Flor Unikon at the Vintage Wedding Fair – Chiswick Town Hall, June 2013

On a mid-summer Sunday a collective of specialists in Vintage wedding dresses, accessories, entertainment, catering, and of course flowers, gathered at the fabulous Chiswick Town Hall in leafy Turnham Green for the summer Vintage Wedding Fair.

We adore vintage fashion and design and were delighted to present our latest collection of retro bouquets and table decorations.

We love the work of Ellie C Atelier whose chic designs are brought to life by a very talented seamstress, her own mother!! Our table decoration featuring Calla lilies and Flocks provides a restful background against the lace and silk gowns.

The summer season is a wonderful period for colourful flowers, from Sweet William, Astranthia to Paeonies.

Our head florist Pasi created most of the amazing floral designs for today’s show and was aided by our creative junior florists Khin and Aya respectively.

The Sweet Pea Pomander in purple Lisianthus and lavender Sweet Peas was a big hit with our visitors.

We were very proud of our Daliah forest. These stunning red blooms really brought the joy of summer to our show stand.

Chiswick Town Hall has some beautiful deco features including the colourful Peacock design stain glass window.

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The Affordable Art Fair – Hampstead, June 2013

During a few sunny days in the middle of June a corner of Hampstead Heath was transformed in to a pop-up gallery that delighted both the young and mature art enthusiast.

The Garden

We created a stunning garden and floral display for the third Affordable Art Fair in North London.  Our brief was – an elegant garden with larger blooms to create a colourful setting against the grey carpet and giant sculptures on display.

Verbena, Digitalis [Fox Glove], and Primula Vialli graced the main entrance.  And amongst the cool sculptures [below] we placed [left] Euonymus and Solanum [right] Pink Verbena, Spanish Daisy and Fuchsia with ivy.

Wine Bar Decoration for Laithwaites Wines

Avalanche Roses, Gladioli, Thistles, and Aliums decorated the central bars to great effect.

The Artists:

What we really love about The Affordable Art Fair is the cross section of styles and art mediums across each gallery. The AAF arena is a great opportunity for both up and coming and well established artists to display their work to a relaxed and appreciatative audience.

Kristy Mitchell draws inspiration from the stories and belief in wonder that she felt as a child. And her passion for design means that each image includes costumes, props and sets – all personally crafted, to create a photographic masterpiece.  We really were wowed by her magical and mystical collection of photographs.

Dean Melbourne describes his work as melodramatic, theatrical and epic and adds that his images lie somewhere between reading and book and watching a film. We certainly feel that his ‘The Fall of the Majestic Elk’ captures the drama of a hunt set against the background of a grand operatic stage.

Beckie Reed famous for her layered technique, e.g. high glossed tree trunks, fluid branches, and dappled light to create beautiful and naturalistic paintings.

Andrew Painter has created a collection of comical and fun images that surely can’t fail to draw a smile.

Jacky Tsai is probably more famously known for his iconic floral skull created for Alexander McQueen’s menswear collection. The combination of flowers and a human skull may seem bizarre but we believe this is a thought provoking sculpture that will have both critics and fans pondering over for years to come.

George Maraziotis comments that his passion for art keeps him alive and a way of fighting death. His themes are about communication, the importance of travelling and new experiences, remembrance, pain and loneliness. We personally feel that all of these themes have been beautifully captured in his painting ‘Theofania’.

Karen Silve’s ‘Market 33′ was one of the most lively paintings at the Fair. We love the playful and happy textured colours.

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Made in Clerkenwell, Craft Central – May 2013

A wide range of artists and crafts people gathered at two of Craft Central‘s design studios on Clerkenwell Green and St John’s Square for a four day show case of talent.

There were too many talented people to feature in this article but the one’s that really attracted our attention were Nahoko Kojima, Suet Yi, Silphi, Love Bessie and Quinton Designs.  Thanks to you all for creating a wonderful and magnetic display for fans of Clerkenwell Crafts.

Nahoko Kojima‘s handmade Japanese paper cut sculpture ‘Cloud Lepoard’ really wowed the crowds. This complex piece, hovering in mid-air, dominated the ground floor showroom to stunning effect.

The wire sculptures from Quinton Designs amazed us also. We loved their horse and dog sculptures for their realism and cute factor.

We loved Silphi’s stylish Jewellery designs and their chic displays. The choice of shapes, colours and patterns were very pleasing to the eye.

