Yarn and flowers has long been the ECY aesthetic - right from the beginning my favourite thing was to photograph yarn together with flowers from my garden. Many of the colourways - probably most of them actually - are inspired by flowers and have flower names. There’s clematis, named after my favourite pink clematis in our garden when I was growing up; Rambling Rose - an ECY classic - named for the delicate pink of rambling roses I can’t remember where; Lobelia - for the glowing, luminous little flowers popping up everywhere in autumn; Crocosmia for the rusty orange flowers… the list goes on.
I used to enjoy photographing flowers long before I started the business, so photographing flowers with my yarn was an absolute no-brainer.
Over the years this has remained consistent; I don’t even think my style has changed that much. For me, arranging yarn and flowers together is an artistic challenge - the composition can either just fall together exactly right or in some cases it’s really hard to find the right arrangement. The colours are perfect but the flowers just won’t sit quite how I want, or just don’t look right on camera.
The nice thing about doing this is that it has made me much more observant; I constantly look at colours within my environment, and I see colours going together in new combinations all the time. Not just in flowers and nature but the built environment too. Every now and then I go into our local florist or look at the flowers in the supermarket and what I’m seeing is yarn colours, not simply flowers. I constantly study contrasts and compliments in terms of both colour and texture, so I might look at a bunch of cream flowers and nearby there’s a dusky robin egg shade, and I think how they’d look great together with a nice gentle contrast.
I’ve always used flowers from my own garden for my photography, but I do compliment that with flowers from our local florist. Why? Well it’s a bit silly really but I don’t like to cut flowers from my garden because I want to leave them where they’re meant to be - both visually (I don’t want gaps) and for the wildlife - I plant/sew wildlife-friendly flowers pretty much always. So even in summer when the garden is in full bloom, I’ll use it for inspiration and I will cut a few flowers, but I top up with more from the florist. I keep them long past their best, as well. In fact I often have dead flowers in vases for weeks before finally binning them. I find inspiration there - in the way the petals curl and change colour, often going brown around the edges and developing darker colours - especially in purple flowers. I love dead roses in particular - you have to be really delicate with them or the petals will drop off but the way they age and die is so beautiful to me.
Nearly-dead daffs on my kitchen windowsill ^^
As I develop our new (well, this will be the second summer in it) garden this year I think you’ll see a return back to the number of garden/flower-related photos that you may be more used to if you’ve followed me for a while. Last year there was a bit of a lack of them because we’d moved in the July before and I was ill over that Autumn, winter, and spring, so I was in no place to do anything with the garden, and there wasn’t anything already in as the whole garden was (and still mostly is) covered in grey gravel. Late last summer we did finally create a border all the way along the long edge - we’ve had to completely gut this garden though, including removing a hedge and replacing with fence (sounds industrial but it’ll work out better for wildlife in the long run, and we needed a fence). I’ll try and find some before and so-far photos so you can see what we’ve done. I’m hoping that this year we’ll finally get rid of the gravel and then I can have a grass (I want a meadow-style though, not a neat lawn) and make my border wider. I’ve been organised and last October I planted bulbs in all my containers, so that I’d actually have some colour this spring - it’s worked a treat! I’ve started posting the results of that on Instagram just this week. I’ve also sown wildflower seeds in my border, amongst the shrubs and perennials. They include aquilegia and marsh mallow collected from my previous garden so it’ll be really satisfying if they take off. Everything I do has to be low maintenance because I have very little spare time and a back injury which can’t cope with a lot of gardening, so if that’s your kind of gardening to then we’re going to get on well!
So.. if you’re new to following me on social media and you see an increase in flower pictures and random petals adorning my yarn, well I’m afraid that’s really what you’re in for, as it’s what we’ve always been about and intend to be for years to come. If I can inspire people to enjoy nature and be more observant then that’s great. Can you spot new colour combinations and shapes and textures that go together, that you might not have noticed before? What’s going on in the hedgerows and by the roadside? Are there little wildflowers you may not have noticed before? Even dandelions are good for the environment and their bright pops of yellow brighten up the darkest of places.
Nature's own photo props picked from my garden - late summer 2017 ^^