Archive for the ‘flowers’ Category
March 22, 2013 in flowers, interior styling
With Spring approaching and beautiful sprigs of blossom on sale, I couldn’t resist taking some snaps of them at home. The photography course I am taking has inspired me to take even more pictures and with the arrival of a little Saarinen side table I just bought from Skandium, it all fell into place. I love its classic shape and after years of lusting after it, and several shoots where I had used it, I finally ordered one. The little Rosenthal Pollo vase is another design classic that a friend bought me for Christmas several years ago, one I will always love. I cut some leaves from patterned paper and added them to the blossom stems and placed them in one of my fabric-wrapped vases.
Finnish designer Eero Saarinen designed this range of tables in 1956 and they are still made by Knoll (available from Skandium in London). The Pollo vase is by Rosenthal and was designed by another Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala in 1970 (available from Vessel Gallery in London). They sit next to a vintage fibreglass Eames DAR chair that we bought years ago at a New York flea market. They are also available new through stores like SCP.
I can’t wait for Spring, can you?
March 4, 2013 in flowers, interior styling
As Mothering Sunday is next weekend here in the UK I thought I would share some behind the scenes photos of another Waitrose shoot I worked on earlier this year with photographer Karen Thomas. We shot the new floral ranges for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and some new Spring bouquets and plants. The brief was for a light, bright look for Spring to contrast against the autumn range we shot previously. During breaks in shooting I snapped a few images of the props and backdrops I had chosen and some of the sets I put together for this shoot and thought you might like a glimpse behind the scenes.
All of these photos were taken with my iPhone! I took them for reference really, but after the shoot I thought the quality was good enough to post them on my blog. What do you think?
Head over to the Waitrose website to see Karen’s photos from our shoot for Waitroses’s new floral ranges.
February 12, 2013 in flowers
Snowdrops are such a fresh little flower, so simple and delicate yet elegant. I‘m always excited when I first see them poking their heads through the soil in my garden. I planted the bulbs several years ago, purposefully in a little spot near the kitchen doors where they could catch my eye, and I now enjoy them blooming every year.
With this little vision of joy, you just know that Spring is not far away.
October 15, 2012 in flowers, interior styling
As a flower and plant lover, it was a joy to be asked by Waitrose earlier this year to work with talented photographer Karen Thomas and style the photographs for their Autumn flowers and plants range . My brief was to create the environment for the flowers and plants to sit in with an autumnal feel, rich and moody and deep in colour. Other shots were for arrangements that are available all year round, so needed to look brighter and less seasonal.
The floral arrangements and plants are the products, designed by the Waitrose team and available to order for delivery online and by phone. All of the plants come in their own containers and many of the flower arrangements are sold in clear vases, boxes, bags or jugs. I sourced vessels and vases for the arrangements that don’t come in a container to display them in the shots.
I took the little images above on my phone whilst we were shooting. They show a few behind-the-scenes shots of table set ups ready to be photographed, props ready to be styled, large quantities of the flowers placed along a wall of the location house and my spotty shoes next to a huge bucket of roses.
You can see all of the images we shot with the Waitrose team for the Autumn floral range as well as the plants which are now available to order on the Waitrose Direct website. Amazingly Waitrose’s history goes right back to 1904 when a small grocery shop – Waite, Rose & Taylor – opened in west London, not too far from where I now live! It became part of the John Lewis Retail Group in 1937 and is now one of the UK’s leading retailers. More of Karen’s photographic work can be seen over on her portfolio website.
July 31, 2012 in flowers, homemade
This is a continuation of my floral photographic sketches that I posted about recently. I had a fun couple of hours a few weeks ago playing with my camera and documenting ideas. Sometimes an idea comes along that leads to another and needs to be snapped quickly and captured before it is forgotten.
When I designed textile patterns for a design studio we would always use reference books and quite often real flowers to draw from and use as inspiration, but these were quite often open to interpretation. A drawn flower would be given a different, more appealing leaf to the stem, or would be painted flat to the page with more flower heads than would occur in nature. Some of my drawn flowers would have leaves made from patterns or other textures and they would evolve and become unique, designed interpretations of flowers rather than true-to-life, accurate floral studies.
Freehand, machine-stitching is a technique I used in textile design many years ago and still use regularly. With a little practice it you can get great results and if you want to have a go at home a couple of the projects in my first book The Homemade Home explain it with step-by-step instructions.
In the case of this photo experiment with flora from my garden, I picked apart several flowers and placed different heads, stems and leaves together. I also added fabric and lace leaves and real elements to my machine-stitched stems, creating my own hybrids and fantasy flowers.
I like to contrast real with illustrated, man made with natural in combinations that really shouldn’t exist together. The speed of capturing an idea on camera at home means that later I will be able to develop this further into something more, but for now these ideas have been documented and are reminders to myself, my own visual notes and a little play with nature.
