center of attention opener
Image: Owen Carey


Whether you’re throwing a party for two or twenty, a centerpiece for the table immediately elevates the setting from ordinary to elegant. They can range from groupings of items like candlesticks and glassware, to natural objects like greenery, twigs or rocks. But traditionalists fall back to what’s simple and always in style: beautiful floral centerpieces. When done right, they can be modern and funky, setting the mood of the entire affair.

Portland floral designer Kathy Kelly designed the centerpieces for interior designer Julie Stott’s outdoor summer garden party. She created impressive and substantial arrangements using Stott’s collection of 19th-century Japanese Amari ceramics. Here are some of Kelly’s expert tips to guide you through creating professional-looking arrangements.