Grapevines, The Perfectly Imperfect

If you are looking into becoming a wreathmaker but are feeling overwhelmed with the choices of types of mesh, types of curls and folds of mesh, wreath boards, etc. etc., starting with a grapevine wreath might be the best place to start.

Grapevine wreaths are natural products that are made from dried grapevines. The dried grapevines are twisted into the desired shape for the base and wah-lah, a grapevine wreath base is formed (yes, I shortened the process a bit). Dried flowers, dried fruits, silk flowers, ribbons, bows, and other embellishments can then be wired or glued onto the base to make a beautiful front door wreath or wall hanging. They are also beautiful as is as they make a wonderful minimalist statement being a natural product.

The one question or request that I often see in my shop is the request for a perfect wreath. Because grapevine wreaths are created from vines that grow, grapevine wreaths are perfectly imperfect. There may be some vines that have different colorations, there might be some unevenness in the size or width of the vines, and occasionally they are more “un”round than round.

Please don’t let these beautiful “flaws” of nature deter you from making something beautiful with a grapevine wreath base. These characteristics can be used to highlight your design or can be covered by your embellishments.

Let’s take a look at the wreath below that I recently used for a wreath project. As you can see, the wreath hasn’t been properly cleaned (a great topic for another blog post). The wayward vines need to be rewoven to pull the wreath tighter in some of the thicker areas or cleaned away.

In addition, there is some unevenness in the wreath and although it does have a very nice, round shape, the eye is immediately drawn to the difference between the thick and thin of the wreath (shown below).

So, is the wreath a tosser because of these inconveniences?

Absolutely no, we can cover the imperfections with our design.

Here are some close-ups of the problems spots on this wreath.

This area is very thin compared to the rest of the wreath. The eye is immediately drawn to this skinny spot.

This area was pulled very tightly while weaving and some of the “bark” has started peeling away.

This area has several branches/vines that look unkempt.

Despite the inconveniences of this wreath, I was still able to make an absolutely stunning creation by cleaning this wreath and planning the problem spots into my design.

Because I knew that I wanted to create a swag type design for this wreath and had several stems of flowers and greenery I wanted to use, I chose to take the thicker area of the wreath to create my design. I brought the design around the thicker parts of the wreath. Here is why - 1) I needed the wideness of the thicker area to hold all of the floral embellishments I wanted to use and 2) using the thicker parts of the wreath helped even out the “roundness” of this wreath as more of the wreath was thinner than thick.

I oriented the part of the wreath that was pulled very taut during the weaving to be the spot that I anchored the right side of my sign while still being able to take advantage of having chosen the thicker part to embed my greenery by now having enough room to attach the left side of my sign and envelope it within the floral design on the thicker part.

Alas, the finished product. By taking the imperfections of this grapevine I was able to use it to perfectly fit the design I wanted to create. The beauty of using a natural product is that it is natural, rustic, and the perfect blank canvas for any design, décor, or occasion. The downside is that rarely, if ever, will you run across a perfect natural specimen when using natural products.

Next time, consider using those perfect imperfections to create a beautiful design.

Grapevines Perfectly Imperfect
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