June 15, 2012 in flowers
I took these photos after picking a few flowers from my garden. It is a small space, a city garden where a little bit of nature can be seen from the kitchen through the modern grey-framed glass doors. A camelia already existed when we moved in but the rest I had great delight in selecting and planting after we remodelled the kitchen and garden about five years ago. I ordered the bulk of my initial planting through the online company Crocus, choosing plants that flower with white or pale blooms like climbing hydrangea, clematis, jasmine, black elder, white lavender and more. Each season I look forward to the bursts of flowers and am always pleasantly surprised at the bulbs that come up that I had forgotten I had planted.
The beautiful textured pages of old books add a nostalgic feel to the images and make lovely backdrops. They remind me of pressing flowers in old books when I was a little girl, something I always did whilst staying with my grandparents on holiday.
Photographing flowers in this way always gives me great pleasure and sparks off new ideas as I play and change the displays. I automatically tend to shoot these floral patterns from directly overhead. I think it is an ingrained way of seeing having worked as a textile designer for so many years.
I drew simple, fine lines in pencil creating fantasy stalks for the delicate tiny flowers of the black elder that I had dissected, capturing it in time with a little photo sketch.
This is really part one of this story as these images led on to lots more ideas that I photographed. I will post part two of my fun with flowers another time, so do pop back soon.
June 5, 2012 in diy craft projects, flowers
Here is a quick idea to update plain and simple terracotta plant pots with paint and fabric. I made these pots for my book launch at Liberty to help personalise and style my corner of the store. Liberty print fabric works well as the ditsy pattern contrasts against the flat paint and it is available in a multitude of colours and variations, plus you only need a little so it is a great idea for using up those remnants you keep hold of.
The plant pots are easy to make and add a little detail to an otherwise plain vessel. I bought standard-shaped classic terracotta pots in various small sizes from a local independent garden centre, but they are readily available at big stores like B&Q and Homebase and are very reasonably priced. Paint your pot in a colour that fits with your scheme. I used household paint that was easily at hand, some left-over Fired Earth and a Farrow & Ball tester pot, that both happened to be water based emulsion. I gave the pots two coats to give the terracotta a solid covering and left them to dry.
To create a strip around the top, wrap your fabric around the circumference to mark the length then cut a strip of fabric slightly longer than circumference by the height of the lip of the flower pot. Stick double-sided tape onto the reverse and stick straight onto the lip of the flower pot, overlapping slightly at the end. Using tape also means you can remove the fabric and re-use it, or change it to another fabric.
I also cut out some small motifs directly from the patterned fabric. To do this, iron bondaweb to the reverse of the fabric to prevent fraying and then cut out the motif with small, sharp fabric scissors. Using a paint brush and pva glue paint the glue onto the reverse and carefully stick into place. You could have just one motif or continue the pattern all the way around. These are really suitable for inside use only (though may be ok outside for a dry summer). Don’t forget to place them on a saucer though before watering the plants as these type of pots tend to have drainage holes in the bottom.
I photographed them recently in the Curiosity Cabinet project from my new book The Homemade Home for Children, which hangs on the wall in my daughter’s bedroom. The pots and vases in the background create a trompe l’oil effect – a little trick to the eye.
This is just a small, fun way to update something ordinary that can make your house unique to you.
If you like this idea, you may also like my fabric wrapped vases.
April 17, 2012 in flowers, homemade
This Saturday I had some time with my son at home. My husband took my daughter to a party, so with just the two of us in the house, we had fun painting side by side on the kitchen table. We both share a love of drawing so it was a real joy to spend this time with him. I used my son’s drawings in the china transfer project in my first book and both of my children’s drawings appear in my new book on the wish board and the embroidered cushion projects. The ink drawings I made are reminiscent of designs I used to produce as a textile designer. I still love this type of free form sketching with paint and I wanted to show him some techniques. I had bought the Spring daffodils from my local florist the day before and he liked the idea of painting them using my Chinese brushes and just black ink.
I love the simplicity of jet black ink on cartridge paper, the marks, splatters, drips and dribbles that come when working quickly and freely. If you like this post, you may also like these floral paintings.
We had an hour or so drawing, chatting and sharing a love of creativity. He produced some really lovely flower paintings, they are all his in the photo above. My favourite is the ink illustration of the paint brush he was holding to create it – his own little joke.
This will be added to the little recess in the kitchen used to display the children’s art.
Is there a shared creative hobby or interest your children and you share?
March 19, 2012 in flowers, handmade goodness
Spring has sprung here in London. The sun is shining, it feels joyful out and about and the bulbs are starting to flower in my little London garden. It is my favourite time of the year for flowers, all the bulbs I planted in the autumn are now bursting into life. This is a welcome change to the grey days we have seen recently and has lifted my spirits as I have had an extremely busy few weeks. It feels like I have been working non-stop, but all for wonderful projects that I love. My new book The Homemade Home for Children is due for release early next month, I have been working with an award-winning architecture practice on an exciting project and I have an editorial shoot next week that I have been working on over the last few weeks and am really looking forward to.
