Colors from the Earth (Natural Fabric Dye} Part 2

1212Dying fabric with my hands and products derived from the earth was an experience I will not forget. Each new dye product and the color created gave me just a small insight to the methods in use long before dye was mass produced. The turmeric was especially vibrant and so rewarding to use on every material I chose. The day of the flower dye shoot a sweet little moth came up and rested on a Marigold the same orange as its wings. It was a glorious afternoon. I encourage anyone with curiosity on the subject to try something as simple as using the typically discarded water that comes from soaking black beans (the dark blueish water) and boiling or even sun dying any fabric in a jar for a day or several. I actually put the beans in the ground after boiling them and they sprouted immediately and thrived.

The natural products used for dying were:

Coffee, turmeric, paprika, orange Marigold, Queen Anne’s Lace, Black Eyed Susan, blueberry, blackberry, black bean, Chamomile flower, and Stock flower in both magenta and purple.

Some of the fabric colors you see here were created with various mordants to seal in the color.  The mordant combinations were different for each color batch, but were primarily one of either salt, alum, vinegar, and cream of tartar. These are the safer of the mordants and can all be found in the spice section of the grocery store. Some can change the color of the dye significantly. Research is key for selecting the right mordant for the color effect desired.

Photographs By: Annabella Charles

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Dying with Flowers {and other Naturals} Part 1

1In August there was a lot of activity in the studio. Our intern Annaliese brought something magical with her and a large part of that was the fact that to teach, I had to stretch my mind and imagine what it was like to learn something completely new. The atmosphere was alive with ideas and many art mediums colliding. Her love of pottery mixed with my love of botanicals was an explosion of creativity that resulted in spending a week of obsessive study on the art of dying fabric with natural materials. Humans these days are really reaching back out to nature and I must admit that after the extremely satisfying results of a few test recipe batches, I was hooked. I spent every spare minute boiling and sun dying fabrics in jars, big pots, copper basins, and the porch pretty much looked like an alchemists paradise. I talked about it constantly, spent hours online reading natural blogs for recipes and my hands were purple and blue. One night after leaving a bowl of Turmeric outside next to a bowl of blackberry dye, a racoon came and dug through the yellow powder and then the blue water making green stripes on my fabric! After the mania of creating every color I could in less than a week, Annabella Charles brought her camera and the three of us had an incredible 2 day summer session. The results were so perfect in telling the story that it is split into three posts:

1) Dying with Flowers

2) The Colors of Nature

3) A Potter’s Journey

The recipes are not exact. The best way to learn to dye with naturals, flowers, spices, beans, vegetables, and fruits is really in the trial and journal of your methods. It’s a lot of chemistry but the variables are your water source composition, pot metals, nature of the materials, fabrics, and mordants; none of which are going to be exactly the same as what I used in the photos.  I was able to get multiple colors out of a single fruit like blackberry using different pots, heat sources, mordants, and fabrics. The best way to document your dying recipes is in a journal with samples put right into the page. I created a sample journal, but would recommend at least one page per color or dye method. This was incredibly fun! If I weren’t so consumed with flowers in my life I would enjoy the life of some of the premier natural ribbon and fabric dying companies of our time. The one that is on every bouquet these days being Silk and Willow because of their gorgeous natural colors and safe dying methods. Silk and Willow is known to collect Avocado pits from restaurants just to recycle a bit more and make some of the most earthly yet ethereal colors from them. They are worth every penny to wrap that bouquet that makes you want to weep over its beauty, the extra finishing touch with perfect imperfections no factory could manufacture.

The steps to dying are simple once you get the hand of the process.

  • Create the dye by boiling your dye product and water.
  • Strain out any large particles.
  • In a separate pan boil your fabric in water and add the mordant.
  • Boil mordant and fabric for at least and hour and allow to cool.
  • Remove the fabric from the mordant and wring it.
  • Some mordants may need an additional water rinse.
  • Add the fabric to the strained dye and boil for an hour or desired color saturation time.
  • Remove the fabric from the dye, rinse, and air dry.
  • NOTE: Colorfastness is not guaranteed so please don’t wash hand dyed fabrics with other clothing until certain it will not bleed. I typically hand dye items I wash alone such as table cloths or ribbons (for bouquets) that are hand washed only and ironed.
  • Here is a link to a more utilitarian tutorial

This concept and all of the lessons were a complete indulgence in creation. Please enjoy the work of our team and photographs by Annabella Charles Photography!

