Wishing everyone magical celebrations tonight, however small and cosy, in rain or in snow, at the heart of a party, or lost in a novel…
It always comes down to flowers for me. The slightest chance that I get to hold a few blooms and arrange them, photograph them, re-enact a ‘story’, and I am there. Never mind it is across the Atlantic. That is how I felt about this workshop and opportunity to style and photograph alongside Marte Marie Forsberg and her special guest Anna Potter of Swallows and Damsons.
On a brisk March Saturday morning we stepped into a room filled with flowers. Not just any flowers. Flowers that you dream about, but rarely see by the bucket. Jonquils, lilacs, ranunculus, roses, tulips and lots and lots of eucalyptus and brambles! Anna did a demonstration and expertly arranged a quick swoon-worthy looking arrangement (with foraged bramble branches!). Then, it was out turn.
From the moment I picked up a copper vessel the time just flew by. All of a sudden it was afternoon and time to take my arrangement (above!) into a taxi to be whisked off to a lovely countryside restaurant on the grounds of a walled garden. Then the surprise Marte Marie was telling us about…Alice in Wonderland tea, cake and prosecco afternoon party in an old mausoleum. It was never consecrated, slowly falling into romantic ruins. A perfect backdrop for a story. We carried flower arrangements and chairs, in our wellies, to this moody spot. Snowdrops carpeted the woods…
As for Marte Marie’s collection of tea cups and plates, we got the opportunity to experience her countryside sources too. We visited a small antiques shops and larger antique centers. No cups for me, carry on luggage only, but I left with lovely copper pitcher, which will make debut on the Easter table.
Back in November, I did a very brave and uncharacteristically rush and spontaneous decision. I bought, within minutes of seeing it going live, a spot in Marte Marie Forsberg’s “Flowers and Food Visual Storytelling” photography retreat. I remember somewhat frantically emailing Marie “where is it exactly”, having barely ventured outside of London in my UK travels. If you are like me, and follow Marte Marie on her Instagram for a couple of years now, you know the story of the thatched cottage, the rolling hills, the moody pubs…Traveling there seems like stepping into the mysterious fairytale though, bit like boarding the train in Harry Potter movie. Luckily, Marte Marie responded reassuringly right away. It was just two hours train journey out of London, in Dorset. Just enough to have a cup of tea and catch up on letter writing. I can handle that. Fast forward few months and last week I joined a very small group of like-minded women to photograph cake and flowers. Welcome to part one: food photography.
The props and our very own model, lovely Heather of Wonky Cakes magically appeared. The colors and the mood were perfect!
After a lunch break and walk over to Gold Hill to get some fresh air, we returned to the table. By now the cake was sliced, the clotted cream tea was poured, the scones were brought in. With mouths full we had to stop asking, as least for now, “Marte Marie – what is the ISO here?”
Next time: flowers arranging and Alice in Wonderland afternoon tea in a secret location…