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Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label inspiration. Show all posts

02: Inspiration - Nature in the Home - Kirsten Rickert

A while ago I came across Kirsten Rickert's incredible instagram feed, and fell in love. Her beautiful, dreamy, evocative images of her daughters, nature and art are so incredible I just had to share them with you.  I am delighted that Kirsten agreed to a little interview, I know you will love her work just as much as I do...

Please could you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?

You will find me in the garden, woods, or in a field of wildflowers. I always have busy hands, making, creating and foraging for collected natural treasures. I grew up in an alternate area of subtropical Australia, when I left home I travelled around the world solo for many years. I started university in my mid twenties, studying fine art. I finished my degree at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Then I had babies! We now live just outside of Manhattan where I spend my time homeschooling our two daughters. My role of mother comes first, woven into this role I am a freelance artist, writer and photographer, contributing to magazines internationally. I am also trying to write a book! 

You have a love of nature, that is evident in your photography, can you tell us where this love began?
I was very fortunate to grow up in a part of the world that is like paradise. My mother's family have farms and many hours of my childhood were spent roaming paddocks, playing in the dam and creek, jumping off waterfalls and beach combing. As a child I did not know how lucky I was, I did not know any different. Years of traveling as an adult brought home to me just how fortunate I was to grow up in this area. There are many beautiful places in the world, but I realised that a place where you can grow a massive variety of fruit and vegetables all year round and I place with untreated clean/fresh water, and incredible diversity of plants and animals is really a special place. Over time it sinks in that these are the things that really matter, not just for me, but everyone. The area I grew up in also has a lot of alternate thinkers and environmentalist, so you could say my love of nature was in the air I breathed. My family worked very hard to have the land that they have and I am so very grateful for my childhood spent on it. It was very simple, and basic and humble, and my family were not rich in money, but I look back now and think wow, I was blessed I was to have a connection to this land, the plants and the animals. 

You have traveled the world, where do you consider home?
Home is Australia, this area I talk about above, on far north coast of NSW. One day we will return. My family are waiting for us to hurry up and move back! In my dreams we build a home and settle for good on my Aunt and Uncle's property in the rain forest. In the meanwhile I have easily have made myself at home in other places along the way. 

I love how creative you are, where does your inspiration come from? 
Looking out my window, the environment and my daughters. I really try and be inspired by what is happening right before my eyes. I am also inspired by things I see happening in the environment that I wish were not happening. Like the decline of the honey bees, chemicals being sprayed on crops, monoculture, genetic modified food, poor treatment of animals, excessive consumerism, plastic, and basically the earth's resources being misused...all of these things fuel my passion to create for change. I am conscious to use my creativity in a positive way that adds something to life, but does not cost the earth greatly. We all want beauty in our life, but to me something is only beautiful if it is good from the roots, if it comes from a good place, with good conscious intention/decisions. I was thinking earlier today as I was sorting some shells how much I dislike those white store bought starfish you see in homes. To me, when I see them sitting in windows and on coffee tables, I don't think "What a lovely seaside trinket" I think of those poor starfish being mass harvested from the ocean, killed and then bleached! Three things that are really actually terrible. It makes my wonder why people would want that "energy" in their space. A souvenir like that, to me does not convey a good experience. I am always surprised that people do not use their imaginations to consider how things end up in a store for sale. Anyway...with that said, my goal is to source things and create in a gentle way, as much as possible. 

What is your favorite time of year? 
Well each season appeals to me for one reason or another, I find something to look forward to with each change the weather brings. I love the change of season, I get excited like a child. I grew up with only two seasons, summer and what might be considered Autumn and so this experience of living in the north east of America has been a treat as there are really distinct seasonal changes. It has been a novelty and a great source of inspiration. I suppose if I have to choose, it would be spring, for the flowers and that wonderful feeling of awakening and new life after a long winter, it is such a celebration..ooohhh but I love Christmas time too! 

You involve you daughters in most of your creative projects, do they help you in the making? 
Yes, the girls are always involved one way or another, and I see this deepening as they get older because they seem to be getting more and more involved. Beyond helping me forage and collect and be my models, I ask them to share their creative opinions too. They give me feedback and together we discuss what we think works. I love that we work together. It is one of the great experiences of homeschooling, they are learning and creating right along with me. 

You use a lot of plants & flowers in your art, where do source your supplies? 
Generally I use whatever I can find abundant and free in the environment. Things growing in my garden, or things I see while out walking. I work with found seasonal flora, sticks, rocks, feathers, or any other natural items that I stumble across or that stands out to me. Like for instance the other day our neighbour trimmed his trees and the girls and I collected all of the cuttings and then the next moment I was laying the leaves all over our attic floor...I needed to work with the leaves, they were just sitting there and I was compelled to make them a creative medium so that they were not wasted! If you go for a drive with me in the country side I will pull the car over and stop a zillion times to look at things growing along the side of the roads. My children are very patient! If I am not working with things from nature, I look for recycled materials that are also free and abundant, like cardboard! 

