I love having fresh flowers around the office. I dream of flower beds surrounding the building and vases of camellia blooms on each desk. Shane Powers’ book, Bring the Outdoors In: Garden Projects for Decorating and Styling Your Home, has inspired me to perhaps be more ambitious in my plans for floral décor – both at home and in the office. I first met Shane through his work with my friend, Li Edelkoort. He worked on her (amazing) magazine, Bloom, and I met him again in Finland as he was helping curate and install Li’s exhibition, A World of Folk, and the Design Seminar, Folk Futures. Shane went on to work for prestigious titles like Vogue Living Australia, Blueprint, and Martha Stewart Living, and he recently created an indoor garden collection for West Elm. He is a busy man, to say the least.
Bring the Outdoors In is not a traditional gardening book. Rather, Shane presents ideas and instructions for projects that are akin to floral art installations. The results are astonishing, especially when compared to the traditional potted plant. This type of project would be perfect alongside traditional décor and would fit right into any unconventional home design. It is also ideal for apartment dwellers who lack the outdoor space for a garden plot of their own.
In Shane, we see a kindred spirit, someone who has taken a traditional craft and approached it from a new perspective. The pieces themselves are not complicated but look like intricate, labor-intensive tasks. The book provides instructions on 22 projects, using live and dried flowers, moss, fungi, and other materials. Shane provides information on proper containers, location, lighting, temperature, and basic care for each of his designs. He also provides a listing of sources for required materials, in case they are not readily available in your area, though most should be easy to find.
I’m considering the Braided Willow Wreath (pg. 117) for the office wall, perhaps to use as a frame. But, the simple, natural elements will also fit well into my home. I see us exploring many of these pieces through the seasons and seven-year-old Maggie is also fascinated by the idea of collecting, building, and displaying.
Bring the Outdoors In, by Shane Powers with Jennifer Cegielski and photographs by Gentl & Hyers, is published by Chronicle Books.
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