The illustrated ceramics by Suet Yi were enchantingly simple and magical and would make wonderful images for children storybooks.

We adored the camp and girly imagery from Love Bessie designs. Their selection of creative designs was one of the most colourful we came across this evening.

Ham made designs brought to mind the imagery of Arthur Rackham. Their delightful silhouette collection of pictures, cards and ceramic designs are surely to become highly collectable in years to come.

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Symbols and rituals of Easter

Preface

Easter has a different meaning for everyone, whether you are a Christian who follows the rituals of lent, palm sunday etc, or a person who simply enjoys the festive holidays. But what are the origins of this ancient festival, its symbols and legends?

The Easter Festival

The oldest and most important festival in the Christian calendar concludes in a celebration held on Easter Sunday. This is also a time when Christians and non Christians come together with their families, share a meal and most likely gorge on chocolate! Scripture tells us that it was on this day that Jesus came back to life after being crucified, who then visited his family, friends and disciples.

At Easter time Christians remember the last week of Jesus’ life known as ‘Holy Week’. It also breaks the forty days fast of ‘Lent’.

Easter Flowers

Daffodills symbolise new beginnings and rebirth. It is believed a gift of daffodils ensures happiness for the recipient.

White lilies [Lilium Longiflorum] have come to represent a spiritual renewal at Easter. They are commonly used to decorate Christian churches during the religious celebrations. White Easter lilies also symbolise joy, hope and inspiration for the coming Spring season.

Tulips come in such a wide pallet of colours and therefore are an ideal choice for home decoration and Easter bouquets. They also represent love, passion and belief.

Hot Cross Buns

The traditional hot cross bun, with spices, dried fruits and the cross markings is a tasty addition to the Easter fayre. However there is a deeper level of symbolism that may not be obvious to everyone, e.g. for Christians the sign of the cross symbolises the crucifixion of Christ. The ritual of eating ‘cross buns’ is also thought to date back to the Anglo-Saxon period where they were baked for Spring celebrations. Back then, the bun symbolised the moon and the cross represented the moon’s four quarters.

The Easter Egg

There are a variety of myths that surround the simple egg and although the rituals may vary the common theme seems to be that eggs are an emblem of fertility and life, a sign of re-birth or a new beginning. At a deeper level this ties in with the Christian belief that Christ died on the cross to allow mankind to experience a spiritual re-birth. Hence around the Easter period Christians celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

Birds eggs in particular were originally given as gifts to celebrate the Spring season. They were painted in bright colours, often elaborately decorated, to reflect the vibrancy of Spring.

Over the years artificial eggs became more common and replaced the tradition of giving birds eggs. The origin of chocolate eggs  began in the 19th century and has become a global ritual in today’s, rather commercial, Easter celebrations.

Egg Rolling

The true meaning of this Easter Monday ritual isn’t fully understood. It is said that Pagans rolled eggs in early Spring to bring new life to the land.  A Christian theory suggests that egg rolling symbolises the stone being rolled away from Christ’s tomb.

The Easter Bunny

The pagan festival of Eostre [Easter] was named after the Saxon goddess of Spring. Anglo Saxon legend tells us that Eostre magically transformed a wounded bird into a hare so it could survive the next winter. When the same hare discovered it could lay eggs it made a gift of them to the goddess who had saved him. This gave birth to the symbolic tradition of the Easter rabbit or hare.

Easter Bonnets

The tradition of wearing decorative headware for the Spring and Easter celebrations dates back centuries.  In the middle ages the arrival of Spring was celebrated by wearing a headress, circular in form, and adorned with fresh greenery and flowers. For the ancients the circle represented Earth orbiting the sun and the circular seasonal cycle. In the Christian tradition, following the end of lent, luxury items could then be purchased. To celebrate adults and children dressed in new clothes, also symbolising a new beginning. It also became popular for women and girls to decorate straw, felt and silk hats with fresh flowers, blossom branches and leaves. Today the tradition of using fresh blooms and foliage has died out but the fashion for wearing hats seems to have revived thanks to the talented milliners and celebrities who wear their creations.

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‘Gets Hitched’ at Craft Central – wedding inspirations

Preface

The Spring 2013, ‘Gets Hitched’ at Craft Central UK showcased the designs of a variety of crafts people and designers. These included Wedding Dress designers, Jewellers, Hat makers, Print Specialists and DJ, Wedding Smashers. Over 60 designers presented their work to future brides and the quality and variety was amazing. We can only offer the highlights, i.e. present those we feel stand out from the crowd.

