By Ginna Parsons
TUPELO – Jeremy Allison of J. Edward Design Company carefully laid out his supplies on a wooden counter at his downtown Tupelo business. Then he began to put them together, one by one, until, 45 minutes later, he had completed a stunning fall wreath.
“There have been times I’ve had way more stuff than I needed to build a wreath and times I’ve had to go out and purchase more stuff to go in one,” said Allison, 34. “I can pretty much eyeball now how much I need.”
He starts with an oval grapevine wreath. To one side of it, he attaches a 3×3-inch Styrofoam block with floral wire. This small block will be the base of the entire display.
Next, he takes an artificial yellow sunflower, trims the end, holds it up to the wreath to see its position and trims it again if needed. If the stem end is blunt and won’t go into the foam block easily, he wires a wooden pick around the bottom of the stem with floral wire. Then he dips the pick in hot glue and places the flower in the Styrofoam in the two o’clock position.
“I tend to take the largest flowers I’m using and use them to create the outline,” he said.
He repeats this process with four more sunflowers – “more so than not, I like to work with odd numbers” – placing them at one, four, six and nine o’clock.
From there, he begins the process of filling in. Three artificial orange gerbera daisies are measured, cut, dipped in glue and placed around the bottom of the arrangement. Artificial leaves, berries, and a large dark brown seed pod receive the same treatment.
At this point, Allison might pull out his iPhone and snap a picture so he can better see if there are any gaps in his creation.
Now, it’s time for the bow.
Allison takes burlap ribbon, cuts it in 12-inch strips and forms three pieces into loops that he gathers at the bottom and secures with floral wire. Then he attaches the loops to wooden picks with floral wire and places them strategically in the arrangement so that they will look like a bow after he has secured two burlap streamers to the bottom with wooden picks.
“Burlap weathers well and it looks good with fall stuff,” he said.
For the finishing touches, Allison will add whimsy and movement to the wreath.
He arranges two Styrofoam balls covered in turquoise peacock feathers so that they peek out from the top of the wreath, securing them to the original foam block. And he inserts three graceful lavender calla lilies at the bottom, for motion.
“The turquoise accent pieces add texture to the wreath,” he said. “The calla lilies add contemporary flair and movement.”
It took Allison, a Belmont native, about 45 minutes from start to finish to build this wreath, although he would advise an amateur to plan for about two hours. He figures the total cost of the wreath and materials he used at about $35.
“Here’s the important thing,” he said. “Before you glue a piece in, step back and see if the length looks correct, if the placement is correct. You can put a piece in the foam several times as long it’s not glued in. Step back and take a picture if you need to. And never be afraid to correct.”