The summer season marks a busy and productive period in the Lost Forest studio. Flower foraging and preservation is a daily ritual during the warm and balmy months. Each day during my walk, I venture out with my trusty bag and scissors to collect snippings of little wildflower blooms, dotted along the honeyed meadows or springing up from the lush undergrowth of the forests.
I am very mindful of how I pick and choose my flowers; they're always from my local surroundings and are picked in a sustainable way. I often spread wildflower seeds every spring/summer on my walks, giving a much needed boost to the local ecology and to aid the pollination process. I have a deep respect for nature and it is my intention to always honour Mother Nature's creations in the most meaningful way as possible. My eco resin creations are my ode to her exceptional work, and a lasting testament to the fine details, patterns and unique characteristics that often go unnoticed in today's fast paced society. Take a moment to stop, look down and marvel at these fine specimens; there's so much more intrigue in one little flower, than any fleeting tweet or Facebook update. My work has always been to celebrate these quiet and simple moments in time and capture them in a wearable memento.
This post is a snapshot of some of my daily foragings over the last few weeks. A colourful display to hopefully bring some bright and happy vibes your way! Such as these stunning Meadowsweet blooms pictured above. I found these along the banks of the lake at my local park, billowing in the summer breeze like mounds of sticky candy floss. Take a look at the minute details of the flowers, just beautiful.
Sprigs of Queen Anne's Lace; always such a lovely and delicate flower to press. It's so plentiful at this time of year and makes a great 'staple' flower for using in my jewellery. My design mantra is 'there's always space for some Queen Anne's Lace!'
Meadowseet once again, wouldn't this make a beautiful wildflower wedding bouquet? I was also lucky to find some Spotted Orchids by the lake. They are a rare find, and always a treat to stumble upon. They are a native flower to Ireland and Northern Europe, belonging to the Orchidaceae family. I also found a magenta pink type; which I'm hoping will keep its colour during the drying process.
While on my mountain walk, I came across some pretty little sprigs of Veronica cusickii or Cusick's speedwell, which is commonly found in forests. It's a lot smaller and more purple in tone than the more frequently seen Veronica chamaedrys or Birdseye Speedwell, as seen below. I also gathered a small cluster of forest ferns and Mottlegill mushrooms or Panaeolina foenisecii, which were peaking above layers of moss on a tree stump in the woods. I was a little too excited to discover these; just look at how tiny and perfect in form they are; not out of place in a fairy forest! They're completely inedible, so miniature mushroom pendants are on the menu instead.
Another forage for Queen Anne's Lace, I could stare at these pretty blooms all day. I also like to dye these, most notably in pink for my top selling Queen of the Garden necklace. It has become a signature style of mine to use the two toned QAL flowers in globe pendants. The ever increasing popularity of this wildflower seems to be catching on, but remember you saw it here first!
The garden is also a favourite place of mine at the moment; heaving with bountiful amounts of colourful blooms. The stunning ornamental Agapanthus looks as though it is heralding in the hot summer weather with its royal blue trumpet-like petals.
I like to document my finds using paper cards; detailing the flower, a few facts and its location and date. It's always nice to look back at my collection and be able to pin-point the time when they were collected. Each and every flower in my stock cabinet has a little story to tell, and that's a pretty endearing quality that you won't find in a mass produced item of jewellery.
A sweet bundle of Forget-me-nots, buttercups and daisies. I always carry a little tin in my handbag when I'm out travelling on day trips. It makes a handy tiny home for my flowers, and also protects them from any bumps or knocks in my bag. It looks quite cute too, which is a bonus!
Early summer saw the return of Mouse-Ear (Chickweed) or Cerastium arvense in the woodlands of the Dublin mountains. It meanders its way along the ground, and always reminds me of tiny stars, which have been scattered across the forest floor.
The red poppy or Papaveraceae, is an enduring and poignant symbol of remembrance. Its flame coloured petals billow in the breeze in such an evocative yet solemn manner. They have such a delicate beauty, and transform magically during pressing; turning bright red to a faded pink.
Daisies in all their form; oxeye, common, chamomile, matricaria and so on. There's a long list of these endearing blooms, and they have such a special place in most peoples hearts, and often evoke nostalgia in us all.
I press and preserve them in all their shapes and forms, and although they can be tricky, they do make the most beautiful and elegant pieces of jewellery.
Finally, how can I forget the garden rose? This stunning pink rose gracefully climbs across our back garden and produces the most beautiful heavenly scented blossoms. I regularly snip a bundle to decorate the studio and even Billie the cat is very fond of them; occasionally she takes it too far and starts to gobble the petals, but I have yet to do that!
This lovely rose was preserved over several weeks during a lengthy and skilled process to retain its blush pink colour. I created a large bib-style pendant to honour this beauty, pretty isn't it? It's the showpiece of my brand new collection 'The Summer Tea Party' which is now available in store.
I hope you all enjoyed joining me on my flower foraging trip and learned a thing or two about the little blooms that fill your surroundings.
- Gillian x