I have day dreamed about photographing all my sacred geometry, trinkets and treasures in flat lays for a while now. You know… one of those idea’s that you know will be RAD but it just stays at the back of your mind in the “yes it will be fun but you have more important things to do” area… and it just gets left behind.
Flats lays have such great impact and are really fun and simple to put together. I love how they aren’t permanent and that, as spontaneously as they are assembled, they are taken apart, without any attachment or regret because each one is photographed. For me it is like writing poetry or drawing my mandalas. There is no hesitation or over thinking, you just do it. One difference is that you can change it up a bit if something doesn’t quite look right or when you get above it to take the photo and there are pieces that need nudging ever so slightly to give the right space between everything.
There are some really great examples of flat lays on Instagram.
coconutandlime by Leana Mullane is infamously pro at creating gorgeous flat lays. They are very popular in the bohemian dreamer gypsy fashion world, mixing garments, jewellery, candles, crystals, pastel colour palettes, dream catchers, flowers & perfume, amongst other things.
iamalchemy makes some beautiful botanical flat lays comprising all things flora, that she finds on her walks. I always love seeing her new pics pop up of collections of seed pods, flowers and leaves.
stephenmccarty is one of a bunch of creative people who make amazing mandala flat lays using fruits, veges and herbs. AMAZING!
So how did I actually manage to make my idea happen?
I decided to watch the new CreativeLive course “Design Surface Patterns from Scratch” by Bonnie Christine of “Going home to Roost“.
Bonnie is so sweet, calm and organised (& looks a bit like SJP) with her whole class presentation, making it a joy to watch and I learnt a lot of things that will definitely help me with my journey, and that was only from what I saw of day 1 of the 3 day course. There is also the option to take part in a surface pattern design challenge for a chance to win some great prizes.
Bonnie shared a process she uses of photographing flowers and live tracing them straight into a colour vector. I’d thought about doing this in the past but always felt a bit like I would be cheating by not drawing or painting the flower/subject, but I was just limiting myself.
When you design with integrity, by taking your own photos and being as original as you can with your colour palettes (amongst other things), then it doesn’t matter how you get to your end result, especially if you love what you have created!
Pattern design is art and art is all about self expression, authenticity, creating from your heart, and there are no limits or rules with that!
So I decided that I am going to give it a go and come up with a collection for the challenge, using the tools and techniques Bonnie has so generously shared with EVERYONE!
I went out into the garden and as I was picking flowers I decided I would also take photos of crystals & sacred geometry, and I would image trace them the same way as the flowers and create patterns out of all of it, incorporating actual drawings too.
When I set my drawing desk up for my mini shoot I suddenly had a light bulb moment, and before I could even think about it I had whirl winded around my entire house gathering every trinket, crystal, ornament, star, feather and pebble I could find. I made my first flat lay and I was immediately addicted.
It’s so instantly gratifying and calming. Just jigsawing everything together and filling all the gaps until you know it is complete.
While I’m putting one flat lay together I get ideas about what I can do next. There aren’t really any rules with it other than maybe sticking to a shape.
I got so side tracked that I had to stop myself and actually take photos of the individual flowers for the CreativeLive project.
Sometimes I think/worry that I shouldn’t do floral designs because they are used so much across all industries, but you know what? screw that! They are a beautiful and amazing source of inspiration and will always be loved! I have so many ideas that even if I do go through a faze of doing loads of florals, I know I will always balance it out with everything else I am capable of expressing and sharing. SO here’s to the fun that is pouring out of me right now. I enjoy making flat lays with flowers so much, it’s ridiculous.
So today me and the kids went out of the house and beyond the garden, to wonder the neighbourhood foraging every flower, seed and leaf that caught our eyes. My 7yr old daughter went up to every tree, inspecting the leaf shape, colour and size. My 3yr old son sat in the stroller demanding to inspect every specimen before it was put into the basket.
My studio reached another level of “my kind of mess” when we returned home & it now resembles a wild pirates florist shop that smells divine.
I made a flat lay while my daughter watched and then she did her very own, with no help from me, & it’s pretty damn good!