#3 FlowersGathering

Idylle in
  the early
spring sunshine

Long tables covered with abundant strands of lush, softly-scented spring flowers and jasmine. Fresh fruit and delicacies that offer a feast for the eye on a backdrop of restrained white voile and green linen. A large swan and white birds create a fairy-tale effect. Be enchanted and inspired. Welcome to our idyllic spring gathering_______.

What do you think makes the perfect ‘gathering’?

Cleo: “Getting together with people you love, having a great evening together with flowers everywhere and lots of tasty food. I love eating in Italy in the middle of nature with people you don’t know. I’m not much of a cook myself, but I do love dressing the table nicely with things that you find in nature alongside a hand-written menu. Decorating with treasures you’ve found yourself, a roll of pretty paper on the table or an old curtain … these things add a unique touch. I often pick out a bit of fabric at the flea market to cover the table. Surely it’s a dreadful waste to spend three hundred euros on a tablecloth that stuff gets spilled on? I like long tables - they need to be really big to fit lots of people; over the top and spectacular. The atmosphere you get in paintings from Florence, Botticelli’s Primavera, The Birth of Venus. Those flowers and colours and that powdery feel suit me - I like the mood of old paintings. My father regularly took me to museums in Italy: he studied history of art and taught me all about them. I like things to be mystical and dream-like.”

What do you think makes the perfect ‘gathering’?

Cleo: “Getting together with people you love, having a great evening together with flowers everywhere and lots of tasty food. I love eating in Italy in the middle of nature with people you don’t know. I’m not much of a cook myself, but I do love dressing the table nicely with things that you find in nature alongside a hand-written menu. Decorating with treasures you’ve found yourself, a roll of pretty paper on the table or an old curtain … these things add a unique touch. I often pick out a bit of fabric at the flea market to cover the table. Surely it’s a dreadful waste to spend three hundred euros on a tablecloth that stuff gets spilled on? I like long tables - they need to be really big to fit lots of people; over the top and spectacular. The atmosphere you get in paintings from Florence, Botticelli’s Primavera, The Birth of Venus. Those flowers and colours and that powdery feel suit me - I like the mood of old paintings. My father regularly took me to museums in Italy: he studied history of art and taught me all about them. I like things to be mystical and dream-like.”

‘I think lathyrus is a real spring flower with its fabulous, delicate colours and it smells so lovely as well. Delicate, fragile and a bit fairytale-esque really_______’

What do you have in a vase at home?

Cleo: “Usually large flowering branches – I adore blossom and magnolia branches. There’s always a big vase on the table with something flowering in it. A really exciting field bouquet can also make me wax lyrical.”

When did your passion for the perfect tablecloth and ideal look first develop?

Cleo: “When I was little I just wanted to sew clothes for my doll or make still-lives in my room. When I was five I already knew for sure that I was going to be a fashion designer but once at art school I got tired of constantly fiddling behind a sewing machine so I went into styling. That really is my passion. I constantly try to surpass myself - to innovate. It’s sometimes quite hard on the people I live with. I have a lot of collections, and I love matching shades which drives my husband mad, with him shouting: ‘When are we ever going to just buy something coloured?!’ But that will never happen - everything needs to be just right. I don’t easily find something beautiful so my husband’s always reluctant to buy anything for me. Having said that, he can still surprise me - going to Sukha (trend-setting lifestyle store in Amsterdam - ed.) to buy the exact vases I’ve been coveting for ages. He’s so sweet.”

Found any floral treasures lately? And if so, where?

Cleo: “I’m constantly looking for unusual things that are a little bit different. Flea markets, charity shops, nature… I scour everywhere to find an attractive leaf, a lovely stone, pottery, ceramic ware or glass and gather them all for my productions. It’s all sorted by colour on shelves in my office: from pink, to wood, terracotta, sand, white, black and white, black, above that clear glass, then a bit of grey, then a transition to pale green, to dark green and so it goes on. My own little museum in a way. My whole house is full of corners and cabinets with niches that contain something. My children are just as mad about collecting – they’re constantly coming home with feathers, stones and flowers. Lev’s pockets are always bulging with strange things.”

‘I think lathyrus is a real spring flower with its fabulous, delicate colours and it smells so lovely as well. Delicate, fragile and a bit fairytale-esque really_______’

Cast of flowers

A mixture of spring flowers linked together using jasmine.
Avalanche rose
David Austin rose
Lilac
Ranunculus
Tulip
Anemone
Carnation
Delphinium
Antirrhinum
Helleborus
Poppy

What do you have in a vase at home?