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{Click here to see Part 2 of this post}

Sweet Violet Magazine Cover

Last Summer we worked on a concept shoot around the idea of having one’s closes friends join in a sample party at a bridal boutique. With cake, champagne, flowers, and of course dresses, everyone in a bride’s inner circle could participate in the experience. The results were so beautiful and the color yellow could not have been more perfect. When creating editorials, we have to look ahead past the current colors everyone is mooning over since the publications typically take a year to occur. Yellow hit the spot and was a sunny change that looked absolutely perfect on the cover of Sweet Voilet Magazine’s current issue. There is such a reward in having people respond to the ideas that take so much energy and effort to bring from a concept to reality. The team really pulled it together for a light and airy pairing with a few whimsical elements just for fun. Beautiful dresses and hair and makeup took the center stage as the sun filled boutique provided the perfect venue for a little bridal soiree.

Photography: Annabella Charles

Boutique and Dresses: Maggie Louise Bridal

Prop Styling: Everbloom Designs

Cake: The Flour Garden

Rentals: Prop Cellar Vintage

Hair: Melissa Brandon

Makeup: Gia Marina

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Spring Sampling

Maggie Louise bridal boutique in Memphis, TN hosted a designer trunk show for a rising star designer named Olia Zavozina. Social Graces invited us to come create a high end sampling of floral designs for all of the brides eagerly awaiting to try on the dresses. We adorned the store with a little bit of everything from large urns filled with Olive branch to precious boutonnieres to touch. The wooden table and rentals from Mahaffey and Prop Cellar were decorated with all of our favorite offerings such as hand poured candles and spring fruit. The favorites were the enormous Japanese ranunculus that stole the spotlight in every arrangement and even took center stage on the feminine and demure cake design by our favorite Laura Jackson of The Flour Garden. The day was a huge success for brides who purchased designer gowns and got to have private consultations with the same woman who created them, who also happens to dress celebrities for the red carpet!

Between the first sign of Spring dogwood flowers, happy brides holding bouquets and posing for photos with family, and champagne popping there were nothing but moments of joy shared all around the room.

Luminous Photography as always from Anabella Charles

Gowns: Olia Zavozina

Boutique: Maggie Louise

Coordination and Design: Social Graces

Cake: The Flour Garden

Stationary: Emily McCarthy

Rentals: Mahaffey Tent and Party

Yellow Table, China, Crystal, and Flatware: Prop Cellar Vintage Rentals

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The Flowerwild Workshop {Part 2}

See that golden hue
Burning in the west
My dreams are with that color
My dreams are the sun

…My dreams are with the sun

-Dawn Michelle

1A Workshop created and directed by: Kate Holt of Flowerwild

Photography: Jose Villa

Featured in: Style Me Pretty

Hair and Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup

Paper Goods and Calligraphy: Feast

Props: Found Vintage Rentals

Location: Mayacamas Ranch, Calistoga, California

Model: Barbara of Scout Model & Talent

Bouquets: 17 Talented Designers including Haute Horticulture {Karin}

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Additional Information:

photographer: Jose Villa Flowers: Rachel Bowes of Finch and Thistle Events | flowers: Angie Tomey of Little Boy Flowers | flowers: Pearl & Godiva | flowers: Anne Bowen Dabney of Charleston Stems | flowers: Amy Reed | flowers: Shilhi Seibel of Passion Roots | flowers: madalyn covey | flowers: Ashlyn Gibben Hobbs of Stratford Events | flowers: Mandy Grace | flowers: Sarah Neal of L&S Design co. | flowers: Jahana Bilal of White Squid | flowers: Shannon Mahoney of Thistle and Honey Floral | flowers: Karin Woodward of Haute Horticulture | flowers: McKenzie Powell Designs | flowers: katie wachowiak of Reinhardt Blooms | hair and makeup: TEAM Hair & Makeup | calligraphy: feast calligraphy | creative direction and design: kate holt – flowerwild | model: scout model and talent | prop rentals: Found Vintage Rentals | venue: mayacamas ranch | wardrobe: bhldn

A Touch of Southern Style {Wedding UK Magazine}

There are no words that can describe how excited our team is to be published in (UK) Wedding Magazine. It is sold in so many countries, including the United States, and I personally have been buying it along with the sister magazine Wedding Flowers since I was engaged in 2003. I cannot believe 10 years later Haute Horticulture is a part of both magazines this fall.

