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?
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.
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.
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.
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, art/creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 20 years, and is well known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for architects and property developers. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
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