Get creative this holiday season by making your own wreath

  • Two wreaths hang outside Marshall’s Florist on King Street in Boscawen.  Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

  • Lorrie Carey handles a bundle of balsam in her shop at Marshall’s Florist in Boscawen. Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

  • Wreaths from Marshall’s Florist are on display outside the Concord Food Co-Op on a crisp November morning.  Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

  • One of the many wreaths Lorrie Carey designs for her customers at Marshall’s Florist in Boscawen. Nick Stoico / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Sunday, November 26, 2017

’Tis the season for creativity, and look no further than the capital area for workshops that can help you tap into the imaginative parts of your mind as you decorate for the holidays.

Just up the street at Twiggs Gallery in Boscawen, Lorrie Carey, the third-generation owner of Marshall’s Florist, helped students craft their own Thanksgiving centerpieces last weekend. Next weekend, Dec. 3, Carey will lead a workshop in the art of wreath making.

Carey designs countless wreaths for her customers at Marshall’s Florist throughout the holidays, but this workshop is about the individual making a wreath for their own home (or perhaps as a gift to someone else). 

You can see some of Carey’s wreaths hanging outside her shop on King Street or on display for sale outside the Concord Food Co-op. But if you participate in her workshop at Twiggs Gallery, don’t expect her to bring one in as an example.

The creative part of this exercise is in the hands of the student.

“I try not to bring in a sample,” Carey said, standing in her workshop with bundles of balsam at her feet. “I think too often people look at the sample and they try to make that sample. That’s the way we’re taught in school. The teacher will show you something and want you to do just the same. That’s not the way I teach. I tell the person, ‘these are your choices and I want you to pick what you like.’ ”

It begins with color. Brown? Blue? Green? Everyone has a favorite color, or a color they think will fit appropriately among their holiday decor. 

And yes, a green ribbon can work on a green wreath. Carey has been designing wreaths for more than 20 years, and she learned from her grandfather, Sumner Marshall, who opened the shop in the 1950s. She knows most of the tricks by now.

“Accent it with a little gold, and it will bring the green out,” she said. 

So you’ve picked your color. Now think about texture. Cones? Berries? Perhaps some baby’s breath? By now, the creative waves are flowing from your mind to your fingers. Carey is there to help you along the way.

“Incorporate textures that mean something to you,” Carey said. “Each wreath means something to the person who has it. It’s decor, but decor with a meaning.”

Maybe cones and berries are too common for your taste and you’re looking for something a little bit more unique. If you have some seashells from your favorite beach, or maybe one you visited on a trip, those can be added. Glass balls can add a holiday sparkle to your design as well.

If you’re nervous your design may be too loud, think again. Carey has nearly seen it all by now.

“I called it ‘The Jester Wreath,’ ” she said, thinking back to a few seasons ago. “It was all kinds of crazy colors, but it was for a little girl. And they were all her favorite colors: pink, purple, yellow. You put them all together, and you know what, it looked beautiful. It really reflects the personality of the individual.”

The workshop costs $65 and covers all the materials necessary. It also includes instruction in the practice of bow making. 

Flex your creative muscles and at the same create something you can hang in your home to help ring in the holidays. Working with your hands and learning a new skill can also alleviate the stress that often rises with the holiday season as well.

“There’s a whole therapeutic aspect of doing something like this,” she said. “When you’re taking a class and you’re making one for yourself, you have time. You get to enjoy doing it, you enjoy the smell of the balsam. Your brain really shifts gears to a different thinking pattern, and I think there’s this whole adrenaline experience when you sit there in the workshop thinking in a different way, doing something you’ve never done. 

“And then when you’re done, you’re proud of your accomplishment,” Carey said. “You may not go in believing you can do it in the beginning, but when you complete the workshop and you have a finished product, you say ‘Wow I can do this.’ ”

Visit twiggsgallery.wordpress.com for more information. The workshop runs from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 3. Space is limited.