Wedding couture

We are great fans of tailored couture and loved the designs of Melanie Potro whose made to measure range includes plus sizes; and Federica Bruno who specialises in embroidered fabrics to great effect.

Wedding inspired hats

Two millinery designers caught our attention, Bailey Tomlin whose tiaras were very eye catching; and Bee Smith whose work beautifully captures vintage glamour.

Wedding Jewellery and Accessories

For delicate fairy-like craftwork you must seek out the creations of Hot 100 designer, Sian Bostwick . We love her butterfly necklaces, earrings and brooches.

Rosie Weisencrantz specializes in woven vintage necklaces and headbands that will had a chic touch of nostalgia to any vintage wedding.

Illustrator James Brown cleverly incorporates romantic and nuptial themes into his print productions; thereby making them ideal for wedding posters, promotions and invitations.

Finally, Jodie Ruffle of Ruffle Ruffle incorporates drape and tailoring into her clothing designs. They are beautifully cut and we love the creative way she uses materials such as chiffon, silk, wool, leather, metal and even plastic!

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Floral Decoration for Craft Central UK – ‘Gets Hitched’

Craft Central UK’s launch of the Spring 2013 ‘Gets Hitched’ gave us an opportunity to show case our amazing wedding inspired decorations.

The wedding bouquet

We love to experiment with colour and on this occasion we used – peach/orange, lime green and dark purple leaves as a background for the bridal bouquets.

Wedding Flower vases

The doorway was framed by long metal vases with spiralling Willow towering above a large bed of pink hydrangeas, with fragrant cascades of pink and white jasmine.

The interior windows we decorated with towers of Aliums, fragranced by Eucalyptus, with a base of sherbet orange Gerberas, pom pom pink Carnations placed on a bed of scrolled Aspidistra leaves.

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The Affordable Art Fair, Battersea – Spring 2013

Fourteenth year of  The Affordable Art Fair at Battersea

The Affordable Art Fair is a much sought after setting for artists to exhibit, promote and sell their latest works. ‘Something for everyone’ [as quoted in the latest Affordable Art Fair brochure] is the perfect description for the latest affordable collections, bringing to our attention well established artists and newcomers, some of whom have never exhibited work before.

The highlights

Out of the hundreds of gems on display we have chosen a few select works to appreciate and examine in more depth.

Jane Perkins recycles everyday objects to recreate world famous paintings. The portraits of Mona Lisa, Marylin Monroe, Queen Elizabeth II and more recently, ‘Girl with a pearl earring – After Vemeers’ have all been realistically constructed from coloured baubles, jewellery and buttons.  Her work demands that the first viewing is appreciated from a few metres away and then by moving closer the viewer can marvel at the ‘pixel like’ details that make up the whole.

Itamar Jobani a sculpture installation artist works with a range of mediums from cardboard to wood. His latest work ‘The Scream’, made from hundreds of layers of plywood, feels disturbing in the way it realistically portrays the emotion of the subject. His gaping jaw seems to reveal a winding staircase taking the viewer to a mythological underworld.

Johan Thunell creates Raku [Japanese pottery] and stoneware sculptures, taking inspiration from Japanese and English culture. His most recent work, ’1000 heads’ is a man and beast collection of figure heads, some gargoyle-like in appearance, and others Kabuki inspired.

Christy Keeney’s figurative ceramics cleverly incorporate two mediums, sculpture and drawing. His work has been described as investigations into the human condition. A case in point is the expressive ‘Tall head’ that could also be entitled ‘Private concerns’.

Kate Richardson’s ‘Broken Angel’ reminded us of the quote by G.K.Chesterton, ‘The reason angels can fly is because they take themselves lightly. Is this messenger feeling despair over the fact he may be grounded for ever, no longer to feel the freedom of flight?

Paul Kerr writes that his paintings are an attempt to reveal and peel back the truth of the painted subject to the viewer.  For us ‘Wounded Bird’ illustrates the process of loss. The sad girl appears to be fondly stroking the blackbird and comforting herself in the process.

Jennifer Watt has created a sculpture ‘Dove I’ that evokes a sense of joy and freedom. If this was a still from a film we wonder whether the next scene would see the girl casting the bird to the sky and watching its flight with wonder and admiration.