Cleo: “Usually large flowering branches – I adore blossom and magnolia branches. There’s always a big vase on the table with something flowering in it. A really exciting field bouquet can also make me wax lyrical.”

When did your passion for the perfect tablecloth and ideal look first develop?

Cleo: “When I was little I just wanted to sew clothes for my doll or make still-lives in my room. When I was five I already knew for sure that I was going to be a fashion designer but once at art school I got tired of constantly fiddling behind a sewing machine so I went into styling. That really is my passion. I constantly try to surpass myself - to innovate. It’s sometimes quite hard on the people I live with. I have a lot of collections, and I love matching shades which drives my husband mad, with him shouting: ‘When are we ever going to just buy something coloured?!’ But that will never happen - everything needs to be just right. I don’t easily find something beautiful so my husband’s always reluctant to buy anything for me. Having said that, he can still surprise me - going to Sukha (trend-setting lifestyle store in Amsterdam - ed.) to buy the exact vases I’ve been coveting for ages. He’s so sweet.”

Found any floral treasures lately? And if so, where?

Cleo: “I’m constantly looking for unusual things that are a little bit different. Flea markets, charity shops, nature… I scour everywhere to find an attractive leaf, a lovely stone, pottery, ceramic ware or glass and gather them all for my productions. It’s all sorted by colour on shelves in my office: from pink, to wood, terracotta, sand, white, black and white, black, above that clear glass, then a bit of grey, then a transition to pale green, to dark green and so it goes on. My own little museum in a way. My whole house is full of corners and cabinets with niches that contain something. My children are just as mad about collecting – they’re constantly coming home with feathers, stones and flowers. Lev’s pockets are always bulging with strange things.”

‘A good bouquet is never brash but refined, playful and unique_______’

Do you have any special memories of a flower in your life?

Cleo: “Lathyrus, because my mother always buys them for me for my birthday. She thinks they suit me, with their fabulous delicate colours and they smell so lovely as well: a real spring flower. You can also buy the really long, wild ones. They’re incredibly delicate and fragile, but they look so lovely incorporated in a bouquet – a bit fairytale-esque really.”

What are your favourite places to go for flowers?

Cleo: “In IJburg in Amsterdam: Bloem aan Zee. They create playful bouquets with lots of unusual flowers. For productions I usually go into the city (Amsterdam, red.) to Pompom or Gerda’s, where they order special things for me. I like Fleurmonde, too. They have lots of old vintage stuff there: unusual treasures that they collect and sell on. De Tuin van Judith does a lot with dried flowers, and she picks them from the woods by her house in the Veluwe. A good bouquet is never brash, but rather refined, playful and unique.”

What are your favourite (spring) flowers?

Cleo: “Last year I was in Sweden in the spring, and there were clumps of lupins blooming outside in all sorts of shades and colours. I think they’re very beautiful. Another favourite is Lathyrus, which was in my bridal bouquet, because it’s so beautifully delicate and has a lovely fragrance. I love peonies and all types of blossom, cow parsley, poppies, roses – the big fat ones – herbaceous flowers, umbelifers, dill, hogweed, angelica … you name it! For productions I often seek out the flowers that you can’t get just anywhere. Then I go into the woods with my secateurs – I don’t even know whether that’s allowed – and just pull them out of the ground. I regularly drive around with a swarm of insects in my car and I’ve been covered in stinging nettles on more than one occasion but it was worth it because I got the right flowers! Usually I carry on until I’ve got what I’m looking for. Once it was thirty degrees, and the trip in the hot car absolutely destroyed my flowers - they were completely wilted when I got home … ‘I’ll just have to go back to the woods tonight,’ I thought. That’s what I’m like.”

What are your favourite (spring) flowers?

Cleo: “Last year I was in Sweden in the spring, and there were clumps of lupins blooming outside in all sorts of shades and colours. I think they’re very beautiful. Another favourite is Lathyrus, which was in my bridal bouquet, because it’s so beautifully delicate and has a lovely fragrance. I love peonies and all types of blossom, cow parsley, poppies, roses – the big fat ones – herbaceous flowers, umbelifers, dill, hogweed, angelica … you name it! For productions I often seek out the flowers that you can’t get just anywhere. Then I go into the woods with my secateurs – I don’t even know whether that’s allowed – and just pull them out of the ground. I regularly drive around with a swarm of insects in my car and I’ve been covered in stinging nettles on more than one occasion but it was worth it because I got the right flowers! Usually I carry on until I’ve got what I’m looking for. Once it was thirty degrees, and the trip in the hot car absolutely destroyed my flowers - they were completely wilted when I got home … ‘I’ll just have to go back to the woods tonight,’ I thought. That’s what I’m like.”

