By Claire Harlin
The 16th century gave rise to a fantasy world of flowers — huge, whimsical arrangements of tulips, peonies and poppies — which we only know about through the Dutch Masters paintings left behind from the Renaissance.
In Solana Beach, however, one flower artist is bringing the style back with a private flower design class on April 4. The Dutch Masters class is the first of seven to be held monthly through September at Isari Flower Studio, located at 414 N. Cedros Ave., and led by studio owner, designer and stylist Tam Ashworth. Other classes include a mother-daughter class, a peony class and a culinary creation class that will incorporate fruit and greens for an edible design.
Ashworth, a Thailand native and former supermodel who has experience styling multi-million-dollar weddings all over the world, doesn’t just provide the flowers. She entertains her guests, shares the history or background of the subject matter, walks her students through their arrangements step by step, and provides themed food and drinks.
“People want to be able to enjoy their flowers, and instead of just going and buying them, they can make something significant, a masterpiece that they can take home with them,” Ashworth said in a recent interview at her Solana Beach studio.
Vibrant and well-spoken, Ashworth makes her presence as known in her studio as the bouquets of flowers and ornaments that adorn it. A regular afternoon for Ashworth consisted of making plans via phone, brainstorming decor for a “dream wedding” theme, and discussing plans with happy bride-to-be clients stopping by the studio.
“People work with me for their wedding because they know I take care of everything. It’s a lot for a bride to worry about,” said Ashworth. “When I do events, it’s not all about flowers. I can do just flowers if you want that, but usually I style the whole wedding.”
Ashworth knows a challenge when it comes to styling weddings. Just last winter, she put on both a ceremony in India and in Thailand for one couple seeking an elaborate union. The 30-person event in India was intimate, while the Thailand ceremony consisted of setting up an entire wedding structure and kitchen on a deserted island and transporting all materials and 135 guests by yacht. That extravagant affair was featured in Harper’s Bazaar Thailand.
“We pulled that together in about a month, and we did everything through Skype,” she said of the feat.
Another of Ashworth’s masterpiece weddings was featured in the March 11 issue of the Los Angeles Times. Although much of the ceremony was do-it-yourself, Ashworth was featured for her bouquets, which added an important touch to the Bohemian-style wedding.
Ashworth has been arranging flowers since 1988 when she came to the United States. She said she has wanted to work with flowers from a young age.
“Before I could even speak English I knew what daffodils were,” she said. “Being born and raised in Thailand, we didn’t even have daffodils there, but I knew what they were.”
Ashworth said she would immerse herself in flower books when she was a kid, just as she does now to get ideas for her arrangements and classes.
“I am an artist and flowers are my medium,” she said.
For more information, call 858-345-1701 or visit www.isariflowerstudio.com.