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  • Christmas 2020 Styling Ideas for Gift Wrapping

    Christmas 2020 Styling Ideas for Gift Wrapping

    Christmas 2020 is going to be unlike any other in recent memory, so I've got a few ideas to entertain you during lockdown, as well ways to make your Christmas really special, even if you can't get to the shops and get ideas in that way for a while.

    Christmas 2020 Styling Ideas for Gift Wrapping

    Gift Wrapping Ideas

    There are many things to consider with some of the more readily accessible gift wrap out there - much of it is from questionable sources, and the glitter wrap is more often than not quite damaging ecologically speaking. So I've come up with a few ways to keep your Christmas sustainable yet beautiful and stylish.

    Wrapping Paper

    Here I have used our ink stamps to create hand printed wrapping paper that you will want to reuse time and again. I recommend this beautiful charcoal handmade paper from Wild Paper for this DIY project.

    Using either our robin or holly design stamps and white ink to offer a stunning contrast to the dark paper. I like the Versafine Inks as they give a good finish. Then tie with some of our gorgeous silk ribbons or cotton ribbons for an added touch of luxury!

    Christmas 2020 Styling Ideas for Gift Wrapping
    Embellish with wax seals and use the stamps on vellum to create some extra special gift tags.
    I also love the idea of making the wrapping part of the gift, with my fabulous golden bundle dyed silk scarves used as extravagant bows!
    Christmas 2020 Styling Ideas for Gift Wrapping
    Don't forget to open your gifts surrounding by cosy candlelight, with plenty of delicious traditional sweet treats (we love stollen in our house!) and a little tipple, all served on antique platters and vintage glasses. 
    Christmas 2020 Styling Ideas for Gift Wrapping
    More Christmas styling ideas coming soon here on my journal...


  • Peace Silk and Vegan Bamboo Silk Ribbons

    Peace Silk and Vegan Bamboo Silk Ribbons for wedding bouquets

    Our new collection of peace silk and vegan bamboo silk ribbons have arrived! Here at The Gathered Room we are committed to cruelty free and sustainable products for your weddings, events, gardens and crafting needs. 

    Peace silk and vegan bamboo silk ribbons

    How our Ribbons are Made

    All of our silk ribbons are hand dyed in Kate's studio using plant materials. Peace silk is made from silk gathered after the moth has flown, unlike traditional silks where the silk worms are killed as part of the manufacturing process. Bamboo silk is a plant fibre which has a beautiful sheen akin to traditional silks but without the animal products, so if you're a vegan these options are just perfect.

    Peace Silk and Vegan Bamboo Silk Ribbons for wedding bouquets

    Inspiration Behind the New Collection

    Kate is a colour addict and finds her inspiration often within nature, and this new silk ribbon collection is no exception, being inspired by a single, humble dried strawflower. The lilac, pink and purple hues led Kate to create a range of ribbons that are stunning used on their own for bouquets or gift wrapping, but also go together too, so you can enjoy them as a set.

    Peace Silk and Vegan Bamboo Silk Ribbons by Kate Cullen for The Gathered Room

    Peace Silk and Vegan Bamboo Silk Ribbons by Kate Cullen for The Gathered Room

    We love to see our customers using our products - so do tag @katecullenstyle on Instagram or use the hashtag #thegatheredroom to share your creations!

    Shop The Collection Here.

