Artist Pages: Reimagining the Holiday Wreath

Pine, magnolia, dried antique hydrangea, curly willow, coxcomb, rosemary, dusty miller, Arabicum, dried mushrooms, bleached ruscus, pinecones, ornaments, embroidered ribbon

“Nature’s Bounty”: Full and lush, boughs of pine and magnolia adorned with dried antique hydrangea, curly willow, coxcomb, rosemary, dusty miller, Arabicum, dried mushrooms and bleached ruscus, accented with pinecones, simple ornaments and soft embroidered ribbon. Rich in fragrance and simply beautiful. — Sheryl White, manager, The Fiddly Fig, Kansas City

The tradition of holiday wreaths dates back some 500 years, when Germans would trim their trees and fashion the excess greenery into wreaths. Since then, the custom has migrated to countries around the world and taken new and exciting turns, as floral designers have showcased their creative imagination in their choices of unexpected materials and adornments.

For our 2022 holiday issue, we decided to celebrate the holiday wreath by asking Stefanie Richwine of Village Flower Shop in Prairie Village (cover artist for our July/August 2021 The Art of Flowers Artist Pages), to design a holiday wreath and invited four other local designers to join her. The results, as seen in the following pages, reveal some highly inventive concepts and the use of such non-traditional materials as succulents and dried mushrooms, peacock and pheasant feathers, and a wire hoop frame.

“Designing wreaths provides a unique opportunity to apply floral arrangement skills differing from typical arrangements,” Richwine said. “The association of wreaths with holiday decorations and gatherings creates lasting memories for designers and customers alike. It’s a deeply personal experience; getting different viewpoints on what a holiday wreath means to different people is what we were striving for.”

Our thanks to Richwine as well as Sarah Jaeger, founder, EverWild Florals, Kansas City; Colleen Monroe, Floraloom Studio, Kansas City; Sheryl White, manager, The Fiddly Fig, Kansas City; and Athena Thomas of L.A. Floral, Overland Park, for their imaginative designs and their willingness to go into holiday mode in mid-September, on the verge of the fall wedding onslaught!

We hope you are inspired and delighted by their efforts, as conveyed through the stunning photographs of Jim Barcus and beautiful layout by our designer, Carrie Brophy.

KC native evergreen boughs, foraged grapevine wreath, dried strawflower, burgundy amaranth, purple statice, Viburnum, orange slices and dried Phalaris

For this wreath, our EverWild Florals design team gained inspiration from local jewel-toned blooms that have been dried in-shop for a statement piece that will last for years to come. KC evergreen boughs were wrapped around a foraged grapevine wreath as the base, with colorful dried strawflower, burgundy amaranth, purple statice, Viburnum, orange slices and a touch of boho with dried Phalaris, from one of our favorite woman-owned businesses. — Sarah Jaeger, founder, EverWild Florals, Kansas City

Pine, fir, arbor vitae, magnolia leaves, pheasant feathers, red plaid bow

We at L.A. Floral always look forward to the Thanksgiving/Christmas holidays. Established in 1999, we have been working hard to bring excellence and joy to those in the metro KC area. Our theme for this wreath is “Country Christmas.” The fragrant greens — pine, fir, arbor vitae — waft through the air, complemented by an outdoorsy “lumberjack” red plaid bow. Take time to sit back, relax and live AND love all your family. If you can’t visit them in person, reach out with flowers or a plant. Let them know they’re loved and thought of. — Athena Thomas, L.A. Floral, Overland Park

Hardware cloth, tulle, peacock feather, billy balls, bougainvillea, strawflower, Jewels of Opar, plumosa and ming fern

I’m fascinated by the texture and movement of florals and fabric blending together and exploring new perspectives on flower design. So, I decided to use an unexpected wreath base sculpted to take on the organic movement of fabric. The hardware cloth is softened by soft touches of tulle and gold plumosa for an ethereal and monochromatic moment. I chose purple because it’s a color often associated with Advent, the month before Christmas when people typically hang up holiday decor.  — Colleen Monroe, Floraloom Studio, Kansas City

Feathers, eucalyptus, cedar, hypericum berry, glass ornaments, succulents and velvet ribbon on a wire hoop frame

I was inspired by the hoop frame to do something different. Rustic with a touch of modern. I wanted to mix textures and materials for visual interest. — Stefanie Richwine, Village Flower Shop, Prairie Village

Alice Thorson

Alice Thorson is the editor of KC Studio. She has written about the visual arts for numerous publications locally and nationally.

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