangements based on those cultural elements. Some of the ideas only require one blossom while other projects are sumptuous enough for a wedding.

As you might guess, the photography in the chapters about India and China is particularly stunning, but since I'm still riding the Bright Star wave, attracted to all things English and noticing deeply tufted leather wing chairs at every turn, I'm in the mood to look at Handy's anglophile section.

In the English Rose chapter Handy references pottery such as Grimwades transferware and tea towels by William Morris. But that's just part of it; I was impressed by the range of looks he does for each country. A primer at the back of the book offers step by step instructions for creating the arrangements and includes lists of needed supplies.

Images one, two, five, six and seven above ©Ellen Silverman, Flowers for the Home, by Grayson Handy and Tracey Zabar, Rizzoli New York, 2009. 19th-century wing chair image via Antiques of Woodstock.

Shannon Morris, museum curator at Georgia College, is also very much in tune with the natural world this fall. She now has a title for the upcoming exhibition discussed here: Transitive Geographies: Contemporary Visions of an Evolving South. And she is posting updates about the process on her blog.

Regarding the winter 2010 show, I asked Shannon if she currently has an inspiration board in her office; she said, "It it is on my to do list. I like to set up small spaces in both my home and the office. It can be anything from a sculpture to a table with a flower-filled vase where I can sit peacefully or just glance over to it and [brainstorm]."

"One of my favorite things about my Georgia College office is the big window. The Museum is housed in what was originally the library and so the window is tall with original brass hardware. I purchased the sculptures [above] from Sara Fleetwood who created an installation entitled Birds of Peace for her senior thesis exhibition. The work was inspired by her volunteer experience with the non-profit organization, Make-A-Difference Now."

Shannon explains that her concepts for exhibitions come mostly from reading art journals, books and newspapers. The visual inspirations, though, can come from a host of sources -- magazines, blogs, art museums and galleries, and even store window displays.

Once a year, she tries to make a trip to New York to see the Christmas windows, in addition to visiting the art galleries.

"On a trip last year to Seattle I spent hours in Anthropologie's downtown store. These times are important to me because they allow me to free my mind," she says.

Image nine, Donna Mintz' sculptural installation comprised of glass artifacts unearthed during a 2007 drought at Lake Lanier.

Image eleven, Anthropologie window via Maykazine.

Last store window via Anthropologie.

If, like Shannon, you appreciate artful window displays, you might enjoy the dramatic and fanciful tabletop vignettes put together for Dining By Design. Atlanta is among the cities participating in the three-part fundraising event which benefits DIFFA. Click here for details, tickets, and the complete schedule.

Personally, I like the more informal Table Hop & Taste. Tickets are $45 and allow guests to view all of the tables at their own pace while sampling wines paired with treats. This year the Hop will take place Sunday, October 11th from 1 to 5 p.m. at 349 Peachtree Hills Avenue. Shown above and below are my own pictures from Margaret Russell's table at a past DIFFA event. Isnik-inspired fabrics from Mehmet and Dimonah Iksel were used for a small tent that enveloped the tables.

So much of the Iksels' work incorporates stylized interpretations of flowers and plant life. For a nice video about their approach, visit their site. And for fun, click here to see a past vignette by Miles Redd.


Mrs. Blandings said...

A beautifully constructed post - the images in the book are amazing and the "help" section is perfect for the floral inept.

Style Court said...

Oh thanks Patricia! The instructions for the arrangements seem pretty down-to-earth.

Sarah said...

We may have to come up to Atl for the Table Hop & Taste, sounds fun!

Style Court said...

That's great Sarah!

Everyone, just in case I was not very clear, the table hop is one event out of the three events that comprise Dining by Design and it's lots of fun! Each part is great fun really. The Hop is just nice for a Sunday.

Unknown said...


Thanks again, you are so seamless in your presentation of subject matters. Now, I really want to check out the book about floral arrangements. Sounds fun and it looks beautiful!


Style Court said...

Hi Shannon -- Thank you for sharing your process with us! It's going to be a great show.

Karena said...

Beautiful post Courtney! Thank you so much for sharing...

Style Court said...

Thanks Karena!