When a gardening guru like James Farmer kicks off a how-to session by declaring “We have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to flowers,” you know you’re in for an extravagant display. We were thrilled by the beauty of his floral arrangements and the synergy of his “Porch Living” designs combined with our WILLIAMSBURG “Trend Meets Tradition” products. We hope these videos inspire you to create your own tablescapes!
James T. Farmer III is an acclaimed floral designer, editor-at-large for Southern Living Magazine, guest speaker on national television, and best-selling author of six books. On Feb. 3, he presented at the Garden Club of Virginia 2015 Symposium hosted by Colonial Williamsburg. He collaborated with WILLIAMSBURG Brand to design three different tablescapes around one unifying theme: the classic color combination of blue and white. In the following videos, Farmer discusses his design choices with WILLIAMSBURG Licensing Manager Liza Gusler, who shares the 18th-century inspirations behind some of the products.
CLASSIC TAVERN PLAID MEETS SOUTHERN PORCH
“Plaid is probably my favorite color.” – James Farmer
Grounded by oversized blue-and-white checked linens, this casual setting channel an 18th-century tavern vibe enlivened by Farmer’s “Porch Living” Southern charm. The neutral embossed ceramics and stainless flatware on this table would work equally well indoors or out. His floral choices, tall yellow snapdragons flanked by polar star roses, could be found blooming in a spring Southern garden. Exotic, spicy orchids add a hint of something fun. It’s the kind of table, says Farmer, that makes you want to invite friends over and shake things up by having breakfast for dinner.
WILLIAMSBURG Levingston Dinnerware by Park Designs: inspired by antiques and excavated shards at Colonial Williamsburg with decorative details such as a rosette from a cup found in Jamestown, a leaf motif from a British plate, and a border from a delft plate excavated at Wetherburn’s Tavern.
WILLIAMSBURG Blue Tavern Check Table Linens by India Overseas: Since the 18th century, checks, stripes, and toiles have been used as window coverings, bed hangings, simple garments, or slipcovers.
WILLIAMSBURG Royal Scroll Flatware by Reed & Barton: Based on the most popular sterling flatware patterns in 18th-century England, this line is inspired by a coffee spoon unearthed during excavation of Raleigh Tavern.
MIX TIMELESS CLASSICS WITH FUN ACCENTS
“The best dish a host can serve is confidence.” – James Farmer
Farmer accents classic blue and white with fun pops of chartreuse and unexpected, on-trend ikat placemats. His tone-on-tone floral arrangements include envy roses, green hydrangeas, and slices of lime to “invite the senses to the table.” Low satellite vases around the centerpiece present snippings of orchids and hydrangea at eye level to seated guests. Small white mini-lanterns bring the outside inside to the table.
WILLIAMSBURG Levingston Dinnerware by Park Designs
Sheraton Ikat Placemats by Jason Products: inspired by Eastern ikat weaves and indigo dyes popular in the 18th century due to the global trade network.
WILLIAMSBURG Anderson Flatware by Park Designs: twisted metalwork inspired by an 18th-century iron pot stand.
*The WILLIAMSBURG Tarpley Collection by Park Designs, including the Levingston Ceramics and Anderson Flatware, and the WILLIAMSBURG Sheraton Ikat Placemats by Jason Products will be available in Colonial Williamsburg stores, on www.williamsburgmarketplace.com, and in retailers nationwide on Feb. 19, 2015.
“Classics are forever and blue and white, to me, is THE classic of classics.” – James Farmer
This exquisite traditional tablescape features imperial blue fine china, airtwist stemware, artful stainless flatware, ikat linens, and brass candlesticks. For the centerpieces, Farmer chose two stunning 18th-century reproduction export porcelain bowls filled with coral free spirit roses and antique green hydrangeas with smilax wound throughout “just like the vine would wind through the woods.” By keeping the arrangements low on the table, he added an element of informality to the traditional, formal mix.
WILLIAMSBURG Imperial Blue Dinnerware by Mottahedeh: Since the Ming Dynasty, imperial blue and white porcelains have been prized by collectors and connoisseurs around the world. Edged in 22k gold, this blue dinnerware is based on an 18th-century Chinese export porcelain held by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
WILLIAMSBURG Basset Hall Bowl by Mottahedeh: reproduction of antique export porcelain bowl on display in the dining room at Bassett Hall. It was part of John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s collection of antique ceramics bequeathed to Colonial Williamsburg in 1979.
WILLIAMSBURG Gloucester Shell Flatware by Reed & Barton: interpretive flatware inspired by an 18th-century naturalist’s watercolor catalog of New World shells, now in our collections.
Shop the looks! We’ve put together a complete list of products featured in our three tablescapes that are available for purchase.
Guest Blogger: Kimberly Richards-Thomas
Kimberly Richards-Thomas, a public relations professional with ten years of experience in higher education communications, recently joined the WILLIAMSBURG brand. Her responsibilities include managing public relations with more than 30 licensees, growing WILLIAMSBURG brand social media presence, and writing copy for products available in the Historic Area, at nationwide retailers, and online at www.WilliamsburgMarketplace.com.
Because our products are inspired by Colonial Williamsburg history or by 18th-century art held in our museum archives, Kimberly researches the inspiration behind each piece to tell its story–and our story–to the public. In this way, her writing supports the educational mission of the Foundation while also showing how “Trend Meets Tradition.”