Sandra Kaminski’s magical Christmas

Floral artist Sandra Kaminski is virtually my neighbour (she lives two streets away) and I’ve loved entering the magical world this passionate woman inhabits. Sandra’s creative eye can see the decorative potential in almost anything and since meeting her I have been looking at the most mundane objects with new eyes. From pom-poms on presents to tin can candles, the possibilities are simply endless.

Believe it or not, this is Sandra Kaminski at work, surrounded by pink prettiness, with classical music playing softly in the background and the heady scent of fresh roses hanging in the air.

She’s in her home away from home, the Grey Lynn studio where she moved her business three years ago when creative clutter threatened to overrun the bungalow she shares with her husband Andrew and sons Alexander and Zachary.

Here, Sandra can let her imagination run wild, creating exquisite vignettes with seasonal themes, using all manner of items and putting them together in enchanting ways no-one else would ever think of.

“I’m in the business of bliss,” Sandra says, smiling. “I’m living the dream.”

on the day of my visit there’s more than a hint of Christmas in the air. Enthusiastic entertainer Sandra adores this time of year, when she can make the most of gorgeous summer flowers, especially her favourite roses and peonies, putting together table settings and accessories that celebrate our fabulously sunny festive season.

She also includes small touches of the typical northern hemisphere Christmas, a nod to her upbringing.

This year, she’s especially fond of owls and they pop up all over the studio, in snowy woodland scenes or standing guard over a big pile of pretty presents.

Sandra says the process of putting these magical scenes together is simple.

“once I’ve had the initial vision, I enter this blissful world which I don’t leave again until the shoot finishes. “I let the flowers set the mood and I always keep the colours simple and harmonious, so that everything flows.”

Flower power

When it comes to arranging and displaying the flowers she loves so much, Sandra, a self-taught floral artist who began her career in fashion retail, always has a huge range of pots, bottles and vases at hand.

“Don’t be afraid to cut the stems of long blooms and bunch them up,” she suggests.

“or place them individually in bottles or jars.”

No detail is too small or insignificant when it comes to her artistic endeavours.

In fact, the little things are often the most appealing – the rose in the Champagne flute, a hollowed-out watermelon used as an ice bucket, a cake made all from flowers or a personalised tin of party favours at each table place setting.

Sandra has her own range of products coming out next year, a new book, Entertaining with Flowers, on the way and plans for an iPad magazine.

As a flower ambassador for the National Flower Promotion Group, who provide the flowers she works with – even sourcing varieties which aren’t in season – Sandra has endless scope for indulging her creative dreams.

“I love what I do and just want everyone to surround themselves with our gorgeous New Zealand-grown flowers this Christmas,” she says.

Top tipKeep an eye out for interesting containers. Try dividing a posy of flowers into several jars, or bunch up for a more dramatic look.

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