UO GIFTED: HOW TO LAY A CHRISTMAS DINNER TABLENovember 27, 2015
Take your Christmas outdoors. Pile up on furs and blankets, light some candles and head into your garden for a magical Christmas feast. We caught up with Field of London, who are part of the slow flower movement, sourcing flowers from local and regional flower growers, to get their tips on creating a little slice of magic in your back garden this Christmas. Lizzie and Jordon fill us in on what makes for a well-dressed table, the process of drying flowers and preparing for the bid day.
UO: Can you tell us a little about your story so far?
Lizzie: ‘Field of London’ began in April 2014 and subscribed to the ‘slow flowers’ movement which means supporting local and regional flower growers wherever you happen to be in the world, where possible. It’s about making a conscious choice to support a sustainable flower industry and work with the highest quality blooms. I met Jordon working with other florists, and he got on board this year. Raw talent oozes from every pore and I am thrilled to be working with him! Based in East London, we are freelance florists who are up for any floral challenge going!
Jordon: I’ve always been fascinated by our natural world and with art and fashion, so becoming a florist was the perfect job. Then meeting Lizzie and hearing about the ‘slow flowers’ movement and how passionate she was about it made joining ‘Field’ irresistible.
UO: What do you think makes for a well dressed table?
Lizzie I think simplicity, attention to detail and a rich aesthetic are good starting points, but ultimately you want your guests to be comfortable, so nothing too rigid! I like the way a dinner table gradually gets annihilated as the evening goes on and the wine starts to flow. The more beautiful a table you start with, the more interesting the end result will be! Your tablecloth will become a canvas!
Jordon: It’s all about interaction. The table and its decorations should be playful and a talking point. It’s important not to just work the eye but all the senses. Adding smells and textures.
UO: What inspires you?
Lizzie – The ‘Slow Flower’ movement has been very inspirational, especially in the States where Debra Prinzing has been a trailblazer in creating an online network of florists and growers, so that wherever you are in the States you can contact a local florist and be assured that the flowers used are local and sustainable. She is doing amazing things for the eco-friendly flower business! I have a taste for material that doesn’t get used much: the more unusual the better. I am also inspired by dried and decaying material in all of its glory! But mostly I am inspired and interested in the place where flowers meet art.
Jordon: The vast range of tones and textures that growers are producing is incredible! With new breeds and types popping up its the constant change and variation of flowers that inspires me.
UO: Where do you source all of the flowers?
Field – One of my favourite places is RJB and Sons, just because they are such good blokes, so helpful and reasonable in every sense of the word. I get a lot of flowers delivered from Clowance, a farm in Cornwall who do an excellent delivery service. Then of course NCGM, as well as various small independent growers.
UO: Can you tell us about the process of drying and pressing the flowers for centrepieces and decorations etc?
Field – The simplest way is to hang everything upside down just as it comes into full bloom. Pressing-wise, it’s sometimes best to take out the chunkier part of the flower, then lay the flower best profile side up inside some tissue paper in a large book or flower press.
UO: What’s the most rewarding aspect of the job?
Lizzie: Looking at your final creation, knowing that all the planning, communication and hard work has led you to this point and you can finally drink it in, because it exists, and you create it out of nothing, it’s usually quite a journey, not for the faint hearted.
Jordon: The little reminders that you’re working with life. Coming back to an arrangement the following day and finding a peony has decided to burst open or a tulip has grown taller over night.
UO: Top tips on laying a Christmas table?
Lizzie: Preparing a table for Christmas dinner is like preparing for a long voyage, you have to make sure your ship is well stocked before you depart: your condiments, tools, seasonings, vessels, linens, your wines and spirits, candles etc. It’s a big operation and organization is most probably key!
Jordon: As for the flower front, it’s far too easy for an arrangement to just sit central and block a guest’s view. Make the flowers flow with everything, scatter some flower heads around the table or add herbs in the arrangement that you can all pick at and use as seasoning.
UO: What’s your favourite way to spend the holiday season?
Lizzie – I am on course to spending the holidays in the Caribbean, where I will be doing some ‘Field’ research to learn about different varieties of tropical flowers, and what the Caribbean produces to its Islanders.
Jordon: I’ll be having my frosty woodland walk with the dog, snipping some holly and berries for the table centre and wreath.
UO: What are you looking forward to achieving in 2016?
Lizzie: Freedom to create larger, wilder and more unusual arrangements and be tested creatively. More of the same really, being able to do something you love for a living.
Jordon: Having the chance to try some mad ideas and making people more aware of ‘Slow Flowers’ and how important the movement is.
Shop: Cocktail Glass Set
Photography by: Ola O Smit
Find Field of London on Instagram here