Tis the Season! - Wreaths
I make wreaths wholeheartedly IN the moment BUT in saying that I have also thought about the idea of wreaths all year! It is nearly December and I have run out of hanging space around my house and our laundry is full of dried bracken fern.
Our wreath bases are bended and weaved grape vine prunings that we source from local wineries and our own small vines. We have also used kiwi fruit vine prunings in the past and when making a spontaneous wreath, bendable branches of any weeping tree or shrub can be used - May Bush (Spirea) as an example.
***Be mindful when cutting branches or collecting seed pods and the like that you only take what you need, never more than a third of any tree or shrub and appreciate that there are other creatures who may rely on either the pods/nuts/berries for food or branches and grasses for shelter ***
What we GROW for wreaths
-Queen Anne's Lace
What we FORAGE for wreaths
-small, immature fruits
-interestingly shaped branches
Nature offers up such an abundance of possible materials that it can be hard to narrow down our options. Texture is key for me so I love having diversity of ingredients but to simplify it for myself I choose 3-4 key players and then I add pops of interest throughout.
I gather together my 3 main foliages/flowers and make little bundles with them. These bundles are what are layered onto the wreath base. They overlap with each skewed slightly to the left of right of the first layer to give good coverage of the base. I add the special interest ingredients where I feel they fit in best - these ingredients might be the firework sparkle of a Queen Anne, the intricate Stellata pods or the Billy Button colour splash. This allows those special ingredients to really shine and not get lost within the main body of the wreath.
I love making wreaths which leave some of the base exposed. I feel this is a celebration of the inner workings, the behind the scenes and grape vines in particular with their wiry tendrils and curly ways tell such a story.
I use wire to secure the materials to the base but you can also use string or nothing at all if your base has areas for you to just poke your ingredients through the branches. Once it is hanging on your wall or door it isn't moving anywhere anyway.
Where you hang your wreath and your climatic conditions will determine how long it stays as you made it and how quickly it will start to dehydrate. If you want your wreath to stay looking as is for as long as possible you must keep it out of direct sunlight, in a cool space and out of the elements.
If using fresh ingredients use more than if you were using dried, as they will shrink and take up less space over time.
The colour they dry will depend on sun exposure/ humidity/ material type. It is ultimately one big experiment. Some things will bleach white and cream. Others may turn brown. Statice, Billy Buttons and Larkspur will hold their colour for pretty much, ever.
There are no rules to say you can't keep adding to your wreath as materials dry and there is a gap to fill. Just by popping in fresh material while it is hanging - no need to wire it - may even make for a nice weekly ritual too.