I have always enjoyed including fruit in my decorating and design, whether it be tucked into foliage or greens during the fall and winter holidays or part of a gorgeous bouquet of summer blooms gathered from my garden. I do not discriminate – berries, apples, grapes, oranges, plums, pomegranates, figs, lemons, limes and persimmons (and even vegetables on occasion) – I’ve used them all! Simply put, it’s a grocery-store staple, accessible anywhere and an easy approach to design. And yet the results can be quite sophisticated and elevated in nature. One of my favorite subjects to paint, fruit is dynamic and bold in color and texture and when used en masse, the impact can be glorious.
I so appreciate an element of design (especially during the hectic holiday season when last-minute entertaining inevitably happens) that can be gathered from our local market, farm stand or sometimes, even our own backyard. And I love something with dual-purpose that can be used in recipes or dishes after our holiday or event. It also supplies me with a common thread that helps me to tell a story, something I always set out to do when I am designing my tables and decorations for my holidays. In addition, it’s low-impact in the dreaded clean-up (I do not want to mention the places I’ve found glitter after one of my more gold and sparkle-centric holidays!).
My inspiration comes from multiple sources, dating back as far as the 1400’s. The beautiful wreaths, topiaries and garlands decorated with bunches of seasonal fruits, vegetables, berries, pods, leaves and other natural elements are named after the Della Robbia family of Florence. Later, the idea of decorating a Christmas tree with fruit began in Germany in the 1600’s. At this time, they would adorn a tree losing its needles or leaves with fruits and nuts to mark the hope that is ushered in with the upcoming Spring season.
I used fruit during this elegant holiday dinner at Weatherstone for a calm but bright look. Although I used my more formal china, silver and glassware, the elements of the table and wreaths were rather straight-forward and simple. A variety of greens were adorned with apples, grapes, clementines, pears and lemons. I carried the palate of that fruit through my trees for a mostly overall monochromatic effect of green, allowing the table settings to take center stage and sparkle.
The red tables were from a party that I hosted in Aspen. The various shades of reds and deep oranges of the clementines and grapes gave this party a more intimate, dramatic effect. I used candlelight at various levels (even as an accent on top of the gifts) to envelope this entire room in an overall warmth and glow.
I love this pheasant table! I found these lovely replicas at a craft store (standing in two positions) and bought them in multiples so I could place them marching down my table. They are nestled among a variety of fruit and foraged elements for an almost painting-like quality. I’ve used these pheasants year after year for a variety of holiday looks.
These eco-friendly cardboard stag’s heads and tree were the inspiration for this holiday gathering at the Weatherstone stable. The clementines and greenery added a rustic touch to this country, Connecticut holiday look.
My love of nature carried through to my most recent design endeavor, a line of jewelry called The Birds & The Bees Collection (and the Dragons as well). 100% of the proceeds will eventually benefit local shelters in the areas where I have my homes. I am always trying to find a way to give gifts with meaning and find offerings that support a cause. I am proud and honored to have designed a line that does just that. What could be better than giving a gift that pays it forward, 100%?
A very happy holiday season to all of you from me, in the Santa look and Baby Monkey looking startled by what his silly mom is wearing.
The Birds & The Bees jewelry line is available at the Carolyne Roehm Shop.