making my own kokedama

weekend pursuits:

putting my non-existent green fingers to the test

When was the last time you did something spontaneous? Answering this shouldn't be too difficult.

When was the last time you did something you probably aren't very good at? Your answer might just be: not in a long, long time.

Well, the answer to the second question was the impetus for me to sign up for a kokedama workshop organised by Canadian fashion label Oak + Fort and Vancouver-based florist Forage & Bloom.

Believe me when I say I don't have green fingers. Back in Singapore, all the succulents in my home died, and the potted orchids had to undergo emergency treatment from our family's helper. Thankfully, they didn't suffer the same fate as the succulents. But since my Saturday afternoon was very much unoccupied and I enjoy challenges (at least I tell myself I do), I decided to give it a go.

Here's how my two hours there just flew by:

oak and fort vancouver office

The kokedama workshop was held in Oak + Fort's HQ in Mount Pleasant. It's such a lovely minimalist space - I would totally want to go to work everyday if I had an office like this!

oak and fort workshop

Every seat had a bunch of nicely laid out tools, with buckets of soil and moss and plants within reach, and a discount card for the brand's homeware collection.

kokedama workshop

The spot I snagged happened to be right next to where Amanda from Forage & Bloom did a demo. I chose it because I love this fern - we had it at our wedding reception and I just feel happy and calm when I look at it. Thanks to her, I finally know its name: asparagus fern.

make your own kokedama

Amanda gave us a blow-by-blow account of how to make a kokedama before we got our hands dirty.

Sidenote: If you aren't sure what a kokedama is, it's a Japanese plant design that reportedly dates back to the Edo period. "Koke" means "moss" and "dama" means "ball", and it is essentially that: A moss ball topped with a pretty plant of your choosing.

kokedama workshop oak and fort

This was the ensuing mess on everyone's workspaces! Although I had my reservations about using my bare hands at first, especially after we were warned that there might be worms (eek), there was something very therapeutic about scooping up clumps of damp soil and placing them on wet moss, then shaping it all into a ball. There was also an earthy, "after the rain" kind of smell in the air, which I had no objections to.

kokedamas DIY

I struggled quite a bit with making my first kokedama. I was afraid of wrapping the twine around the moss ball because I thought I wouldn't be able to retain its round shape. With the advice of a helpful stranger seated across from me and Amanda herself, I started in on it and realised it wasn't so bad after all.

Still, wrapping it is easier said than done. You have to use lots of strength to tighten the string, and keep turning the kokedama around so you cover almost every inch of the moss ball. The resulting ball should be dense and compact.

I went overboard with twine bondage with my first kokedama (on the left), but I relaxed a little and became more confident with my second, a prayer plant.

Fun fact: I chose both plant varieties because they don't need direct sunlight, and my apartment here sadly doesn't get too much sun. Translation: They have higher chances of survival (yay!).

oak and fort home

After getting cleaned up, we had a bit of time to wander about Oak + Fort's retail space and shop their homeware offerings (the pink bowls my kokedamas are sitting prettily in are from the brand).

oak and fort home

I mean... so in love with the pastel blue colour palette here. I'm also a big fan of Oak + Fort's clothing line: It's simple yet sophisticated and so very wearable. Another big plus is that their fits are great for petite girls like me.

kokedama forage and bloom vancouver

Before I left, I grabbed a snap with Amanda. She was very patient and encouraging, and I definitely had a lot of fun creating something with my hands.

My kokedamas might not be perfectly spherical or look the most aesthetically pleasing, but they definitely make my apartment look and feel so much more homey (the fern is on my desk at home, while the prayer plant is on the dining table). Now here's hoping they don't die on me!