We simply couldn’t have done it without the lengthy list of talent we have grown accustomed to working magic with here in Memphis.

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Annabella Charles Photography

Everbloom Designs Styling

Social Graces LLC

The Flour Garden

Natalie Chang

Elaine Clayton Beauty Styling

The Junior League Memphis

Ziparo’s Catering

Model: Quinn Lake

Claire Pettibone

La Tavola Linens

 

A Little Bubbly {Pink Champagne}

Annabella Charles gets a lot of credit on my blog for a reason. She works hard and practices with me constantly to get the right look for both clients and editorial customers alike. I love to showcase what we do in the hopes of inspiring whomever may come across this blog. I love to look at pretty things. I love to make them, (and just my luck Annabella loves to photograph them!) I am truly proud to work, more often than not, with some very select people (including Kristin) whom I consider a gift to know. It makes light of the darkest times and when we are creating it feels like it’s not even work (except for the exhaustion that cannot be avoided when giving your all and staying up late). Our muse this time was garden roses … and a little bubbly. So cheers to friendship and to finding your circle, your collective or your closest friends. The people who understand you and your talents (whatever they may be) unlike anyone else; your people. Cheers to the best of best friends, and to family who support the wild artists and their eccentric tendencies. The world needs all kinds of ideas,  color, and beauty –  just as it needs the raw numbers, facts and the pragmatic and sobering truths. This is the great balance that keeps us all in love and living life and helping others and dreaming.

Cheers!

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Beauty in Botany {Magnolia Rouge Feature}

            Magnolia Rouge published its second edition under the new name and the magazine is a treasure trove of real weddings, style, and more! Kate (the director) was able to use two seperate photo shoots from our group in the magazine and we thought we would share the lovely botanical beauty here on the blog. It’s an ode to the lithograph and fern lovers alike and includes a bunch of fresh Helleborus mixed with lively little puffs of Acacia and four different types of ferns to name just a few floral ingredients. With stylist Kristin Wolter from Everbloom Designs and Annabella of Annabella Charles Photography, we mapped out the details of a decorated repast of salads, spritzers, and sweets that include edible pansies.

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A Beautiful Day! {Style Me Pretty Feature}

It is truly a beautiful day to share some photos we have had to keep to ourselves for some time. That’s the way it works in the publication and editorial business, you must be months ahead of the season and then wait to see your product in its rightful place. We have been thrice featured on Style Me Pretty and this one is just lovely all over. The team deserves full credit, for no one does much alone in the industry, so be sure and look at their sites too for more photographs and their version of the day.
Our story is easy to tell. We had an extremely accommodating venue, great coordination, the perfect stylist, an unparalleled photographer, incredible: cake, flowers, linens, rentals, and a lovely model wearing gorgeous dresses. The shoot was actually in the Winter and it was not easy. I believe the high that day was 40 degrees, not to spoil the magic though, because inside the conservatory it was a perfect temperature. I may even consider one for a future function. What a great idea of having green plants and great weather (indoors) all year round with glass walls and natural lighting!

There will likely be a few more future posts but for now we are overjoyed to be on a wedding style blog like Style Me Pretty and to finally share it with you.

Have a wonderful day!

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 Vendors

Annabella Charles Photography

Social Graces Events

Everbloom Designs

Dresses provided by : Maggie Louise

Hair and Make up : Tricia Coble

Venue : The Conservatory

Stationary : Natalie Chang

Model : Rebecca with MACS AMAX

Vintage Rentals : Propcellar

Headpieces and belt : Hushed Commotion

Cake : The Flour Garden

Caterer : The Conservatory

Lighting : Bright Event Productions

 

 

Romantic Garden Rose Bouquet

Simple bouquet recipes can be just as effective as varieties. This romantic rose bouquet was primarily garden roses and spray garden roses in a bundle surrounded by Magnolia leaves (which have a velvety tobacco colored underside).

The handle was wrapped in silk ribbon and styled by Kristin at Everbloom Designs. Lovely photographs by Annabella Charles Photography.

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We Love: Dogwood {a flowering tree}

Flowering Dogwood trees are truly magnificent. We love them so much they are a part of the Haute Horticulture logo.

