The Art of the Table with Cathy B. Graham

Tastemaker: Cathy Graham
India Amory Linens used: Lavender Vine Tablecloth & Pink Peony Tablecloth
Your renowned dinner parties are synonymous with equal parts chic and whimsy - those type of take-your-breath-away sensory experiences your guests likely dream about for weeks afterward. How do you think about creating a memorable experience for your guests? I wish that I had a better answer, but it all depends on what is on my mind at the time and what the dinner is for, whether it's for a specific person of honor, a birthday or anniversary or simply to celebrate a new season. For a recent dinner party, I was inspired by an Instagram post that came across my explore page and caught my eye: it was a pink peony placemat and I instantly bought it in a longer, runner version knowing that pink would be a perfect antidote to the long grey winter. The peony flowers looked particularly pretty with the soft pink and while at Union Square Market I found tiny pink and white radishes and candy-striped beets. When I got home I sliced them very thin and hung them from the ceiling with clear nylon thread along the length of the dining table. I never know what the next dinner party will entail but I am always up for a challenge and to push myself creatively and to try new, unconventional things.
With the publication of your first book in Fall 2017, Second Bloom: Cathy Graham's Art of the Table you share a great deal of your own inspiration from those infamous dinner parties. Is there one tried and true trick or element you always try to incorporate when hosting a dinner party? The one tried and true trick that I employ is that I always incorporate a bit of the unexpected and whimsical. This doesn’t mean you need to include dollhouse furniture and miniature household products, (which I adore), it can be simple like the filling of different sized bowls with a mix of fruit, turnips, radishes or bright green peas. I really love mixing flowers, fruits, and vegetables.
We often see that you incorporate bud vases with singular floral accents in your table schemes. Can you share a bit about this signature style of yours? How did it develop? It all stemmed from the large dinners at my long table which I hosted all the time. I was tired of the conventional centerpiece or a number of centerpieces going down the table; so I started collecting old glass bottles on eBay and found that it was a way of highlighting each flower and creating my own garden without one central and focal point. As the years went by, I just started placing the individual flowers all over the house and even a group as centerpieces on round tables.
Foxglove or Sweet Pea? I truly love both and find that they work very well together!
Out of all your creative, fanciful schemes, do you have a favorite? It would be the vegetable tablecloth I did. After finding the most beautiful vegetables at Union Square Market I went back to my studio and started cutting the vegetables and made a pattern and thought why not make a tablecloth since it only has to stay alive for a few hours used glue dots on a plain white cloth with wax paper cutouts under the vegetables that would stain like beets do.
What are you most looking forward to about spring? I hate winter especially after the holidays as it just drones on, so I fill my house with spring flowers to wash away the blues. So when spring comes I am overjoyed the tender green of the new leaves, flowering trees and the markets filled with local flowers and produce.
We were gushing over your “edible tablecloth” as showcased on your Instagram feed (@cathybgraham). What was the occasion for such a sumptuous setting? Believe it or not, it was just a simple lunch in my backyard garden in the Upper East Side. Inspiration strikes when I least expect it and then I have these moments and viola, an edible table cloth.
Votives or Tapers? I use both and I like to paint the candle shades with my floral designs. I also have a collection of Robert Isabell votives which are half the size of regular votives and look like little fairy lights on the table  
You recently threw a few fanciful fêtes incorporating India Amory linens. How do you go about selecting your table linens? Having recently discovered India Amory on instagram, I was immediately attracted to the subtle patterns that truly complement my floral design.
Most coveted Instagram accounts? @hamishbowles @K8braine @CharlottediCarcaci @jeffreybilhuber @theglampad @aguietbeing
and all my friends...the wonderful thing about Instagram is something just catching your eye!