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Flor Unikon at The Affordable Art Fair – Battersea Park, March 2013

Flor Unikon’s collaboration with The Affordable Art Fair

The London Affordable Art Fair [AAF] has become a popular tri-annual cultural event for art lovers of all ages. It is incredible to believe that the very first AAF fair began in Battersea in 1999 and now in 2013 it has a presence in fourteen cities, across four continents. Flor Unikon has collaborated with the fabulous London AAF team, now for the eighth season, to create an external garden and a variety of interior floral creations. The front entrance at the Battersea Fair has historically been an extension of the interior galleries featuring sculptures and contemporary seating. Our aim has always been to create an inviting and sympathetic space for visitors/potential buyers to relax, dine and socialise.

Inspiration for the ‘Urban garden’

For this season we took inspiration from AAF’s educational theme, ‘The Colour and the Shape’, i.e. an exploration of the pattern and symbols in art. We used a variety of bright colours, shapes, textures and mediums in the formation of our ‘Urban Garden’ i.e. – a miniature pond and stream with stones, floating petals and trailing ivy, lively garden beds of Primulas, herbs, Ardisia, Euonymus and Laurel.

Interior floral decoration

We created two tall installations for the front hall ticket office and information desk, aptly named ‘Topsy turvy garden’ – e.g. we hung white amaryllis upside down on four sides of a pedestal, and topped and tailed each planting space with the wild planting of Wax flowers and Veburnum.

Laithwaite’s wines also invited us back to decorate their two temporary bars; keeping in mind their pink and green logo we created two grand arrangements ‘Anemonie forest’ featuring purple Aliums, pink Anemonies, Wax flower and greenery and ten miniatures for the poser tables.

As usual the feedback from staff and visitors has been incredibly warm and positive which in turn has spurred us on to create even more incredible displays for future AAF events.

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Mother’s Day Cards and Flowers

Our collection of floral and female character cards are ideal for Mother’s Day. All our cards are handcrafted in our workshop and can be tailored to suit the occasion, e.g. we can incorporate the words ‘Mother’ or ‘Mother’s Day’ with each of our designs.

Our floral creations can also be made according to the taste and lifestyle of the recipient, e.g. not all mum’s like pink and so a crisp and chic collection of white perhaps or shades of cream, orange or purple can equally be appealing.

The fish bowl of flowers [above] is a beautiful blend of pink, purple and lemon. This would make a great table centre piece.

If your mum is in to vintage-ware we can compose her flower arrangement in one of our vintage bowls, vases or jugs.

We love the blend of wax flower and avalanche roses in this grand arrangement. The avalanche rose is the perfect choice for making a statement. They are also famous for their longevity and therefore with care and attention, i.e. cut the stems every few days and replenish the water, can be enjoyed for several weeks.

Specific requests for flowers that we may not always have in stock can also be made a week in advance. Mothering Sunday is one day of the year where our mum’s can be made a fuss of; and so by purchasing her favourite blooms you will give her pleasure for many many days.

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‘Head to Toe’ fashion designs at Craft Central

Craft Central, www.craftcentral.org.uk has just re-launched its gallery space to great effect with an exciting exhibition of contemporary millinery and shoe designs.  ’Head to Toe’ is an amazing showcase of designers who have created impressive sculptural forms and designs, using very innovative materials including – perspex, kimono fabric, and cotton reels to traditional fabrics such as – wood, leather, silk and felt.

We were asked to decorate the exhibition rooms in the simplest way possible so that the viewing eye wouldn’t be distracted from the main exhibits. We chose white Amarylis displayed in black vases to create a calm and natural ambience.

Our vase of Amarylis and this chic chapeaux of lily shaped flowers, [see above], complement each other brilliantly.

The ‘Bob’ styled black felt hat in the foreground conjures up for us the 60′s world of Mary Quant.

Hailee Drew has created an interesting installation, ‘Ara’, [above left]. We love the way each mirror reflects small sections of the hats and shoes on display. The creepy but chic hats created by Martina Bohn, www.martinabohn.com [above right] have been aptly titled, ‘Scorpion Cocktail’, ‘Spider Cocktail’ and ‘Grasshopper Beret’ respectively.

We adore ‘Cotton Reel’ shoes by Hetty Rose, www.hettyrose.co.uk created from Japanese kimono fabric, leather and cotton reels!!

‘Thorn Tiara’ by Bailey Tomlin [above picture], www.baileytomlin.com really stood out for us, not just in terms of design but by the way its thorns cast biblical shadows on to the show stand.

This exhibition has been very cleverly curated and assembled and ties in beautifully with 2013′s London Fashion Week.

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