My Sunday afternoon was spent learning about and making my own Kokedama. The workshop was taught by the entertaining and informative Mahalia and Sirus from 'We Smell The Rain', a local design studio specialising in crafted greenery. The Hoxton Hotel on the Herengracht hosted the workshop in their lovely apartment setting. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and a great activity to do with friends or maybe get someone as a birthday gift.
So what is Kokedama?
Kokedama is a Japanese tradition and literally means 'moss ball'. It is a variant of the Japanese Bonsai and has become somewhat 'trendy' to have as indoor plants and are a favourite with interior designers and in eco-friendly offices and work spaces. They are also great for those of us living in city apartments with no garden or outdoor area at home.
How they are made
Firstly, a ball of bonsai soil and potting compost is made, the plant is then removed from its pot and most of the soil attached to the roots removed. The roots are then wrapped in sphagnum moss and the plant is placed in a hole in the middle of the ball. Next, a piece of moss is cleaned and prepared for wrapping around the soil ball. It is secured in place by cotton thread which is wound around the ball tightly to create the shape you see in the above photos. It's more strenuous physically than you would expect, my arms were aching towards the end of the workshop! All was worth it though when you end up with the finished product. I decided to hang mine with a brass rod and cotton cord and it is now happily suspended from an old wooden ceiling beam in my apartment. It looks so lovely and has been getting admired by my guests already! Worth getting dirty hands for, for sure!
I love the fact that to water the plant you have to put the moss ball in a bowl of water for around 30 minutes. Once the water has been soaked up into the soil ball you can re-hang again. Easy!
So, if you are in Amsterdam and you fancy making one yourself, check out their website www.wesmelltherain.com for more details on upcoming workshops. Or, check out their store and buy one if your not in the city.
We Smell The Rain is an Amsterdam-based design studio passionate about bringing the great outdoors in. Focused on bridging the gap between nature and the city, WSTR designs high-end innovative products and urban greenery for the lives and homes of city dwellers.
Motivated by the fragile beauty that exists in the world outside our windows, WSTR is all about bringing this ethos of care inside. Like small planets, the kokedama we make are like little eco-systems which, just like the planet at large, require specific care and attention in order to thrive.
The WSTR aesthetic is clean and minimal with a focus on quality materials and detailed finishing. All of our design work is done in-house and our Kokedama are 100% hand crafted and made-to-order in our studio. For anything we can’t do ourselves we always seek out locally based producers and use the highest quality materials we can get our hands on.