Birkenhead Blooms, by Alyson Kessel
It was in 2005, when Alyson Kessel came to Birkenhead House and Birkenhead Villa. She stepped in at short notice to help out and really impressed with her talent and enthusiasm. It became clear that she had a passion for working with blooms in innovative and inspiring ways and was just what the hotels needed.
I love to be surrounded by flowers, but, when it comes to flower arranging, there are so many rules and regulations, so many do's and don'ts, that the craft can seem very pretentious at times, not to mention intimidating. I don't work to such restrictive conventions and with this book I intend to show you that you don't need to either. I worked in the garment design and manufacturing industry in Cape Town for over 25 years before taking my trade to southern California for a further 15 years. It was only when I arrived back in South Africa in 2002, and settled in the small seaside town of Hermanus, that I was given the wonderful opportunity to reinvent myself professionally in the field of floral design, despite a lack of formal training. I quickly transferred my passion for colour, texture and design onto an amazing new career. On a weekly basis, I provide the floral arrangements for the two magnificent Hermanus properties belonging to Liz and Phil Biden's The Royal Portfolio, which also owns Royal Malewane adjacent to the Kruger National Park and La Residence in Franschhoek. The larger of their two boutique hotels in Hermanus is Birkenhead House, the smaller is Birkenhead Villa. Both have stunning locations with unparalleled views of the ocean and frolicking whales, and, while neither requires too much embellishment, armfuls of fresh flowers do enhance the already gorgeous setting. I create the arrangements on site, and so while I work, I inevitably have a passing audience. Guests from all over the world stop to chat and admire the lovely flowers and completed arrangements, and ask lots of questions. I do my best to communicate with them, my own linguistic prowess being limited to English and French, but flowers have an international appeal and somehow we manage just fine. As many guests have expressed a desire lo adapt and recreate my arrangements at home. I thought a visual souvenir could be a great help, and so the concept of a book based on the floral arrangements of the Birkenhead became an enticing project. And Birkenhead Blooms was born. In this book, I have focused on sharing as many ideas as possible that allow you to achieve maximum impact with minimal effort (sometimes a little more effort is required than at other times), with colour combinations and the quality of blooms being of prime importance. I did not want to write a textbook - there are too many of those already. I would rather inspire you to try for yourself. If I can move you to adapt some of the arrangements that you see in this book and reinterpret them at home, then I will have accomplished what I set out to do. I have adopted a fairly minimalist style based on the impact of colour and whimsy. Naturally, I am inspired by fashion trends and they play a large part in all my decisions. [...]
This is an excerpt from the book: Birkenhead Blooms, by Alyson Kessel.
Title: Birkenhead Blooms
Author: Alyson Kessel
Publisher: Randomhouse Struik
Cape Town, South Africa 2011
ISBN 9781770078512 / ISBN 978-1-77007-851-2
Hardcover, 21 x 21, 144 pages, 150 colour illustrations
Kessel, Alyson im Namibiana-Buchangebot
Birkenhead Blooms contains easy step-by-step instructions on how to achieve beautiful flower arrangements in South African style.
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