    Peace silk and vegan bamboo silk ribbon collection by Kate Cullen for The Gathered Room

  • Meet the Artist - Inky Square calligrapher and bookbinder

    Meet the Artist - Inky Square calligrapher and bookbinder
    Here at The Gathered Room it is one of my greatest joys to see our products being used by artists and creatives. In this new blog series I will be introducing you to the talented people that love the things I make and encouraging you to go and check out their work.
    Book binding with bamboo silk twine from The Gathered Room
    Today I am asking you to delve into the beautiful world of Gaelle from Inky Square, I have followed her on Instagram (she has the most divine feed!) through a mutual friend for a while now, and could not have been happier when she chose to use some of bamboo silk twine for some of her work. I'll now hand over to Gaelle to tell you a little more about herself.
    Gaelle Jolly of Inky Square - interview for The Gathered Room
    Book binding with bamboo silk twine from The Gathered Room
    "I am a calligrapher and bookbinder based in Oxford. My professional background is in communications and historic conservation, but since discovering first calligraphy and then bookbinding I have been building up my business, Inky Square, in my spare time. I work in partnership with a glassblower in Sweden to create bespoke ‘messages in a bottle’, take calligraphy commissions, and am about to launch a range of hand-bound notebooks. The connecting thread in all my work is to find creative ways to use paper and ink to tell stories and capture memories.
    Message in a bottle calligraphy gift by Inky Square
    I had wanted to learn bookbinding for many years, after getting a taste of it as part of a letterpress course, but a combination of a busy life and fear of failure meant I never quite got round to booking myself on a course. Then two years ago my husband gave me a bookbinding kit for Christmas, and I never looked back. I have been teaching myself with the help of books by Rachel Hazell and the London Centre for Book Arts, and I’m excited to continue to learn new techniques. I particularly like working on exposed bindings, whether intricate stitches on a hardback or rustic twine on a cotton rag paper journal. It’s also the perfect match to calligraphy, with handwritten labels or decorated covers, and I’d love to explore making completely bespoke books for clients in future.
    Book binding by Inky Square
    I launched the #paperintheframe hashtag on Instagram this summer. I’m always looking for interesting ways to include paper items in photographs (photography is my other creative passion), and while Instagram is not lacking in calligraphy or book hashtags, there seemed to be something missing to celebrate paper in all its forms. I ran a first challenge in August, and regularly share my favourite posts in my stories."
     Inky Square calligrapher and bookbinder interview for The Gathered Room
    I can heartily recommend you following Inky Square and joining in with the hashtag if like me you're paper obsessed!
  • A Guide To Floral Mechanics - Book Review and Authors Interview

    A Guide To Floral Mechanics - Book Review and Authors Interview for The Gathered Room

    'A Guide to Floral Mechanics' by Sarah Diligent and William Mazuch was published this month, to long-awaited delight by the sustainable floristry community. It is a journey I have not only followed closely, but have also had the privilege to become involved in, being one of the Kickstarter campaigns supporters in the first phases, and then excitingly as editor in the final stages.

    A Guide To Floral Mechanics - Book Review and Authors Interview for The Gathered Room

    Book Review

    Right from when I read the first pages, and saw the accompanying beautiful, yet instructional illustrations, I knew this book was going to become a much-loved handbook for new and established florists alike for many years. It is the missing piece that connects the Constance Spry manuals of old, with a thoroughly modern, ecologically aware stance.

    As a hobby florist currently trying to learn how to create floral arrangements from my fledgling cut flower garden, it has been a revelation to see 'behind the scenes' and truly understand how these works of art are created. Not only that, but how they are created with care for our environment. It's high time we consigned the plastic filled Oasis blocks to history, and this book shows you exactly how you can go about it, with no detriment or limit to the designs that can be achieved.

    What's more, the book doesn't lecture or dictate the type of floristry you should be doing, each chapter is filled with solely the mechanics and instructions for the types of displays that can be achieved, it doesn't seek to tell you what style you should be striving for, thus making it accessible to everyone from an occasional arranger like me all the way through to experienced florists with decades of experience. From those cutting stems from their back garden for the kitchen table, all the way through to magnificent opulent wedding arches and beyond.

    Interview with the Authors

    I took the opportunity to explore with Sarah and William how they found the experience of writing and illustrating their fist book, as well as what their hopes for sustainable floristry are for the future.

    A Guide To Floral Mechanics - Book Review and Authors Interview for The Gathered Room

    What made you decide to write the book?

