Check out these crafty creatives inspired by mother nature
Image: Marisa Morton / Unsplash
Nature has always provided inspiration to artists – whether writers or musicians, poets or makers. If an afternoon in your garden or a walk in the woods leaves you energised and buzzing with creativity, why not take up a botanical craft? Follow some of these nature-inspired makers on Instagram to get you started.
Beautiful wild-dyed textiles made from foraged dyes
“The plants that are most familiar to us can be the ones that surprise us the most,” writes Flora Arbuthnott of Wild Dye Garden. Flora is a printmaker, forager, and natural dyer who can transform a whole host of plants like nettle, onion, rosemary and bay into beautiful textile dyes. Follow Flora as she experiments with madder and lady’s bedstraw. And be inspired to ditch fast fashion in favour of natural dyes.
Hues of walnut, pomegranate and madder create this divine patchwork
Did you know that avocado stone makes a gorgeous blush-pink dye? Or that the crispy outer skins of an onion produce coppery, rusty tones? Alicia Hall is a botanical dyer and National-Trust gardener who creates beautiful hand-crafted textiles for her company Botanical Threads. Her Insta feed is a calming, beautiful space where chlorophyll meets cloth.
Lovely greens in Tanya’s homemade peppermint soap
“Live simply, grow your own food, make natural things,” is the motto Tanya, of Lovely Greens, lives by. From her allotment on the Isle of Man, Tanya shares gardening tips, beauty recipes and herbal remedies. So if you’d like to try making Turkish delight from your own rose petals, or cedarwood and lemongrass soap, Tanya is your woman. Follow her on Instagram for these and other botanical secrets.
Rebecca’s favourite local dye-plants include nettle and hawthorne
“I’m the happiest when making things with my hands,” writes natural dyer, Rebecca Desnos. Using vegan dyeing techniques – plant-based fabrics, soy milk as mordant, and plants and vegetable dyes – Rebecca creates beautiful textiles. She forages plants on walks with her son, and rescues avocado stones and pomegranate skins from her kitchen to add to her rainbow of natural colours. The results are breathtaking.
Crumpled linen and peonies – two of Kathryn Davey’s favourite things
Peonies and crumpled linen are two of designer and natural dyer, Kathryn Davey’s favourite things. She learnt natural dyeing techniques whilst living in Northern California. Kathryn now designs luxury textiles in Dublin, using Irish linen, sustainably hand dyed in her studio. With muted hues of turmeric, iron, tea and madder, expect a feed as romantic and beautiful as those peonies.
Christine’s gentle work is nature-inspired hand stitching
“Sometimes your soul just needs a few moments alone…”, writes Christine Kelly. This self-taught textile artist and mother gets few moments to herself but, when she does, she makes the most of them hand stitching beautiful images from nature onto vintage textiles. Christine’s feed is a delicate space to pause and reflect on the gentleness of her work.
“The plants that survive the diverse climate never cease to amaze,” writes Bunchy Casey of her Shetland home. Landscape and fauna inspire Bunchy in creating her hand-dyed wools and natural leaf prints. She uses heather, willow bark and alder cones in her work, dyeing wool from the hardy sheep that share her island home.
“Collecting nature finds can help to divert your mind away from daily stresses,” writes Emma Mitchell. This illustrator, naturalist and designer-maker uses botanical crafts to boost her mood and combat depression through the long winter months. She gathers the natural treasures spied on her daily walks into beautifully curated collections – drawing, pressing, preserving and crafting them into works of art.
We hope you feel inspired to turn your hand to botanical crafts like these. Share your creations with us on Instagram or Facebook. And if you post plant-inspired art on your own feed, we’d love to see and share your work.
For these amazing allotmenteers, it’s a way of life…
Are you a proud allotment cultivator? Or do you have your name down on the waiting list? If you’d like to learn a little more about how to get the most from your plot, these allotment Instagrammers are a green-fingered bunch whose photo journals are guaranteed to delight, educate and inspire.
About 3 hours on gas mark one should just about roast your tomatoes for long enough to make Lesley’s fab garlic and herb sun-dried tomatoes. A former teacher, wedding planner and allotmenteer par excellence, Lesley’s growing adventures are worth following – check out her highly original melon holders – the ideal support for swelling fruit.
Looking for some bumble bee-friendly plantings for your garden or allotment this season? My_little_lotty’s borage is a good bet – and you don’t necessarily need a greenhouse to bring it on. This instagrammer says her seedlings are doing well in the spare room. Looking for a longer read? Don’t forget to check out My_little_lotty’s allotment blog.
How do you get a sickly hedgehog to uncurl? Find out how Anna nursed her underweight garden visitor back to rude health with her blow-by-blow pictorial account of “Hogatha’s” treatment. One Lhasa Apso dog, three hens, four quail, and an allotment combine to make up Anna’s little corner of the good life, not to mention the bees, who for reasons unknown, seem to have made their home under their hive.
What do you do when you’ve got to say goodbye to your allotment? Easy – Isabel, aka, “The crochet gardener” is simply boxing up all her favourite plants and taking them with her as she makes the move from Wigan to Wales. When she’s not busy in the garden or allotment, this greenfingered seamstress is creating unique allotment-inspired crochet pieces – you’ll love the one with the rhubarb.
“Does anyone else struggle with weeds around/under raspberries” asks Emily of Wellies and Wheelbarrows? From adding wood chips to leaving the mess to do its own thing, you’ll find some great solutions here. And when she’s not in the allotment, Emily’s a dab hand in the kitchen too – check out her delicious looking rosemary and lemon shortbread – the perfect pick-me-up for the weary gardener. Enjoy with a well-earned cuppa.
Crop rotation helps keep your soil in fine fettle – which is why the veggie chronicler has come up with a scheme for one of her plots. She says “I find it helps me to plan what seeds i need to sow and check my seed stash as we draw nearer to spring.” Some good ideas here to keep you interested – like her Growlight garden which is all set for bringing on her precious chilli seedlings.
Want to help keep the birds fed during the winter months? Save your summer flowerheads, says the Shropshire gardener – it’s a cost-effective and attractive way to look after garden birds, plus keeping some seeds aside guarantees you’ll have plenty of blooms in your borders next year too. A lovely mix of fruit, flowers and veggies, there’s something for everyone here.
“Enjoying every moment of harvests like these” says the holder of Allotment_23
Looking for some recipe ideas for your home-grown carrots? This instagrammer enjoys hers “roasted with chicken thighs in paprika and cumin”, along with some cabbage and peas she grew earlier and put in the freezer. As-well-as plenty of harvest pics to inspire, you’ll find some excellent recipe ideas here – like this roasted treat inspired by none-other-than the Hairy Bikers – a pumpkin tray bake to die for.
This Instagrammer hopes the frost stays away
“There were actual “ooohs” when we unearthed it this morning,” says the owner of Plot 37. She’s talking about the rather marvellous parsnip she dug up. She says she’s more pleased than is reasonable, but it looks pretty big to us. An allotmenteer from SW London, here’s proof that you can grow your own even in the big smoke – the hens recently began laying again too. Well-fed, they pounce whenever there’s digging happening.
One gardener who talks the “torc”, and wears it too
“Pretty cool glass gems are coming good now. I may have a go at making popcorn for the chidlers!” says dad of two, Dave Graney. We’d say his multi-coloured maize is “amazing”. To say Dave’s allotment is productive is an understatement to put it mildly. Check out his incredible haul of squashes – they’re so big and bountiful, his boy has to move them by JCB!
Is there a fab allotment Instagram account we’ve missed? Tell us where to look by visiting our Instagram or Facebook page and leaving us a message.