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Book Review for Living With Flowers

Nico De Swert is no ordinary floral designer. He really does approach floral design as if it were an art form. He even does preliminary sketches of the work he hopes to achieve. He has written “Living with Flowers,” which was published by Harry N. Abrams. De Swert is an internationally known floral designer and interior stylist. His work has also appeared in a number of magazines, including InStyle, Weddings, and O-the Oprah Winfrey magazine.

This book profiles around 75 of his stunning displays. These are presented in lush, full-page photos by Wendell T. Webber. There are also some showing close up shots as well. These are arranged by color into seven chapters. As he explains in the introduction, the monochrome arrangements work better for his needs than multi-colored ones.

The appendix contains captions with backgrounds and notes on the kinds of materials he used for these different designs.

In addition, De Swert explains how to achieve various techniques and how these should be done properly. Some of the things he suggests go against conventional wisdom. For example, he advises readers not to crush woody stems when preparing them for use. This actually hurts the stem. Though there are no step-by-step directions for the different designs, you can see what he used, one can judge how each was done. Some of these designs would be especially suitable for certain seasons or events, such as the red rose balls with lemon leaves for Christmas. This collection does serve to highlight all the various kinds of containers we can use. It need not be a traditional floral item to work out.

Some of the innovative materials he uses include nuts, acorns, mattress fern, green milkweed pods, lemon leaves, and fruits.

In the introduction, De Swert explains how he came to choose floral design as a career. After he completed art school, he discovered he had a knack for floral design in a roundabout way by attending a demonstration. This led him to adopt this medium as an art form, a type of sculpture. Following that, his mother opened a flower shop some time later, and he worked there. Later, he was employed in a wholesale flower enterprise where he eventually was given responsibility for doing holiday flower arrangements for the flower market. As luck would have it, he eventually found his way to New York City where he has been for six years. He had no problem getting a job with Renny Reynolds, the premier events planner in the area. In addition, he is now employed by Martha Stewart Living.

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