Today, I’m absolutely delighted to introduce you to a lady I’ve admired for some time now. Her name is Sania Pell and she’s a stylist, designer and author…who has a real passion for flowers.
As her new book ‘The Homemade Home for Children‘ officially comes out today, I felt it was a perfect time to feature Sania on Flowerona.
Could you tell us a little bit about your background and how your love of flowers developed?
My love of flowers first began as a child playing in my parents’ garden. My mother loved gardening and we had many different varieties of bushes, roses and flowering shrubs, and a beautiful flowering cherry tree all growing there.
The flowers from the garden would make their way into my flower press, which I still possess and now use with my five year old daughter. I would then use the pressed flowers to make cards and decorative pictures.
I worked part-time in a local florist when I was eighteen whilst studying on my art foundation course at a local college.
There, I really learned to love and appreciate flowers even more and how different types work together in bunches. I also learned the names of many different flowers, which became really useful in my creative career.
After school and art foundation I went on to do a textile design degree at Edinburgh College of Art where I drew and painted flowers in quite an abstract way and also based projects around their silhouette and outline, and played with scale, a huge flower drawing next to a miniature one.
This love of drawing flowers continued into my career as a commercial textile designer in a design studio where I drew, painted and embroidered designs for fashion and furnishing fabrics and floral themes were often prevalent.
One of my highlights was seeing one of my floral designs printed on an Armani dress in Vogue magazine, which you can see below.
Eight years later I moved into interiors styling for editorial and commercial photo shoots where I consider flowers as an integral part of the overall look to a room set.
They give life to an otherwise inanimate space and both the flowers and the space complement each other.
You often feature flowers in your beautiful images on your blog. Where do you get your inspiration for these images?
I feature flowers often as I love photographing them and they are something that always change. I see it as a continuation of my drawing and I sketch with the camera.
I often lay the flower heads down flat and in patterns and photograph them from above, as I would if I was designing fabric.
Having a blog is a way of sharing my images and a reason to take the pictures in the first place.
There are often interesting blooms in my tiny London garden, which is crammed with bulbs and flowering plants.
Walking past my local florist, whilst taking my children to school, I often spot a beautiful sprig that takes my fancy and ends up being photographed for my blog and looking beautiful at home.
As I am surrounded by so many, it is difficult to resist taking photographs of them.
Can you tell us about any recent commissions where flowers are involved?
I always try to incorporate some flowers into my shoots somewhere but I have an exciting up-coming shoot for a high street brand, working with their flowers and styling them in room sets, which I am delighted to be working on.
I’m also working on an editorial shoot which will include some as a detail as well as a large interior design project.
My first book, The Homemade Home below, includes 50 handmade projects many of which involve flowers or floral designs to some extent. For example, the embroidered window panel, where I stitched flowers freehand on my sewing machine.
There are appliqué pillows, as on the front cover, and throw projects which involve cutting out flowers from patterned fabric and ironing and stitching.
There’s also a sculptural lamp that uses silk flowers and a project showing ways to use real flowers and leaves as an easy way to make your own art.
Plus there are ideas for painted or paper-wrapped bottles to use as vases and others for plant pots for the garden.
They are all techniques I used as a textile designer and I hope I have shown people ways to introduce flowers into their interiors on a throw, a lampshade or on a canvas that are easy to make with rewarding end results.
Your new book, ‘The Homemade Home for Children’, also published by CICO Books, is out today on Amazon. Could you tell us about the flower-related projects which are featured in it?
My new book contains fun and stylish projects to make with and for children.
The cover above shows an embroidered and appliquéd fabric wall hanging for a girl’s bedroom and there are several floral-inspired projects mainly aimed at little girls including a needle case, a flower hair band and hair clips, and a decorated chair and stool for the garden among many others.
These use flower and leaf shapes, floral fabric and silk flowers in a different way from my previous book, but I hope will inspire people to have a try making things, create some homemade, unique items and have fun as a family.
There are lots of fun projects for little boys too…
What is your favourite flower?
My favourite flower, although I could mention at least ten, is the snake’s head fritillary.
I first saw an image of it as a student, in a book of drawings by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
I thought it was a mythical flower that he had invented in his drawings, as the pattern seemed so unreal, but I then discovered it really did exist.
The little pattern of checks on the petals are unbelievable and in Kew Gardens, one of my favourite places to visit which I do regularly as I live close by, there is a vast area planted with them which is just amazing when they flower in the spring.
Many thanks to Sania for all her help in compiling today’s blog post. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and seeing her beautiful floral images.