MY STORY & MY PHILOSOPHY
Here's a little of my story. My creative journey began in 1972 as the only child at Bath Academy of Art. My parents were second year students and I was, presumably, under everyone's feet! My Danish mother spoke to me in her own language, and I grew up as much Danish as English.
Despite such an audaciously creative start I somehow never made it back to art college. In my early years I was always busy with two things - looking at flowers, and creating. At age three, Father Christmas brought me my very own packet of toilet paper (pink, I remember) so I could make all the snowflakes I liked without putting the rest of the household out. Over the years I learned many crafts including paper making - and when I wasn't curating an exhibition of my handmade papers in my own bedroom, I was outdoors in the Yorkshire countryside, looking at flowers. My identification book became my bible, and I still have it.
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The thing is, sometimes you veer off your true path, and I did. I graduated with a degree in English and Philosophy, went on to the usual telesales, shop work, training, consultancy, management - I'm not foolish enough to dismiss it all - I learned a lot. But it took a decade post graduation to get myself onto the right path, and difficult events in my personal life forced my hand. As a couple we were told we would never have children and I thought 'it's now or never'. I sought out people who could teach me and absorbed as much learning as I could before finally, in 2005, I founded Dragonfly. I taught myself graphic design and specialised in wedding stationery.
In 2008, two things happened – after leaving my job and taking on premises, the business took off and, miraculously, I fell pregnant – with twins. This should have been such a happy time (and it wasn't all bad!) but I don’t remember much of it – I had twins, I had a business and I couldn’t take my foot off the pedal. In 2016 I was burnt out and I broke down. It took me nearly four years to recover. Looking back - a huge contributing factor was eco-anxiety. Disconnection from nature, disillusionment with the system and realising I was part of the problem. Even as a stationer, plastic is everywhere. By 2019 I was beginning to rebuild myself and thinking about how to change the business when – boom! Pandemic! All I had wanted for so long was for the world to stop and give me a break, and it did.
Lockdown gave me time - to reassess and to learn. I now realise that I have something I need to say to the world and it’s all about the importance of being connected – both to nature and to your authentic self. I’m tired of being quiet!
Through my work I want to honour and celebrate our natural environment, and I aim to do it in as sustainable a way as possible. All my paper botanicals are unique pieces, created by hand in my studio in Hoylake, Wirral. Starting with a simple sheet of crepe, I dye much of my own paper using plant and vegetable matter and work hard to eliminate plastic in my work. Petals are individually cut and shaped, each step taken by studying the flower. Flowers are assembled using wire, wax tape and glue. Creating paper flowers is a wonderfully mindful artform and I love to share this through my workshops.
My favourite flowers will always be the wild ones - the insignificant little ones, whose beauty can only be truly appreciated when examined through a magnifier - or when magnified in a piece of botanical art. I am now expanding my process to increase the size of my botanical pieces to reveal as much detail as possible. Watch this space - I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
If my story resonates with you, please do get in touch!