A Dutch Masters Lesson

I’ve had the good fortune to travel these past few weeks. For the first time, I left on a trip without knowing quite when I’d come back! I’ve visited seven countries, taken many trains (all of them better than Amtrak), and given my high school French a workout bien sûr!

Of course, this means I’ve been away from the farm for weeks. I’ll be honest with you, it’s been great. The weeks leading up to my trip were crammed full of fall cleanup work, and I was feeling more than a little burnt out. We’ve all been there, right?

One thing I was *incredibly* excited to do on this trip was take a lesson with a Belgium-based florist I really admire, Emily Avenson of Fleuropean.

Emily’s arrangements are dynamic, full of motion and texture. She crafts floral compositions with amazing depth, and photographs them to look just a Dutch masters still life painting. By the way, all the photographs in this post were taken by Emily!

Emily’s demo centerpiece during our lesson

I have a background in sculpture, and I love to experiment and hone my arranging skills solo. But, spending some time to focus on technical skills with an expert has given me so much inspiration and expanded my flower-arranging horizons. We made centerpieces and bouquets together, and both were wonderful.

Plus, I cannot wait to try to replicate Emily’s swoon-worthy photo setup at home. I mean, that light?? Those shadows?? Un. Real.

Because I visited Emily during the winter there weren’t many options available for local fresh flowers–so we used mostly dried materials instead!

I loved working with dried materials. They don’t need to be in water, so there is a world of possibilities for arranging with them. Plus, they will last forever, so you can show them off at multiple holiday dinner parties chez vous.

I didn’t dry much of what I grew this past season, but I will definitely do more drying next year so that I can offer you long-lasting winter arrangements and wreaths.

After a long season of farming, then a few weeks of flower-free vacation time, it was a joy to take this lesson. I feel invigorated and excited for the year of flowers ahead.

I hope that you, too, have a chance to slow down this holiday season and do something that gives you new energy for whatever’s next!

Samantha is the farmer and owner at Sea Change.

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