I haven’t had a spare moment to take any new pictures this week, but looking through my archives I found this series of photos I took early last Spring and didn’t get around to posting at the time. With the Spring flowers appearing I thought it perfect timing to share them now.
These Lily of the Valley were plucked from my parents-in-laws’ garden where swathes of them grow in the shade under the hedges. I adore their fresh, crisp coloration, their slim elegant leaves and their smell – just divine!
As I was playing with my camera, placing the stems on fabric it reminded me of some of my old textile designs where fresh flowers were always an inspiration – whether drawn, painted or embroidered. I placed a stem next to one of my old embroidered designs of the same flower above.
This is a simple freehand machine-stitched textile design of bottles that I made a few years ago. I placed a stem as if displayed in its vase. You can get wonderful effects by freehand machine-stitching on paper or fabric with practice. The embroidered portraits project from my first book uses this technique.
A single, simple stem in a simple vase looks delicate and sweet but with an understated elegance that I love.
Hello Spring, I’m happy you’re here.
March 11, 2012 in flowers
I have a bit of thing for yellow with grey at the moment. I came across some images that I took a while ago, after a trip to Columbia Road flower market, that complemented the colours of my last blog post so thought I would share them now.
This orchid with its exotic feel, placed against the dark wall in my living room, created an eye catching scene where the flowers almost glowed against the charcoal grey. The folded yellow tape measure in the background is by Debbie Smyth and the flower pot is an old Habitat one.
Craspedia, or ‘bobble flowers’ as I usually call them, have a beautiful graphic quality. How could I resist snapping them as they zinged against the deep grey wall?
February 6, 2012 in flowers, homemade
As I was finishing my winter flower post and looking at the hellebores that I had sketched with my camera, I had an urge to paint these beautiful flowers. I had been wanting to paint for a while and it gave me just the inspiration I needed. So this weekend I dusted off my acrylic paints, brushes, palette knife and palette and spent a few hours playing with paint. I had a few plain canvases around the house that I had previously painted with household emulsion in various shades of greys and greens, that I knew would work with my room decor, and used them as my base. I painted quickly and instinctively, rather than sketching anything on the canvas with pencil first, as I wanted to keep it free and use loose brush marks to make the shapes of the flowers.
As a full time textile designer in a busy design studio, I was always painting and drawing flowers in different styles and using different mediums such as ink, watercolour, acrylic, stitching and embroidery. That was a few years ago now but it felt good to get the paints out once again. The great thing with acrylic on canvas is that you can add to it later or paint over it and start again if you like, it just adds to the texture of the canvas.
I couldn’t resist photographing some of the flowers on the palette where I mixed the colours and on my desk – the splats, drips and marks making interesting combinations of colour and texture.
As well as the canvas, I painted on handmade paper and I also stretched fresh cartridge paper on a board and used water for a floaty effect.
As the natural base colours reflected my home I knew they would sit happily in my room, with the hellebores positioned next to them picking up the colour palette.
I now have so many ideas having painted this weekend I think I’ll need to stock up next time I’m at the art shop!
February 3, 2012 in flowers
I have several favourite flowers but I would have to say Hellebores are up there in my top ten, maybe even my top five. They are little patches of colour in an otherwise desolate winter garden, with their heads bowing down towards the earth. This particular one is especially dear to me as it originally came from my parents’ garden before they moved, the family garden where I grew up. I took these photos last week after a long day of phone calls and writing emails. I had had enough of technology and before the afternoon light faded I picked these from the garden and grabbed my camera for a little creativity.
The delicate colour, neither pink nor purple but somewhere inbetween, is just beautiful and the splashes of deeper colour add a beautiful texture. The beasties have nibbled them in parts making them imperfect, but I like that and it just adds to their character.
They also add ground cover all year round as their leaves are evergreen. I have other Hellebore varieties planted too, pure white ones and pale greenish too,which catch my eye as I look out from my kitchen.
They are a welcome sight in my garden but I will occasionally pick a small bunch like this to bring inside and enjoy. I love the simplicity of a sweet little posy on my mantlepiece. This year I planted them in pots on my window sill in the front garden too, to welcome me home. They will then be re-planted in my garden later to bring joy again next year.
I played about with the flowers, shooting them in a favourite vase at first, then against painted canvases, and finally dissecting one rather like in a Victorain botanical illustration.
Placed flat on this handmade paper, that I roughly painted with household emulsion, the flowers themselves look almost painterly…
Ooh, that’s given me an idea on where to take this next… now where did I put my paints and brushes?