When spring rolls around, there’s something about green buds and sunny days that inspire us to invite friends over and entertain. While looking for fresh inspiration to highlight our tables, we stumbled across this installation designed by Rebecca Simms of Wylie West Creative for a dinner with lifestyle blogger and author Anne Sage.
Using ferns, ivy, hanging amaranthus, spirea, tulips, garden roses, spray roses, lilies, jasmine, larkspur, and sweet peas, Simms wrapped the materials around barrel rings using floral wire, zip ties, and rope. We spoke with the designer about how she came up with the concept and why it’s so perfect for the season.
Flower: We love your installation. It is so fresh, and we feel we could easily do a smaller version in our homes. Tell us about your inspiration.
REBECCA SIMMS: I am constantly dreaming up ideas and ways to re-create the table space and add to the overall experience. The studio we worked in had these big beautiful beams, perfect for a hanging installation. When I went to shop for greenery and flowers, I saw those long stem white tulips first and then pulled additional greenery and delicate whites that complemented them. I looked for greenery and branches that had nice long stems and almost a sense of motion.
A huge part of this installation is about observing the natural shape and bend that each stem has, and then attaching that piece in a way that lets it do its thing. I didn’t wire or force any turns and shapes. I just followed the natural flow of the stems and branches to achieve the look.
In all honesty, my original plan was to hang the metal hoops differently–more like a series of chandeliers with falling flowers. When I arrived for the installation, I unloaded my metal wine barrel rings and laid them out on the concrete floor. When I looked down I envisioned it differently. I saw it all come together in my head. I could imagine this three-dimensional, two-sided display that had natural light shining through and stems drooping through the hoops. So I just went for it. I always go with my gut and pursue those “what if moments” on installation day. My plan is never set in stone, and I continue to foster ideas and try things out until the last flower is placed.
What do you like best about your creation?
There’s something so romantic about the unruly and loose composition. It feels wild and intentional all at the same time. I like the way the tulips fall and provide this unexpected perspective. And I like how multidimensional it is and how it looks one way when you are standing next to it and another when you sit down at the table and look up.
Do you have any tips for people trying to re-create your look?
Hang your base structure up first, and then work your way around both sides. Start with the greenery and larger leaves first.
Once you cover the hoops, work your way back around and tuck in the flowers, working in order of least to most delicate stems. Make sure that the final installation has a nice balance of stems drooping from both sides if it will be viewed from either side of the table.
What do you love the most about spring?
I love how the days start getting longer and the wild flowers paint the sides of the road. I also love the honeysuckle and the hummingbirds and the joy of going barefoot . . . I could go on and on!
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By Jena Hippensteel | Photography by Carley Rudd