Archive for the ‘flowers’ Category
April 21, 2014 in flowers
I have so many favourite flowers but one that comes up very high on my list is the snake’s head fritillary – Fritillaria meleagris. I have been fascinated by this spring bulb ever since I was at art college in Edinburgh and came across a beautiful drawing of one made in 1915 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. The pattern fascinates me, as I’m sure it did Mackintosh, and they really are a miracle of nature.
As a long-time member of Kew Gardens there are swathes of them located in an area that I hunt out each Spring to see them growing en masse. Some are pure white with the faintest trace of a pattern, but mostly they are the richer shades of purple with their contrasting chequerboard.
I photographed them against simple backdrops devoid of fuss. The vase above is by Akiko Hirai and the black cup in the last photo is by Kaori Tatebayashi, both from Flow Gallery. In the photo below you can see how these flowers get the name snake’s head from their shape and pattern just before they open up.
I grow them each Spring in my own tiny garden and always get excited to see their little heads poke up in the flowers beds or in pride of place in pots on the garden table. Nature is amazing.
March 13, 2014 in books, flowers
Today I’m featuring a new book written by friends Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring: Decorate with Flowers – creative ideas for Flowers and containers around the home, as part of the UK blog book tour.
Books started my friendship with Holly four years ago after she wrote the sweetest review of my first book The Homemade Home and I emailed to thank her. We kept in touch and met for a drink a few months later when she was in London. A year or so later I helped Holly with the London launch of her first book – Decorate. That is where I first met Leslie and we, and our respective husbands, had lots of fun for a few days in London – they are the ones who talked me into starting this blog! So as books have featured so importantly in connecting our lives it seems fitting to post about their lovely new book and congratulate Holly and Leslie on the fruits of their collaboration.
Decorate With Flowers is packed with images, ideas and useful information and tips to keep your home full of life and scent with the addition of flowers. It really reflects Holly and Leslie’s personal styles and their love for flowers, craft and decorating – it is bright, light, fresh, colourful and pretty.
The book is divided into sections to suit different interior styles, such as happy brights, neutral pop and girly glam and has a craft section in each chapter showing you how to upcycle vessels for displaying flowers. There are pages showing you how to create large flower arrangements in easy-to-follow steps, so you too can create a large impressive centerpiece, but really what shows through is a love of flowers from both of them. They mix shop bought with sprigs snipped from the garden, showing you that you can bring flowers into any space with any budget.
The book itself is also well designed on tactile, uncoated paper and there is always something new to grab your eye as you flick through.
You can see lots of colourful photos and spreads from the book over on the Decorate With Flowers website.
The chapter that appeals most to my own interior design aesthetic and the way I live, is chapter 8 – Black & White. I photographed some of the pages to show here.
In this section Leslie and Holly present graphic and organic schemes influenced by Scandinavian style. Black and white interiors with flowers and foliage in whites and creams with greens and touches of yellow and deep purples.
One of my favourite projects is the graphic stamped bags, seen above.
After reading through the book I couldn’t help but nip outside to add a few cuttings from my own garden to my photos, all in the spirit of the book!
My husband helped me film a little flick-through video to give you a peek inside, although by coincidence my friend Caroline posted one on Tuesday but I thought I would share this one too as we had already filmed it. Click the settings cog to HD for better quality.
A huge amount of time, thought, love, work and energy goes into creating a book like this with so many photographs, ideas, projects and information and my congratulations go to Holly and Leslie for producing a lovely book they can be really proud of.
Decorate With Flowers is available from March 21st. You can order now at Amazon or for more details on where else, when and how to purchase, click here.
February 18, 2014 in flowers, food, handmade goodness
I took these pictures last year. I had popped into Made London, an event held at One Marylebone where European designer makers exhibit, to see my friend Grainne Morton who had a stand there. After we caught up I browsed the show and bought a few new objects. I still had my favourite hired photo shoot surface at home and couldn’t resist taking some photos before it was returned to the prop house the next day. My new purchases all had a monochrome, geometric and graphic quality that I contrasted with a handful of natural items picked from the garden.
This glass and ceramic mini vessel is by ceramcist Jill Shaddock who was part of the Crafts Council‘s exhibition stand, promoting their 2013 Hothouse designer makers.
This asymmetric, blackened wooden serving board is by Pacha Design. I also used it in my recent styling story for Elle Decoration.
This delicate metal ring is by jeweller Kirsty Pearson, another of the Crafts Council’s Hothouse designer makers in 2013.
Craft shows are a great way to buy unique, hand made items for your home or to wear and to support designer makers at the same time.
Made London is being held at the same venue this year on 24-26 October 2014.
February 4, 2014 in flowers, interior styling
There is something about the intensity of a really electric blue in a paint or a flower that just sings when placed against a pure deep black. Recently photographer Beth Evans and I spent a day testing some ideas we wanted to explore for still life images, one of which was using this vivid but moody combination of blue on black. Here are some of the results.
I used some of my paintings on canvas that I had done previously using oil, acrylic, spray paint and household paint as as backdrops. The flowers in such dramatic colours were purchased at Scarlet and Violet and Beth worked her magic creating a richness with her camera.
There is another food-related series we shot that I will share soon, so do pop back.
June 29, 2013 in flowers, inspiring places
The tropical colours of Singapore were amazing as we passed through gardens and areas like Chinatown and Little India: Hot pinks, citrus oranges and acid greens, sky blues and metallic golds. Flowers were everywhere, popping out against the urban landscape along roadsides, in parks, temples and for sale on market stalls.
I’ve loved using a close-up macro lens and playing with depth of field since I bought my first 35mm SLR film camera whilst at art college, and flowers are my perfect muse for this kind of abstraction. I can’t help myself and find wherever I travel I am drawn to photographing flowers, so in Singapore I was in heaven.
June 11, 2013 in flowers, inspiring places
Singapore was the most wonderful place to stop over on our way home from Australia. We broke up our return journey with a two day visit to this amazing city. We had heard some reports of it feeling a little sterile, but we found it fascinating and absolutely loved it. They have embraced modern architecture (we felt as if we were part of a science fiction film set at times) and, in contrast, other parts of the city felt like you were immersed in the old mysterious Orient.
Our first stop was the newly opened Gardens by the Bay. The Cloud Forest dome was fantastic with a 90 foot waterfall cascading from the man-made mountain inside, mossy trees nearby and walls filled vertically with an enormous range of tropical plants and flowers. There must have been every type of Orchid in all shapes, sizes and colours. The mists were ‘switched on’ at various times and the whole dome enclosed you in its artificial cloud which my children absolutely loved. The Flower Dome next door was also wonderful.
There were also towering, tree-like sculptural metal structures with plants growing upwards around their trunks. The walkway linking these metal trees allowed great views across the gardens but even these towers, which felt high from the top, were dwarfed by the huge hotel next door – The Marina Bay Sands.
We walked through the Heritage Gardens, over the foot bridge and took the lift to the 58th floor observation deck where the view was out of this world, across the city and out over the bay; tankers in the shipping lanes below us looked like ants and the sheer volume of them was unexpected.
I love the juxtaposition of tropical flowers with modern buildings and Singapore did this so well.
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.