I recently held a workshop in Fernwood Studio about creating a festive autumn vine wreath. We started with commercially-made vine wreaths so the students got to create their unique wreath choosing from a wide assortment of dried material and foliage.
I have created a slideshow of the workshop, including photos of the beautiful wreaths the students created. The one I did is shown at the end. If you click on an image, the caption will appear.
Each student had a vertical board to work on. I prefer wreath design done as the wreath will be displayed, versus laying the wreath flat on a surface. Hot glue is the adhesive of choice as it sets so quickly. Each station was supplied with extra glue sticks, water for burned fingers, hot glue gun, and pipe cleaner to mark the top back. That is a trick I’ve learned from the School of Hard Knocks-it’s important to know because if it gets hung any other way, it will seem off and unbalanced.
I started with a wreath and added some background foliage, Then I went around the wreath, adding other textures and colors. I told them to start with large items, then gradually add medium size pieces, and finish with accents of small items (such as acorns and eucalyptus pods). We talked about decorating the wreath all around or in sections, e.g., 8pm-1am as on a clock face. I spoke about spacing similar items somewhat in an even fashion and mentioned it was OK to have 2 similar items placed together , as long as one is smaller than the other and is angled differently….not to place them side-by-side like tin soldiers.
I wanted my wreath to look rather natural and uncontrived, as though it had been laying on the ground and Mom Nature naturally dropped the cones, nuts, and pods. Some materials used were: corn cobs, dried sunflowers, berries, hemlock cones, kousa dogwood pods, lichen, branches, crocosmia seed pods, dried bracken fern, and oak leaves. Some had been cut fresh the morning of the class but as I know how to dry flowers and foliage successfully, I knew they would dry successfully in the wreath.
I also mentioned that wreaths can also be used for table centerpieces with a grouping of pillar candles, hung horizontally as a chandelier with clip-on candles, or placed vertically in a large urn and treated as a “topiary” look.
Fernwood Studio will feature another wreath workshop soon. This one will be a base of evergreen boughs which I will create in my outside studio using a wreath “machine.” Students will add additional specialty greens, cones, pods, festive embellishments, and ribbon/bows. Photos will be posted afterwards.