It’s the first weekend of April, and we knew we had to try something special. With the sun shining and the first hints of Spring coming through, EmptyChair took the trip to South-East London to the very cute Art in the Park studio in Burgess Park to try our hand at Kokedama (苔玉, in English, literally “moss ball”) making with Jar and Fern.
We confess… we had no idea what Kokedama was, beyond a quick google image search. But, knowing it was something to do with plants, and knowing how much we had enjoyed the terrarium making workshop, we were keen to find out more.
When we first arrived we were greeted with cups of tea and warm smiles in the bright, funky studio full of flowers and arts and crafts. All the equipment was laid out for us ready to go.
Once everyone had arrived, we had a short intro where we learnt from our wonderful hosts, Will and Madeleine, that Kokedama has its origins in Japan as decorative, hanging bonsai plants and is, essentially, a ball of soil, covered in moss, inside which a plant grows. More recently, Kokedama has become an internet craze, with creative gardeners transforming houseplants into dangling sculptural objects of all sorts.
So, after the expertly quick 2 minute demonstration, we got cracking. Here’s how its done:
- First you dive into the wet soil and get messy squishing it into a perfect ball (whilst sadly watching your half drunk tea get contaminated by stray pieces of soil).
- Then you prepare your plant (we had the choice between a fern or ivy) by de-potting, taking a small part, and removing the soil from the roots.
- Next, take that beautiful soil ball you just spent 20 minutes perfecting and split it in two with your hands (hold your breath in case it crumbles 😦 and restart), pop your plant in the middle and place the two halves back together.
- Then take your moss and wrap your plant ball in it.
- Next comes the slightly tricky part, and really its a two-man job. One person holds the ball together, whilst the other takes clear string and repeated wraps it around the ball to secure the moss and ensure the circular shape.
- Lastly you take your hemp string and wrap as well to decorate and create your handle.
Sounds simple enough… 30 mins into it and we were getting somewhere! For people who don’t often put their hands into a bowl of dirt it took a sec to get the hang of it but once we got going it became very therapeutic. We even had time to make a second one!
The result? A zen plant, floating in your room like some sort of ball of tranquility. We definitely recommend giving this workshop with Jar & Fern a go – so worth the money and a really fun afternoon spent learning something new!
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