Cover Story: Untamed Spring

Photography: Lauren Gibson Photographer
Location: Mount Stromlo Observatory, Canberra
Dresses: Vintage pieces
Model: Bronte Sinclair
Florals: Stems From Her
Porcelain: Zoe Slee
Hair and make-up: Jaimee Storrier

Flowers are beauty in its simplest form. I love working with nature to create something unique and styling that uniqueness for photography. I’m a floral stylist based in Melbourne, Australia. My business name is Stems From Her. I love travelling and becoming inspired by what other florists and photographers are doing around the world. Working with fellow creatives like Zoë Slee, we create visual imagery that transcends both our backgrounds and gives new meaning to our passions, trades and mediums.

When I’m coming up with a concept for a shoot, I immerse myself in visual stimuli. I create mood boards and plan every single detail from makeup, outfits, location, what types of flowers I want to use and colour palettes. I get completely consumed by the concept, then search for the perfect team to help me execute it. Each team member brings their own creative style and aesthetic to the shoot and I’m always blown away by the final images.

For this project we challenged ourselves to combine ceramics and flora into something wearable, an idea quite outside both our comfort zones. Zoë works predominantly with porcelain, often inspired by her travels, like me, and the natural world around her. I had seen a sculpture of hers in an exhibition previously and this got us talking of the potential to collaborate. I knew she already had a jewellery range developing under the brand of ZBYZOE alongside her art practice, so we began discussing other ways of creating wearable ceramics that could be used in conjunction with flowers. While I gathered ideas in Melbourne, she was working in her studio in Canberra, crafting beautiful porcelain twigs by hand to be assembled when we came together. Each twig she collected from the wild, cast in a plaster mould and then used those moulds to press the porcelain into. Once the twigs were moulded in porcelain, each was then smoothed and sanded by hand before being fired in the kiln. Being meticulous in attention to detail was crucial, and she made sure that the individual markings of each of the twigs were still present in the porcelain, distilled in time in the clay.

It is quite a unique idea to combine the solid, permanent materiality of clay with the fragile and ephemeral nature of flowers. Through our experimentation and exploration this collaboration came to encapsulate the essence of spring in the wild. We arranged our materials into enchanting headpieces, where icy cool porcelain combines with the warm blushes of wildflowers. The shoot took place in a ruined telescope dome, previously destroyed by bushfires and now surrounded by nature. We thought this fitted perfectly with our combination of materials. Together, the location and our materials speak of permanence and transience simultaneously, echoing the power of nature, the change of season and a return to spring. The unlikely combination of flora and clay works together, reminiscent of the first spring blooms peeking through the snow as it melts around them. It is truly what it is like to wear spring in the wild.