Tablescaping: Move Over Martha
BY PAT BURNS
Since the beginning of time artists have provided not only beauty and enjoyment to our tedious lives – art has provided us a reflection on our times. During the stay-at-home orders, many people turned to art to fill the empty void of not going out, not seeing places, not being with friends and basically doing nothing day after day.
Sculpture, painting, plays, films, novels, dance, and music is what come to mind we think of art. Anything that appeals to the senses or emotions is called art. While some express art by painting or sculpting, others set tables. My artistic release happens to be tablescaping.
Tablescaping is the act of creatively and intentionally arranging a tabletop so that it conveys a specific theme, mood, or experience. It is meant to help us pause for a moment. Then we’re able to appreciate the setting which helps elevate a dining experience.
“For as long as I can remember, tablescaping has been a southern-lady thing.”
A few generations ago, dinner tables were much more formal and entertaining had their intimidating protocol. Silverware place settings had to be just right. Sets of china were sold to entertain eight or more and all had to match. Even the serving pieces! That’s all changed now.
Polishing silver is a thing of the past. Although, I do have a complete set of sterling flatware that I enjoy using a few times a year. Thank goodness for tarnish-proof storage bags or I’d never use the silver! Without “hired help” to assist in the setting up and cleaning after dinner, entertaining is much more manageable with smaller numbers for dinner.
For as long as I can remember, tablescaping has been a southern-lady thing. Then Martha Stewart’s television shows, books, and magazines brought tablescaping into the homes across the country of homemakers everywhere. The next big boon in tablescaping was Pinterest. You don’t have to go further than your phone to discover new ideas for setting a memorable table that elevates dining with family or friends.
” From theme to scene, you’ll find inspiration to elevate any occasion to an unforgettable experience.”
Just as an artist has a variety of mediums to choose from so does tablescaping. There are several questions to answer to determine your approach to tablescaping. Will you be setting an elaborate tablescape because it’s a special occasion? A birthday, graduation, or a promotion? Is it a holiday or a favorite season? Or, maybe there is no special reason at all. That would just fine, too.
Month to month GRAND Magazine’s website will feature tablescaping examples along with tips and tricks for setting a memorable tablescape worthy of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest posts. From theme to scene you’ll find inspiration to elevate any occasion to an unforgettable experience.
Seasons and Holidays that will be featured:
January – Chinese New Year
February – Valentine’s Day
March – St. Patrick’s Day
April – Spring or Easter
May – Mother’s Day
June – Summer Sun Flowers
July – Independence Day
August – Summer Lighthouses and Beaches
September – Back to School
October – Fall or Halloween
December – Christmas or Hanukah
Foreign Country & Cuisine Themes:
- Ooh La La Paris
- African Savannah
- Mexican Buffet
- Japanese (Japandi) Style
- Western BBQ
- Playful Pool Party
Note: Japandi is a hybrid trend. This new look takes the modern flair of Scandinavian design and combines it with the timeless elegance of a Japanese aesthetic to create a style that brings together the best of both worlds
Once a theme is decided on the theme, the next step is creating the scene. When planning, there are more questions to consider. What color theme do you want to use? What do you want for a centerpiece? What type of candles? Lit or battery-operated or both? Will you use fresh flowers or greenery taken from your yard or garden? What accent pieces can you incorporate?
All these questions and tips about storage, shopping, and guest involvement will be addressed each month with each tablescaping article.
Feeling overwhelmed already? Take a breath. Let’s start with one theme and review every step to achieve the finished tablescape.
Starting with Springtime! Whether you celebrate Easter, Pi Day, or the fresh feel of spring, nothing says it better than bunnies, flowers, and pastels.
Tablescaping for spring offers a light and bright setting with soothing pastel colors and adorable centerpiece options.
Starting with the tablecloth, you can use a solid color like the green one shown on my round patio table or a pastel, multi-colored one on my dining room table.
Many times I’ll use runners but for this spring theme, I wanted to focus on the centerpiece which fluctuates, year-to-year, from the ceramic bunny to the momma and baby lambs.
These tablescapes are set for a lighthearted meal. Possibly a brunch or early dinner. I made the decision not to use chargers to keep it less formal. The pink and white ruffled rimmed plates stage a springtime feel. These plates are topped with a bunny salad plate and by adding playful knickknacks, it brings life to the table. You’ll notice I’ve used bunny candlestick holders, small bunny flower containers, jellybeans, egg-shaped salt and pepper shakers, decorative colored eggs, and green Easter basket grass. All of these are easy to store in one plastic storage container marked springtime.
With barely any effort at all you can create a memorable tablescape that is entertaining and conversation-worthy for all ages.
No one can dispute that Martha Stewart is famous as a domestic diva. It seems that everything she did was absolutely done perfectly. Well, move over Martha. You’re not the only dining diva in town.
Check out Martha Stewart here
Tablescaping, or table-setting, is an activity involving the setting of themed dining tables in artful, decorative ways for social events, and in a variety of categories for competitions. Tablescaping is a portmanteau of table and landscaping; it was coined by television chef Sandra Lee in 2003. Wikipedia
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – PAT BURNS
Pat Burns is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Orange County Children’s Book Festival; a Celebrity Journalist, Film Reporter, the author of Grandparents Rock®. Also, a happy grandmother of four.
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