Watch Kevin Sharkey Create Martha's Easter Basket
If there's anyone who is a bona fide Easter basket expert, it may be Kevin Sharkey, executive vice president and executive design director for the Martha Stewart brand. He has been creating show-stopping Easter baskets for Martha every single year for the last two decades. Sharkey stopped by Living's video studios to share his design for this year's Easter basket, which is spectacularly themed and, in his words, looks like it arrived fresh out of "a corner of the garden."
Sharkey builds each of his Easter baskets around a unique color theme. This year, he chose turquoise blue. "I was inspired by a collection of greeting cards I found while on vacation with Martha's grandchildren," Sharkey says, noting how the hue perfectly matched a collection of speckled turquoise eggs he found at New York's Floral District on West 28th Street. That's where he sourced all of the basket's materials, including mini mushrooms, decorative birds, and birch bark containers.
"Martha knows that I make Easter baskets every year, and this year she was asking, 'Is it going to be something that I can use as an Easter centerpiece?' So that [helped] me refine the idea," Sharkey says. "This year, I thought I would bring in faux florals-Martha and I have been noticing some great faux florals out in the market, so I thought this was a great time to do it."
Using a large birch bark-enveloped basket as a base, Sharkey works Sahara-branded foam to build his arrangement, which stars bright yellow tulips and daffodils amid a bed of dusty miller leaves and kale. If you decide to try your hand at creating your own beautiful Easter basket, Sharkey says that you shouldn't be afraid to play with your arrangement. That's how you'll get the best results. "Working with something like an Easter basket is not unlike doing a flower arrangement," Sharkey says. "I have no problem pulling everything out and starting again. So, if something is not looking right, I advise you to pull it out and place it where you really want it to be."
Since this Easter basket will serve as Martha's centerpiece, Kevin adjusts it to make sure her guests see floral elements on both sides, an important tip for anyone entertaining this holiday weekend. He then arranges a cluster of faux woodland mushrooms and a collection of neutral faux Easter eggs within the center of the basket to balance his elements out.
"When I think about all the Easter baskets that I've made for Martha, I think one of my favorites is this basket that I made that had two really large, velveteen rabbits," Sharkey says. "And these big gilded Easter lilies, sugared eggs, and some beautiful butterflies-it weighed a ton, but it was really, really pretty. I think Martha really liked that one, too." (The basket is pictured above.)
As you begin making your own Easter basket, Sharkey suggests starting the process by anchoring your design in natural features and neutral colors ("Anything that's nature inspired, Martha's on board with," he says). But don't stress out if your Easter basket heads in a direction you didn't expect, as Sharkey says there's nothing wrong with starting over, especially when you're new to arranging. In fact, even Sharkey-who's been creating these baskets for over two decades!-says he sometimes starts from scratch: "I start thinking, 'Oh my god, this is such a hot mess,' and I'm going to hate it. And sometimes I do, and I start all over, so if it happens to you, know that it happens to all of us."