FK chats to Jessica the creator of mini painted potted plants & prints, packed with inspiration. Her label, Birds Nest for Hair, will be debuting at the up coming Melbourne Markets!
Tell us a bit about Birds Nests for Hair and what we can expect to discover?
Birds Nests For Hair is the beloved business I run from my home studio in Adelaide. I create often tiny, always unique and one of a kind pots with quirky messages and happy reminders on them. Most of them are home to a specially chosen succulent/cactus plant which really brings these little loves to life! I also create unique canvases and precious mini prints that are perfect for sticking, posting, framing, pegging or perching wherever you need a blissful little reminder. I spend many hours in my day at my desk, painting, drawing, planning for orders and trying my best to keep on top of emails and paperwork. It’s a continuous learning process and it’s not unusual to find me sneaking hours of work late into the night, with my dog snoring beside me and some tea on the go.
What is your creative background and how did it lead you to where you are today?
From a little girl, I have always felt a compulsion to draw on just about anything I could get my hands on and it was always a dream to make art a big part of my life. After beginning a Visual Arts degree straight out of school and deciding the structure wasn’t for me, I turned to making coffee to earn a living but I spent every day counting down the minutes till I could go home and get messy in my studio. A couple of years ago I plucked up the courage to have my first solo exhibition with a big body of work that I held very close to my heart. It was an incredibly exhilarating experience that was thankfully really well-received… such a life-affirming experience. From that point on I decided to take my work more seriously. A couple of months later I was doing regular markets and had some wonderful local stockists. I quit my ‘day job’ as a barista at the start of last year and launched Birds Nests for Hair, which was as terrifying as it was exhilarating. At the moment my time is spent primarily on client/ shop orders and madly working toward the next event. Every day I feel extremely fortunate to be able to do this as my full time gig.
What inspires you daily?
Oh so many things! The sometimes unnoticed bravery of seemingly ordinary people, weird and wonderful plants, the lives of creative souls and their workspaces, books, stories, music, hidden nooks and quirky shops, our ridiculous dog, my husband and the people I love. Design and artist’s blogs are something I look at for a daily dose of inspiration and Instagram is a deliciously convenient option for constant artistic stimulation. A few of my most favourite accounts are ‘The Design Files’, Millie Fairhall, Naughtyshorts, Sandra Juto and Laura Jones, just to name a few.
What is your workspace like? What is your creative process?
My workspace could definitely be described as barely organised chaos! In the lead up to a market, I am literally weaving a path through a myriad of pots, display furniture and piles of canvases. My cherished work desk was a garage sale find that I am often sanding layers of paint from to keep the surface smooth and upon that are old tins full of brushes and so many fine-line pens… I lose track of how many I go through a week! My studio is full of treasures I have hunted and gathered over time, books I love, flea markets and op shops finds… things I call ‘ugly-beautiful’. I definitely have a weakness for collecting things that look a little unloved!
Once all the pots are painted, I love matching plant to pot and I set a couple of days aside before a market to do just this.
What do you love about working with your pot babies? What are some of the challenges?
I get so much joy from creating these little guys! Each ‘blank’ pot somehow feels different from the next and I guess I paint quite intuitively. Sometimes certain words get really stuck in my head and I get the feeling that maybe somebody somewhere needs to read/be reminded of exactly that… perhaps that things are going to be ok or to take some time out to just have a breather and make some tea. I have had so many beautiful and memorable encounters with complete strangers as a result of their connection with certain messages they find on my work. It is the most wonderful thing and most definitely the motivation behind what I do. I have a real love for words and am always fascinated with the way we can sometimes stumble across the most comforting words at just the right time. I know there have been many times where this kind of occurrence has made me feel less alone.
I tend to be a slightly clumsy (read: accident prone) individual and working with fragile pots can sometimes mean disaster but I have gotten a little better at this over time… practice has done wonders! I am forever learning from this adventure of running my own business; I don’t think that will ever change.
What can we expect to see from Birds Nests for Hair at the upcoming The Finders Keepers Market in Melbourne?
Lots of lovingly hand painted pots to choose from, plenty of unique little canvas blocks & a brand-spankin’ new range of prints. I’ll also have my look books there to give people the opportunity to place orders.