Tell us what makes this gathering production so special for you?

Cleo: “I enjoy working with flowers and plants and I don’t often get an assignment where it can be so artistic, so ‘outside the box’ - a bit Tim Walker. It’s as if you’re creating a new fairy-tale which incorporates the mystical, the feminine and the sensual. It’s lovely to be given that freedom. To challenge yourself you to capture youth’s awakening and the delicate and remarkable aspects of spring.”

Cleo likes to follow the following stylists:
@Hans Blomquist, a true artist he creates amazingly lavish settings, mixing old items with new, which makes it look real and full of character.
@Lotta Agaton, an amazing Danish stylist, I admire her style and how she manages to style minimalist design so that it looks playful. She uses props and everyday objects in a distinctive and surprising way.
@Ditte Isager, a great photographer who uses beautiful light and clever angles.
@Local Milk - Elizabeth Kirby, photographer and stylist who captures food in a very unique way (read our interview with Elizabeth Kirby here )
@Laura Makabresku is a recent discovery. She creates beautiful, fairytale-esque photographs.
@Lynda Gardener, a stylist from Australia with an amazing hotel, The Estate, which is a barn-like space where a lot of gatherings take place.
@Local Gatherings, an Australian company that organises parties in a beautiful, simple way.
@Ruby Mary Lennox, a florist from Berlin who creates fabulous sumptuous bouquets (read our interview with Ruby Mary Lennox in issue 1 of The Green Gallery here).
@Tim Walker, an amazing photographer and artist who creates fairy-tale images.

Concept
Cleo Scheulderman & Jeroen van der Spek

Styling
Cleo Scheulderman

Photography and Film
Jeroen van der Spek

Flower styling
Tuin van Judith by Judith de Vries and Marijn van der Leeuw

Make-up
Manous Nelemans

Food stylist and recipe
Ajda Mehmet

Assistants
Lisa van Scherpenzeel & Milo Kol

Model
Liza Wassenaar

Video editor
Rutger Hesseling

Location
www.metaalkathedraal.nl

Thanks to
www.avalancherozen.nl

Credits for props
Tables, wooden bench, pink chairs, ladder, white plant sacks (www.com-anders.nl), green fibrocit chairs (www.brutamsterdam.nl), antique pink and grey folding chairs (www.rawmaterials.nl), vintage kelim rugs (www.rozenklim.nl), white hand-crafted tableware and tulip vases (www.anoukkramer.com), celandon colourful vase, antique bench, round pedestal table, glass sphere, glass candlesticks (www.brechtjeolsthoorn.nl), stuffed swan and cockatoo (www.luxurybynature.nl), glasses (www.zarahome.com), lace tablecloth (www.hm.nl), middle tablecloth made from fabric Aida 10445/64 from Nobilis (www.wva.nl), small shell-shaped and diamond-shaped porcelain plates (www.littleowl.eu), picture frame, soda siphons (www.burbri.nl), clothing through (www.creampr.nl) and (www.gan-baroo.com)

Concept
Cleo Scheulderman & Jeroen van der Spek

Styling
Cleo Scheulderman

Photography and Film
Jeroen van der Spek

Flower styling
Tuin van Judith by Judith de Vries and Marijn van der Leeuw

Make-up
Manous Nelemans

Food stylist and recipe
Ajda Mehmet

Assistants
Lisa van Scherpenzeel & Milo Kol

Model
Liza Wassenaar

Video editor
Rutger Hesseling

Location
www.metaalkathedraal.nl

Thanks to
www.avalancherozen.nl

Credits for props
Tables, wooden bench, pink chairs, ladder, white plant sacks (www.com-anders.nl), green fibrocit chairs (www.brutamsterdam.nl), antique pink and grey folding chairs (www.rawmaterials.nl), vintage kelim rugs (www.rozenklim.nl), white hand-crafted tableware and tulip vases (www.anoukkramer.com), celandon colourful vase, antique bench, round pedestal table, glass sphere, glass candlesticks (www.brechtjeolsthoorn.nl), stuffed swan and cockatoo (www.luxurybynature.nl), glasses (www.zarahome.com), lace tablecloth (www.hm.nl), middle tablecloth made from fabric Aida 10445/64 from Nobilis (www.wva.nl), small shell-shaped and diamond-shaped porcelain plates (www.littleowl.eu), picture frame, soda siphons (www.burbri.nl), clothing through (www.creampr.nl) and (www.gan-baroo.com)

A selection from Cleo Scheulderman timeline, @cleoscheulderman