Wreath Making with Katie Laura Ashton
November has been fairly kind to us this year, with only the odd day of rain, sleet and snow. On those occasions I want to hibernate away by curling up on the sofa with a blanket and surround myself with the comfort of candlelight. And then every now and again, you get a November morning that simply astounds. Blue skies, astonishing light and a crispness that wraps its icy breath around everything in its path. Today was one of those days, almost too perfect to be true. Breathtaking colours, frosted leaves and dazzling sunlight. It was a day to be outdoors and appreciate the sheer beauty of winter.
I was lucky enough to spend my day with Katie Laura Ashton, Harrogate based floral designer and artist. Katie and I have been friends on Instagram for a while and have been wanting to do some work together, so photographing her foraging and putting together one of her beautiful Christmas wreaths seemed like the perfect way to collaborate. Katie is passionate about embracing the seasons, simple living and incorporating the natural world into her designs, whether they be on paper as drawings and paintings or in her floral creations. Her work has a wild and rustic feel to it, abundant with textures and seasonal colours whilst incorporating flowers cut fresh from the garden that overlooks her studio as well as some foraged pieces from the nearby woods. We headed there to gather some evergreens, rosehips, berries and seed heads to add to her Christmas wreaths she was making for some of her regular customers. The sun shone down on us the entire time, the frost had claimed large meadows and we were constantly stopping to gaze in awe at the beauty of nature. We couldn't believe how amazing the woods looked, like something from a fairy tale.
Eventually the cold temperatures of minus four degrees defeated us and we headed back to Katie's workshop for a cuppa. Using evergreens, seasonal flowers and foliage and our foraged finds, Katie set about putting together the first of many wreaths she had to make for clients. I photographed the process, revelling in the scent of spruce and eucalyptus as there is simply nothing better than the intoxicating aroma from fresh flowers.
Sadly I had to leave before the first wreath was finished as I had to get home for Harry. But I'm excited to be attending Katie's workshop next weekend to make my own and I can't wait to add it to my front door for some natural festive cheer.
Katie regularly does classes over the festive period, including personal bookings and runs the wreath making workshop at the Hepworth Gallery every year. Join Katie at her Wreath Making Workshop in Leeds at Ham & Friends on Saturday 10 December 2016. More details can be found here. Hopefully I'll see you there*.
*(You'll find me at the table where the mince pies and mulled wine are!)