Howard Park unveiled its annual art installation for 2019 during the September long weekend – a ballet-inspired mobile floral sculpture spanning 7 metres floor-to-ceiling in the middle of its Margaret River cellar door.

Named Nature’s Pirouette, the piece of “quiet elegance” was constructed on site over 8 hours by botanical stylist and floral designer Cherise Woodhams of De La Terre, incorporating a unique feature element: second-hand pointe shoes from West Australian Ballet.

Howard Park is a proud sponsor of West Australian Ballet and has a long-running family history with professional ballet in Australia. It is the only winery in Australia – and, most likely, the world – to boast a former Principal Dancer and Soloist on its staff (David Burch & Lesley Scogna, both siblings of owner Jeff Burch). The winery has named an entire range of Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines after this ballet history: the Jeté collection.

“We loved Cherise’s work as a local floral designer, and approached her to create something for cellar door using old pointe shoes,” said Cellar Door Manager Emily Bromell. “She took that idea and interpreted it beyond our expectations. The thought put in at such detail is remarkable.”

West Australian Ballet were kind enough to donate over 200 pointe shoes to the project, with a selection of the best being utilised in Nature’s Pirouette, suspended from delicate ribbons from the floating floral sculptures above.

Pointe shoes for Nature's Pirouette Art installation

“A pointe shoe is a key tool for female dancers, it enhances their elegance and is a key piece of the live art that they create on-stage,” said West Australian Ballet Artistic Director Aurélien Scannella.

“The use of the pointe shoes in the piece is a beautiful symbol of the art made when performing, and exemplifies the strong synergies between two world-class brands, Howard Park Wines and West Australian Ballet.”

The floral art piece will be on view from Saturday, September 28 (the Queen’s Birthday long weekend) at Howard Park’s Margaret River Cellar Door, until the end of January.

Cherise said the piece was inspired by a sense of weightlessness in the flow and movement of ballerinas. The sculpture features dried flora of livistona and lotus leaves with accents of babies breath, eucalyptus, pampas & sea holly to incorporate a textural contrast.

Floral Installation at Howard Park Cellar Door

“I was drawn to the gentle elegance of a ballerina and the movement in their costume.  I aimed to mimic the soft folds & flow of fabric with the layers and direction of the leaves while using babies breath to reference the tulle of a tutu.” said Cherise.

“Muted elegance” was how she summed up her work, creating impact with repetition of material and tonal colours. Cherise was inspired by the ballet, but also the architecturally-awarded cellar door building itself.

“I looked to the natural beauty of the region, the cellar door & the movement of a dancer,” she said. “I drew inspiration for the colours from the cellar door surrounds: the colour of the concrete walls, the wooden-clad ceiling, the [9-metre Andrew Carter] painting as well as the ballet shoes themselves.  I wanted to quietly compliment the surrounds without overpowering them.”

The installation is composed to take full advantage of the Howard Park cellar door – one of the foremost architectural designs in the Margaret River region. The building was awarded by the Royal Institute of Architects in 2000 and named one of Australia’s top 12 buildings by the Sydney Morning Herald in 2005. It is a prime example of Feng Shui design in Western Australia.

David Burch had a long and illustrious career in ballet, working as a principal dancer with the Australian Ballet from 1977 – 1983. His sister Lesley worked with the WA Ballet Company from 1972 – 1977. After their dance careers, both David and Lesley found passion within the wine business with the former working as the long-serving Vineyard Manager of the Leston property (now semi-retired), and the latter as a Brand and Sales Ambassador.

Steered by the Burch family, Howard Park has had a long association with the arts; particularly focusing on West Australian artists. The winery commissioned two natural art pieces in 2018: the vine sculpture Transience by two-time Sculpture by the Sea artist, Stu McMillan; and in a region-first, Flora Suspended, a ‘decaying floral chandelier’ by renowned floral artist Rebecca Grace of Natural Art Flowers.

Unfortunately this art installation is no longer visible at our Margaret River Cellar Door. To be the first to hear about events, art installations or exhibitions at the Cellar Door please sign up to our newsletter or follow us on social media.