Review by Booklist Review
Don't expect bright bursts of Gerber daisies and snapdragons here, or, for that matter, out-of-alignment arrangements that might suggest tortured greenery. In her first, photograph-packed book, Sheffield, England flower-shop owner Potter teaches the how-to's of what she calls the slow flower movement, gathering stems and posies to create more of a relaxed, subtle, Dutch Masters' effect. Mantels are littered with single blooms, stems, and found objects like porcelain hands, a stuffed bird, and a timepiece. Meadow lookalikes and small installations appear to take over a room, if not the whole house. Her 26 projects feature a field-to-vase approach that's dominated by in-season flowers; a step-by-step method using chicken wire and potters' tape (floral foam being a sustainability no-go); and an eye that forgoes symmetry to embrace the whims of nature. Following that drama come Potter's quieter teachings: choosing and buying flowers (according to the four tenets of focal flower, secondary flower, height and texture, and foliage filler); the appropriate way to forage; seven sets of instructions for creating wreaths and other forms; and a glossary of flowers. Along with the beautiful arrangements themselves, quotes throughout remind all to rethink the notion of beauty.--Barbara Jacobs Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this instructional, if slightly uneven, how-to guide, Potter, founder of U.K. flower shop Swallows & Damson, champions a "less controlled, flower-led approach" to flower arranging, promoting "sustainable and locally grown flowers that are 'field-to-vase.''" The 26 projects-for arrangements, wreaths, garlands, and larger-scale "installations"-are organized by color, with mood boards highlighting sources of inspiration (such as baskets, vintage clocks, and old Bakelite radios) to "approach flower arranging from a place of storytelling and creating feeling, rather than designs to suit certain occasions." Potter's instructions sometimes describe how her arrangements went awry and forced her to improvise, which she calls "a beautiful lesson in releasing expectations." The "Basic Skills" section covers choosing flowers, tools needed, and guidance on choosing a container (which Potter finds "surprisingly significant in determining the overall effect"), accompanied by rudimentary illustrations which seem larger than necessary and lack the elegance of India Hobson's desaturated photography. While some projects feel absurd (one arrangement uses 40 roses, among other flowers, and fills a whole bathtub), the gorgeous, seemingly effortless aesthetic Potter lays out in her well-stocked compendium should appeal to design-minded, Instagram-savvy readers. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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