Where it all began…

Where it all began…

I’m in Medemblik in Holland. The place of my childhood holidays and dreams. My other home, the one where my dad has lived since I was 6. The place I associate with deep 70’s suntans and blackcurrant ice cream. And chips loaded with mayonnaise and peanut sauce – a total mind boggling delicacy for a 7 year old Yorkshire lass in 1978! The place with sing song accents and 3 kisses on cheeks, salty licorice and sea without salt. And the place where my favourite florist in the whole of everywhere is. Bloembinderij Lotus, the inspiration behind everything I now do in my own work.  I’ve been coming here since I was 7, always my first stop when we arrived (often before the blackcurrant ice cream from the Reddy bar!).  Mesmerised by the beauty and fragrance and wanting to lose myself in the magic of this special place.  The shop – Lotus, is owned and still run by Piet Swart. When I say shop I am underselling it. It is Narnia, heaven and stuff of dreams.  Housed in the most beautiful medieval building which was originally an old weigh house and cheese market, the shop is full of hidden corners, an unexpected courtyard filled with lichen covered statues and trees, a little attached house with lamps and antique plant pots filled with ruby red pomegranates. There are delicate vines, ancient olive trees,  beautiful venetian glass, candles glowing and of course the flowers… Piet is a master florist. In my opinion the best. He is an artist and sculptor using flowers and plants to create his masterpieces to a background of...