Do you have any tips for my readers on how to display nature in the home? 
Hmmm... I do not know that displaying nature in my home is my strong point. We certainly have a large collection of found things from nature, but I do not think we display things in the best possible way. We have moved a lot the past few years and we often talk about moving back to Australia so I have not invested in household furniture or put much thought into decorating, because our situation is temporary. We have lots of collections in baskets and bottles and things sitting along the fireplace mantle. I think if I knew we were settled then I would apply my creativity to displaying/decorating within our home with more enthusiasm. 

Finally, what is your favorite flower? 
Oh I do not have one favorite! Certain flowers definitely evoke emotion and memories for me, I grew up with subtropical flowers and now live in a very different climate. I would say I have favorite flowers depending on the geography, climate and season. I could not possibly choose just one. All flowers are beautiful in there own way, but it is the combination of scent and the beauty and the nostalgia that pulls the heart strings... from my childhood it would be gardenias, jasmine, frangipani...more recently with the change of geography and climate I have fallen in love with cherry blossoms, roses and iris. Oh I love flowers, there are so many more I want to add to the list! 

Thank you Kirsten!  You are such an inspiration, you have certainly inspired me to get out there, a create works of natural art... I might start with a mandala this weekend.  

I wholeheartedly agree with the starfish thing. I must admit I have one, it was a gift from my grandmother, so although it's a horrible thought what happened to the starfish and the process, I can't bear to part with it because it came from her!  Taking items from nature, should be a free flowing process, never taking much, nor anything living (shellfish etc).  I think that you, Kirsten, do it with such grace, and mindfulness, we should all follow your lead.

01: Inspiration - Nature in the Home - Philippa Stanton aka 5ftinf...

I love Instagram. I am on there all day, checking in on friends, posting images of my life and discovering great talent.  One of which is Brighton based Philippa Stanton.  As soon as I saw her feed I fell in love.  Table top images of flowers, and daily ephemera.  And it seems most IG like it too with over 303,000 followers and counting!  

So, what better person to interview about her still life images and her love of flowers for #natureinthehome?  Over to you Philiippa...

Please can you introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do?
I am Philippa Stanton, and I am an artist... I mostly use synaesthesia to create abstract paintings of the visual textures, colours and shapes I experience when either listening to music, people talking, or simply taste or smell. ( I also paint sea with boats, and snow with huts.) 

When I was younger I used to watch Roy Castle on Record Breakers and think he was amazing because he did so many different things: Amongst other things; tap dancing ( he held a record for the most taps in a minute at one point, I think ), playing the trumpet, singing, acting, presenting...and generally being a nice man. I thought all his talents were amazing and highly enviable... But one day mum said to me: "Roy Castle should have been a big star worldwide, but he's just too good at too many things" I was shocked that being good at lots of things could be a problem!! There was SO much I wanted to do, and which I knew I'd be good at, but my mum saying that about Roy Castle kind of worried me... 

At school I was always torn between art and drama, but I wasn't naturally good at drawing, and acting came very easily. So after 6th form, I briefly decided that I'd combine both art and theatre, and study History of Design, as I knew that the social history behind design would be very useful background for being in plays. I arrived at Manchester Poly and almost instantly knew I had made the wrong decision, even though I loved the subject. So, to cut a long story short, I left early and went on to train at RADA. ...

Another long story later, and also cut short, is that after a lot of theatre work, I had a child, moved to Brighton, had a long period of unemployment, and then an awful divorce... I started to paint was an expression of me without having to talk about anything. I painted what was going on inside my head, and painting therefore anchored a large part of my creative self. 

Subsequently, what has gone on over the last 9 years has been a journey of creativity born out of sheer necessity, and a creative journey that is still evolving and developing... I have realised that creating, making and documenting is just who I am, and where I'm at my best, although I am still in the process of trying to make that all into a more sustainable way of life. Everything I do, be it making lampshades from vintage maps, taking photographs (or even still acting occasionally), has become a way of trying to make a self-employed living from being able to do lots of things. Obviously I'm in no way on Roy Castle's level, (although there's still time for me to catch up!), and there's a trumpet on top of my wardrobe still waiting to be played! 

Where does your love of flowers come from? 
My love of flowers comes from my love of detail, I think. Ever since I can remember, I loved being in the garden looking at every element of a plant. I remember endlessly taking apart the buds of Hebe's, just to find out what was in the centre, and being amazed at the colours and beautiful prettiness in the petals of London Pride, which from a distance looked like nothing much at all, and which had strangely disproportionate leaves. I remember a school project where I had to collect and name wild flowers, which I loved, and one Christmas being given a giant flower press. 

