I could not resist using the above collage. Firstly because it delights me, secondly because it speaks volumes about the joy of this project and thirdly because it was constructed by my two partners in crime, who I love dearly. Yes, WFNC has now been going for a full year and we thought that this month would therefore be good for a retrospective look at each of our own highlights of the year.
WFNC started as a four-person project but our friend Roda had to pull out to concentrate on her apiary business. The current team consists of Dominique Nancy of 3C Style in Canada, Lisa Lawrence of Lismore Paper in the USA, and myself in the UK. Messages are continually flying through the transatlantic ether between us and our deep friendship is a joy. Working toward a dream of a creative future is hard to do alone, but when you have a team of creative people who bond and who share a n ethos and a vision but have different styles and ideas to bring into the mix then magic happens. And we have a mutual support mechanism to get us through the tough times too. ‘An ocean apart but we share the same heart’ describes us perfectly.
We all met through our WP blogs.
After I returned to blogging in summer 2017 after abandoning my blog several months earlier, I made a point of seeking out other artists with an interest in the natural world and met Lisa (and Roda) as a result of this. I loved her art and her multi-stranded creativity and we have SO much in common. We share Instagram posts a lot!
Meeting Dominique was pure coincidence. I was involved in a project at work regarding pesticides and bees and found a wonderful blog post by Dominique on the subject so I left a comment. We have been firm friends since that day. It still scares me that none of this would have happened had I not said hello that day! Dominique’s creativity perfectly complements the team. She generates ideas at an incredible pace and her aesthetic sense is infallible.
The collages in this post were created by Dominique as a gift to me because she knew I have been struggling for both time and energy over the last few weeks. Thank you Dominique.
Obviously, my original contributions to WFNC were my plant photographs, which have inspired Dominique’s styling and Lisa’s artwork. This works in two ways. Sometimes Dominique sees the flower first and simply loves it so much that she purposely looks for outfits to go with it. This was the case with Calochortus obispoensis in the above collage. Other times she has a colour in mind and will ask me to suggest some flowers that might work. Sometimes I get it right first time. Sometimes the colour is really hard for me to match and I can’t see it through Dominique’s eyes. It is amazing how many shades the word ‘peach’ includes! Once these decisions are made Lisa applies her digital art skills to combine our three contributions into images in her incredibly imaginative ways.
My botanical art also has an increasing presence in our collaboration, especially since we started creating designs for our Fashioned By Nature shop. The above strawberry/hearts design for Valentine’s day is a good example of how I try to blend work for WFNC and Fashioned By Nature, with my own ‘fine art’ output. The original idea from Dominique included a number of variations and knowing that most were for digital reproduction I created several alternatives that can be combined digitally, together with Lisa’s lettering. The final ‘fine art’ piece is the bottom row above, which we may offer as prints or cards in the future.
Another thing that makes me so happy is that the influence of my partners has changed my art from purely formal botanical work into things with a lot more fun and whimsy. I am having so much fun as a result!
The departure of Roda left us in need of critter photographs. We have all contributed here. The UK is not known for its exciting wildlife, except in the town centre pubs on Friday nights, but I have a lot of pictures from my travels or of small but fascinating beasties in the garden. The two images of captive creatures above were taken by me on my visit to Montreal. About which – see below.
My trip to Montreal in September was easily the high point of my year. It represented a lot of changes. Normally I go on holiday to get away from people entirely. This is the first time I have ever flown towards them. It was also the first time I had met any of my blogging buddies and, of course, the first time I had met one of the WFNC team. There are always some nerves about meeting someone for the first time but from the moment Dominique met me at the airport I knew everything was going to be just fine. And then, of course Dee Dee and Linda (with Bill) joined us too and it was just so lovely!
Dominique and I knew from our e-mail friendship that we had a great rapport and fairly early in the visit she suggested we might try some fashion photography. I almost never take photos of people but tentatively agreed. The first session produced the photos that Dominique used for her passion flower styling that she revisits in her own post today. Not only did we like the results but it was so much fun that we crammed in as many shoots as possible during the rest of my visit. Images from two of these shoots are shown in the above collage.
I did not escape being a model either. Lisa had created a t-shirt using pictures of our WP friend’s canine buddies. So who better to model it than another mischievous but lovable hairy creature? We would all agree that these projects that involve all three of us are extra magical to work on.
We also had a go at some purely creative photos. This was another new and very rewarding experience. The images above show Dee Dee (with Dominique’s hand) at the botanical gardens, and a goods train next to the river. This taught me to see things anew and I have continued with my more creative work since my return.
St Eustache is where Dominique grew up so she knew of a great shoot location at the flour mill next to the river. She looks very chic doesn’t she? A few minutes later she was swinging from a tree branch laughing her head off!
This barn was in Knowlton. Though she had not planned a shoot here, hence the casual clothes, Dominique spotted the potential of this window as a frame. The left hand image was taken with my phone at dusk in poor light. We returned with my proper camera in better light to take a set of photos of the frame with various props. I have a plan to create something with this set of images, none of which have been shown before.
Late last year our collaboration led to a spin-off in the shape of our fledgling business ‘Fashioned By Nature‘ which enables us to put our designs and ideas from WFNC to further use. As well as her own incredible artistic contribution, Lisa has worked so hard on our Threadless shop!
I have benefited from this project in many ways, both personal and creative. From an artistic perspective it has helped me so much in diversifying my output and in pushing out of my creative comfort zone. The unflagging support and love from the rest of the team is something I am very very grateful for. In May we will have our first team meeting in Montreal and I can’t wait! Ladies – I love and salute you both.