How are you all? I do hope that you and your loved ones are well? This is my first blog post since ‘you know what’. I can’t quite bring myself to mention it because the blog is primarily about sharing interior decorative beauty and will continue to do so. But with the seismic shock that one way or another we have all experienced, the virus has frozen in time everything that happened before March 2020.
Blog on pause
It has taken me a few weeks to process my thoughts. I have been seeking inspiration everywhere, finding comfort in the wisdom of our elders (The Queen’s speech as well as from Captain Tom Moore, the WWII veteran who when I last looked had raised nearly £19 million for the NHS) and looking to some of the inspirational work being done by health workers on ‘the front line’ (as scary as that First World War connotation has).
Nature reclaims the streets
Whilst the negative effects of what has happened are plain for all to see, in response the powerful voice of nature has been so affecting. From the almost deafening birdsong to the abundance of Spring blossom as well as animals reclaiming the streets (a herd of goats that recently wandered in to the deserted streets of Llandudno) has given a certainty that life is beautiful and does carry on.
There is one idea that has really captured my imagination, it comes from artist Anne Roberts, the mother of decorative painter and designer, Flora Roberts.
As for most creatives, all on-site work such as the murals Flora does for private clients have now been put on hold. Flora’s mother referred to these projects recently as the ‘sleeping beauties‘ which would be returned to one day when lockdown is released. A perfectly evocative idea suited to Flora’s magical flower paintings but also an idea that could apply to so many other people’s work too.
There is a sense that protective vines have grown over the castle walls of all our lives. Slightly less evocative perhaps is the idea of the prince with a vaccine – but it is he or she for whom we must wait!
Flora Roberts new wallpaper collection
What we do have to look forward to in the meantime is the launch of Flora’s new wallpaper collection with Hamilton Weston (who also supply wallpapers to film and TV – most recently to Julian Fellowes’ TV series, Belgravia). I cannot wait, so watch this space for details:
I asked Flora how she was finding lockdown life. Flora is currently working and living at her parents with her boyfriend in Dorset.
“I am lucky enough to be spending lockdown here where of course I am really grateful to be surrounded by nature and to be with my family. Aside from the underlying anxiety of the situation I’m sure everyone is experiencing, I’m getting a lot from painting flowers from life. I find myself spending longer on painted studies than I usually would. It is really like a form of meditation,” says Flora.
Arts & Crafts
Flora’s beautiful work always reminds me of the Arts and Crafts era. William Morris, Charles Voysey, Charles Rennie Macintosh, William de Morgan and artists such as Edward Burne-Jones all had a celebration of nature at the heart of their designs which could perhaps not be more relevant for these times.
If you missed them first time around, you might like to take a look at the following related blog posts:
Finally, I would just like to make mention of some fantastic creative friends and former magazine colleagues who have mobilised their sewing expertise to help supply NHS staff with PPE. Making up scrubs for NHS workers are Sarah Clarke of Mrs Trindle Hat Hire and Kelly Rowe.
Also, the Design and Technology department at Leighton Park School in Reading have been making and are now co-ordinating with other schools to supply face shields to NHS workers. With donations from the public, the Leighton Park School collaboration have so far been able to help 79 Covid-19 frontline organisations including 8 hospitals and 18 GP surgeries.
If you are able to donate money or skills, please click the links above.
Thank you so much for reading, take care, keep healthy and just as importantly keep creative.
With best wishes, Charis x