There exist a few common varieties that all put on a spectacular flower show in the Spring. The white, pink, and red varieties are all a member of the flowering North American Dogwood group Cornus Florida and each has the distinct four rounded bracts (what people commonly see as flower petals). The group of Asian Dogwoods has pointed bracts and blooms only creamy white flowers a little later in the Spring. These Kousa Dogwoods (Cornus Kousa) are often referred to as Japanese, Korean, or Chinese Dogwood Trees. Most of these tree variteites, and many others are available through the Arbor Day Foundation for a very fair price to plant in your own yard, which is exactly what we plan to do this Spring.

Last year we got together with Annabella Charles Photography, Everbloom Designs, with dresses from Barefoot Bride (worn by model Alicia) and Linens from Studio 1524.  We created a lovely inspiration photo session paying homage to the Dogwood. We waited until the branches were perfectly in bloom and assembled a team of quite a few behind the scenes favors in the form of: the location (a private residence), monogramming (K. Young), cake making,  and lovely paper goods by the talented Natalie Chang. We fused style elements that could be incorporated into a garden party or wedding complete with hair accessories by Kristin of Everbloom Designs. The result was just as we had hoped and even made a prompt appearance in The Wedding Chicks Blog. Now a year later, we yearn to work with those branches again and hope they make their debut soon!

Photography: Annabella Charles

Fabric Flowers and Styling : Everbloom Designs

Ring pillows/ hair and Mua : Tasha Rick

Cake and Petite fours : Cindy DeBoard

Stationary and Calligraphy : Natalie Chang

linens : Studio1524

Dresses provided by : The Barefoot Bride

Model : Alicia Nash with ETA

 

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The Cheery Cherries {Using Fruit in Bouquets}

1cherry 2cherry 3cherry 4cherry There is nothing more delicious than using berries and various edible fruits in bouquets, but what is truly safe and what is fantasy? We have worked a great deal with fruits and unusual bouquet content recent years and here is the true advice we have to give customers and aspiring floral designers alike. When it comes to bridal bouquets these are our 7 best tips to avoid complications and gain peace of mind:

1) If you are using real fruit with clear juices make sure it is under-ripe and very hard.

2) If you wire fruits that are larger and heavier the test is simple, if you hold the wire only and the fruit does not stand erect, the gague is not heavy enough or the fruit needs more wires through it. You can also combine wooden picks but make sure the fruit is anchored with some wire or the fruit may fall off the pick alone when the bouquet is held upside down (which does happen).

3) If you use real fruits it is safest to nest them into the flowers so that they are not on the outside of the bouquet where they can get bruised or start to weep.

4) Never use real fruits with extremely dark juices. It may look appealing in magazines (yes we have published a few ourselves) but the secret is that there are some very convincing faux fruits and veggies out there,  and no floral designer or bride should have to worry about this when there are lightweight fauxs that can be tucked (wired) into the bouquet. Make sure the client understands that these concerns are for clothing safety and the reason a real plum is probably not ideal for a bouquet; give them the truth about the risks of real fruits and vegetables and they will respect you for thinking ahead.

5) Peppers and fruits like Mangos can be very irritating to skin and eyes if the oils come off onto the designer’s hands or onto the client’s hands. The best thing to do is use faux or very small ornamentals that are grown specifically for arrangements. It may seem tempting to use that cute little jalapeno pepper from the garden, but it could potentially get an irritant all over everything that it touches.

6) Be smart, if you aren’t going to be there to watch over the bouquet for the entire ceremony and reception and all photographs, then our best advice is play it safe rather than risk disaster. There are so many usable low risk berries and ornamentals to use and the options are getting better each year with the demand. If you must go outside the box, practice and see how well the fruit holds up outside the cooler and in a bouquet for a day.

7) Be creative! If the customer needs a certain color or look, there are probably alternatives that can be used instead. For example, Hypericum berries look a lot like little strawberries when used with strawberry foliage and not bunched together.

All photos by Annabella Charles Photography

Photo Shoot seen in Mag Rouge

Magnolia Rouge: A Styled Shoot {Jan 2013 Issue}

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We have been honored to be included in nearly every issue of Mag Rouge and now Magnolia Rouge Magazine. This is from the January 2013 issue. The use of antique golds, flatware, and vintage wallpaper mixed with the flowers, succulents, and berries to form a tapestry of textures and pastels. Styled by Kristin Wolter of Everbloom Designs and photographed by Annabella Charles.

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