April 1, 2008
Once in awhile there is a need for a festive table decoration. The holidays of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter are the usual times we do something extra for the dining or serving table. In addition to those traditional days, there are special occasions that call for a creative tablescape, such as a birthday, an anniversary or a shower.
Recently I attended an event at Rebecca’s Furniture and Design store in Franklin. Rebecca, the owner, had invited well-known visual event stylist and master floral designer, Jimm Wright of Nashville, to do a presentation on tablescapes. Rebecca’s beautiful store was the perfect setting for the event.
Mr. Wright used many of the existing furnishings and accessories in the store to build beautiful tablescapes. His message was that we should use things within our home as the building blocks of the tablescape. This is always my message with decorating in general. We often have decorative bowls, candlesticks, vases, baskets, and travel treasures that we never think of as appropriate for a centerpiece. Using out of the ordinary pieces can have a memorable as well as an attractive effect.
Two common elements that Mr. Wright used on nearly all of his tables, whether formal or casual were fresh flowers and votive candles. Both inexpensive and effective. Most of his tables were covered with colorful table cloths or no cloth at all.
A summer-themed table took inspiration from an old wooden lighthouse placed in the middle of the soft ocean colored table cloth. A darker sea colored cloth rippled under and around the lighthouse simulating waves of water. Sea shells and sand were sprinkled among the waves. Vigil lights sparkled in random order. Two seagull forms completed the summery or beachy scene.
A favorite of mine was the round plank table top on a stone base. A very intimate setting was perfected in a silver and black theme. Silver vases of different shapes and height were gathered as the focus in the center of the table; white flowers placed delicately in glass and silver vases surrounded white vigil lights. The table settings were glass plates set upon glass chargers with silver edges. Crystal glasses and unique silverware added to the sparkle. The black and white furnishings of the room were the perfect setting for this simple, but elegant tablescape.
An Easter vignette of pinks, turquoise and yellows brought smiles, oohs and aahs. The bare table was set creatively with very large round beveled glass as placemats; a trick anyone could use. Multicolored rounds of tissue paper were cut and placed under the glass. Turquoise fiesta ware dishes added to the colorful setting. The topiary centerpiece of rosebuds perfected the picture. Each plate held a colorful box tied with a rosebud tucked in a pink ribbon bow as a guest favor. This festive table would work equally well for a shower luncheon or a child’s birthday.
The very formal setting for a large dinner party was spectacular in its elegance and simplicity. The upholstered dining chairs with brown leather backs and an embroidered ceremonial tea scene in cream and brown on the front were the catalyst for the formality. White china on a black table cloth oozed elegance. Chunky white candles were placed randomly on the table surrounding a long low centerpiece of white roses and carnations. Mr. Wright suggested that center flowers should always extend to a height above the grouping. Miniature glass vases held a single white rose at each place repeating the floral theme. Brown linen napkins were placed over the back of each chair so as not to disrupt the tablescape.
I came away with inspiration for new ideas in creating tablescapes and doing place settings. Simple inexpensive square glass vases can be used for floating candles; vary the water level to simulate candles of different heights. Green leaves wrapped inside a vase camouflages a water soaked foam securing fresh flowers. Votive lights wrapped with tissue paper give instant color.
You can see more of the beautiful accessories and furniture on Rebecca’s website, www.rebeccasfurniture.com.
By Mary Ann Weakley