My mum always sent me out to pick a bunch of flowers ( probably just to get me out from under her feet ), but I always loved it and she always told me the names of what I'd picked. I remember picking laburnum once, and being fascinated by the individual yellow flowers which made up the drooping shape, and then being terrified when my mum told me that it was poisonous. I wouldn't walk under the yew tree in case a berry accidentally fell into my mouth... (she'd read out a newspaper article about a child who had been poisoned by yew!).

I think poisonous plants scared me because I was naturally inclined to investigate plants and flowers...picking them apart so that I could see every part of them, and then to think that they could kill me was terrifying to a 7 year old, so I became even more interested in them; looking them up and reading about them, and my Granny had no end of books and also the most amazing garden ever. I would bring things in and she would tell me their names. She would send me out to look for things ( often for her flower arrangements ) and I was very proud once when I brought her in a perfect skeleton holly leaf, as she said that to get one that perfect was rare! I could never get over, and still can't, the incredible amounts of plants that we have around is a constant lesson, and once I learn about a plant it sort of becomes a member of my family! 

So my love for flowers comes from being lucky enough to be surrounded by them as a child, and having my mum and Granny able to tell me lots about them and also share their own love of them. 

Your tabletop images on Instagram have a huge following, could you tell us about your daily vignettes?
They weren't a planned project...they were just borne out of gardening, sitting, drinking tea and wanting to bring some of my garden inside. I've had the Table for years and it's had a few different positions in the room, but where it is now, with the combination of light and texture, it seems to magically capture a quiet moment. The arrangements are a daily meditation: a visual poem or haiku. They make me stop, simplify and really concentrate on the beauty of small things, and this seems to resonate with a lot of people. 

I love how each day the same table has a different view, how do you decide what to photograph?
I'm always led by the light and the flowers themselves. Often I start the day with picking a small bunch of flowers, arranging them and then sitting, having a cup of tea, and just looking. Flowers and plants are such a good focus for an easy, everyday sort of meditation. ( as is washing up too...I don't have a dishwasher! ) Being with flowers; looking at them, and in greater detail than you think you have time for, is the best way I have to give them my respect and admiration, and I think this also may be a reason I seem to be able to capture them in photography. Colour is also important, but I never plan's just how I feel that day, as are the objects on the table which are there as a sort of balance, and usually have some sort of history attached to them.

What is your favourite season? 
My favorite season is probably Spring as it's always such a relief and also always so exciting, but I also like the calm of Winter and the challenge of making dead plants and leaves work on the Table too. 

What tips can you give my readers on floral display, arrangement and photography?
Always spend time looking at the flowers in detail...know and appreciate each stem and never overlook what they want to do. Go with their natural line, even if it's trying to do something you don't want it to. Let go of any big ideas you have for the flowers or the arrangement itself, and see what they want to do. Leaves, buds and seed heads are as important as flowers. 

Always think of how they are in nature, how they have grown, even if they are bought flowers. If you notice something slightly out of place in the photo, around the flowers, which slightly shakes the balance; adjust it. If you think that will do, the photo will never be as satisfying and calming as the arrangement you see in front of you. Still life photography is an art...not just a snapshot, and as such you need to give it time and also combine it with unthinking intuition. 

What is your favourite flower?
A very hard question...but a tulip, in bud, is a thing of amazingly simple beauty. 

Finally, I understand you will be running workshops next year, could you tell us about those?
I'm still forming the workshop idea, but I will be putting together flower arranging and still life workshops along the lines of what I've talked about here. They will be small workshops (a maximum of 10 people) which will encourage people to look for longer before 'doing', take in a whole atmosphere, and also help them look at composition and structure as well as simple mobile phone photography tips. 

Encouraging people to see in a different way; and in their own way, is very important and discovering your own view helps unlock masses of creativity. So hopefully there will be more solid plans coming together during the summer, and people should e-mail me if they want to be put on a list of those who will hear first about them.

Thank you Philippa.  I absolutely adore your work.  Such a brilliant interview too, I'd totally forgotten about the Trumpet playing, world record achieving Roy Castle!  Legend!!

Philippa is kindly giving away two mounted & wrapped prints to two lucky Littlegreenshed readers (the prints are the last two images - Bread & Pond Life).

More of Philippa's work can be found here:

To enter please complete the little rafflecopter thingy below...  Good luck

Edit:  The winners are:

Bethany - Pond Life
Catching Sundust - Bread

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yes, I am going to try.
Be kind and create good karma.. surely is enough? right?