    Sarah:  "When I started my floristry career I felt that there was a big disconnect - in an industry that is all about nature, I realised that a lot of processes weren’t very ‘green’ so I started looking for books on how to work sustainably as a florist. Long story short, I couldn’t find all of the info I was looking for easily. Whilst teaching sustainable practices at my flower school, I found that many other florists were also looking for a concise source of information."

    William: "I found the same."

    Sarah: "When we met at British Flowers Week in 2018, we briefly discussed the idea of putting together a book that included the information that both of us had been looking for. About six months later we started to write that book."

    William: "We agreed on many of the aspects of the book – that it should be clean, clear and straightforward without being prescriptive about floral design in itself. This book was to only be about the mechanics. There wouldn’t be any colour in the book aside from the cover."

    Sarah: "Which we spent a long working on. We didn’t want it to be a coffee table book, we wanted this to be a functional manual."

    How do you think floristry has evolved in the last few years?

    Sarah: "I think there has been a massive resurgence in the use of British flowers; a discovery of local growers, and in the same way that people became interested in where their food came from, the same is starting to become true of flowers. A result of working with homegrown blooms and flower growers is a return to true seasonality and celebrating things as they come in and out of season. I think we’re all looking to reduce our consumption of plastic. Particularly in light of David Attenborough’s documentaries. What starts off as a personal thing quickly spills into business if it’s something you and your customers feel passionately about."

    William: "The awareness of quite how much plastic waste there was became apparent to the general public globally when the plastic bag charge came about. It’s nice to see that awareness is spreading to other industries including floristry."

    Sarah: "There has also been a leaning toward more natural floral design as well as a movement toward seasonality and sustainability. There has definitely been a leaning towards more naturalistic floral design."

    A Guide To Floral Mechanics - Book Review and Authors Interview for The Gathered Room

    What do you hope the book's impact will have, both on new generations of floristry lovers, but also on already established businesses?

    Sarah: "We hope that by setting out clear, easy to follow alternatives to standard methodology, people will give it a go and find that it’s worth it. For every arrangement in which single use plastic aren’t used, that’s less plastic in landfill and fewer microplastics washed into the waterways. Future generations may be very grateful not to have to deal with the repercussions of our dependency upon single use plastics."

    What new sustainable floristry products would you love to see developed or improved?

    Sarah: "I will be excited to see what is developed going forward."

    Wiliam: "The benefits of single use plastics are that they are cheap, and only need last so long as they are in use. In the case of floral arrangements, this is not longer than a week. Better biodegradable cellophane which doesn’t cost the world would be a good start. The world of floristry is not short of brilliant minds and entrepreneurs, so I have no doubt that new methods and products are on their way."

    Where can florists or students get help and support with sustainable floristry methods that support the key messages and approaches in your book?

    Sarah: "We have rounded up our favourites in the ‘resources’ section of our book. One which springs instantly to mind is the #nofloralfoam movement on Instagram run by the lovely Rita Feldman in Australia." 

    I can also heartily recommend Sarah's fabulous Facebook Group for Eco Friendly Florists and Flower Growers Collective. 

    A Guide To Floral Mechanics - Book Review and Authors Interview for The Gathered Room

    Writing a book is a huge undertaking, what do you wish you'd known about the process most before you started?

    William: "Quite how much of a huge undertaking it would be!"

    Sarah: "Everything! On a serious note, I wish I had better understood how many different parts there are to self-publishing a sustainably made book to a high standard. Had I been more aware, I probably would have given us an extra year to write it."

    William: "I found the waiting times the most difficult. There might be a few days between sending off a test sheet to be printed and receiving it. In that time, there’s not much we could do. We wanted everything to be done well – I think there’s a bit of a stigma associated with self-publishing, and I was keen that the final product would be polished."

    Thank you Sarah and William for this wonderful insight.

    You can buy your copy of the book over on their website