What inspires your work?
I’ve always believed in the power of plants to transform surroundings. I started working with plants in containers a long time ago, while I was renting a house. I was soon captivated by the design possibilities you’re presented by the constraints of working with such a small surface area. You can plant a container or window box with such an enormous range of styles. There are always the classic box balls which will never fail to look stylish. You can add a few low growing flowers like pansies around the base. Or you could start with a standard tree and under-plant around the trunk with salvias and grasses for a prairie effect. You can play with contrasts – I love for example a deep purple leaf contrasted with a green and white variegated grass.
I guess you could say that plants are my inspiration. Whenever I visit one of my nursery suppliers I go into a sort of trance while I look around and mentally design the layout. Once I’m back and planting it’s quick and easy, the plan is all there in my head.
You just need to know three fundamentals about the plants you’re choosing; they need to all like the same soil type and the same amount of light and water.
What has been the work that you are most proud of?
I’m always delighted to see my clients’ faces when they receive their planters, especially when they’ve ordered them already planted up. I’ve often had compliments along the lines of “Wow, you’ve totally exceeded my expectations!” It’s always given me so much pleasure to arrive back at my house and see my own planters, so I’m really proud to think that my work has spread that joy to other people.
This new range of personalised planters is completely unique to the market and they add such a smart touch to a front door step and such a fun and stylish touch to a wedding venue.
I’m just hoping that somewhere there’ll be a wedding anniversary NOT forgotten because there’s a planter in the garden to remind a couple of the date. That would be a moment to be proud of!
What is your most important artists’ tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Music. Without a doubt, every creative process requires music in my opinion.
What’s the best and worst thing about being a designer?
Well, as a designer you’re really putting yourself out there, you’re telling the world that this is your opinion of good taste and good design. Of course this is subjective, so you’ll never please everyone!
Once in a former life as a textile designer, a client, from an extremely prestigious French design house, looked at a design I’d submitted, and said “Do you think this is nice?!” Crushing! But it didn’t matter too much, we’d worked together on collections for 13 years and I saw hundreds of the designs I did for him in shops on Bond Street and on real people.
Which brings me to the best thing about being a designer. It’s the pleasure of that moment when you see that someone you don’t know has picked your design, paid for it, and is using it. I think that’s what keeps all designers going back to their drawing board to make a new collection. There’s a compulsion to create.
Just to indulge me, your favourite Take That member?
Take who? I’m more of an indie kid myself.
Good quality gin and tonic. A classic. It needs to be COLD. Keep the gin and the tonic in the fridge at all times. And use at least 4 ice cubes in each glass.
Happy planting 🙂
Thanks to Chloe for chatting to us at Design Essentials, we are looking forward to welcoming her personalised planter designs at the store. Here’s a look at a few on our website.