OC&K Curates: Nurturing Nature

An air of optimism is needed when times are hard, and that optimism can be found in the smallest of places. Be it a windowsill or an expanse of lawn, it’s important to connect with nature wherever we can. Bright flowers blooming around us, or insects flying past our window are reasons to bring joy into our life and we can encourage this joy for us and others around us.

With this blog post we bring you the garden. Here at Of Cabbages and Kings with have a variety of gifts and garden themed ideas from prints and garden accessories to ways of encouraging wildlife into your backyard.

We all know that bees are important for our ecosystem. So let’s help with the pollination of plants and crops. But did you know that there are over 200 species of solitary bees? A great way to provide a home for the these vital insects are Bee Bricks from Green&Blue. Coming in a variety of sizes they are perfect for a patio, garden wall or balcony. Solitary bees use the small nooks and crannies to lay their eggs. A perfectly designed contemporary home for bees in a modern, clean-cut world where their natural habitats are dwindling.

Small Bee Block by Green&Blue – £18.75

Bee Brick by Green&Blue – £30.00

This attractive Bee Friendly Tea Towel is sure to become a gardener’s best friend. A collaboration with Friends of the Earth and homewares designer Stuart Gardiner, it contains a guide to essential flowers that encourage bees and pollinating insects into your garden.

Bee Friendly Tea Towel by Stuart Gardiner – £12

Kew is one of the world’s greatest gardens. It houses the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections, while providing scientific research into conservation. Caitlin Parks has produced this multi layered screen print in a colourful collage style of the tropical plants and grand greenhouses. A cheerful print celebrating one of the most established and visited collections of plants from across the globe.

Kew Gardens by Caitlin Parks – £120

Being organised in the garden is a must when it comes to seeds. You don’t want to mix up your courgettes with your cornflowers! This seed collecting kit from Creamore Mill has everything you need to collect, store, plant and record your seeds. Envelopes and a pencil for keeping a record, dibber for planting seeds and wooden labels for marking what you have planted and where. If you are conscious to reduce plastic use in the garden, with this Paper Pot Press you can make recyclable and biodegradable newspaper pots for starting seedlings. These pots can be planted straight into the ground minimising damage to the roots of young plants.

Seed Collecting Kit by Creamore Mill – £14.50

Paper Pot Press by Creamore Mill – £12.50

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This innovative bird feeder by Green&Blue is a stylish way to complete a modern garden. Its clean and simple design adds a contemporary feature to any out door space, while also offering year-round feeding for birds such as tits, sparrows, finches, woodpeckers and nuthatches.

Birdball Seed Feeder by Green&Blue – £55

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This second print by Caitlin Parks is perfect for amateur twitchers. A limited edition screen print, British Birds is in a wood-cut style and illustrates some of our most popular garden visitors.

British Birds by Caitlin Parks – £35

Maybe your little bit of green space are the houseplants that decorate your home. These 3D printed mid-century modern style planters from Studio Nilli are made from bioplastic. Tall legged pots are perfect for plants that grow and trail like vines, devils ivy and string of pearls.

Tall White Legged Planter by Studio Nilli – £35

These Houseplant Care Cards are the ultimate guide to growing happy plants – you can’t fail! A boxed gift set containing 35 cards packed full of advice and tips for botanical success indoors.

House Plant Care Cards by Another Studio – £12.95

And what better way to celebrate your green fingered achievements than with these Plant Awards! Featuring: Dream Plant, Surviving and Still Alive rosettes.

Plant Award – Dream Plant Ornament – £5.75

Plant Award – Surviving Plant Ornament – £5.75

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This peaceful image of a gardener, captures a sense of meditation at work. Garden Man is a 7 colour screen print by artist Tom Berry and forms part of Tom Berry’s Daily Rites Series which explores the ritual of daily activities.

Garden Man by Tom Berry – £75

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Kingdom Under A Hat /// A Tour Of Factory Press

We’re very excited at Of Cabbages and Kings, to be hosting the launch of the latest edition from Factory Press Kingdom Under A Hat on Thursday 5th March, and last week I cycled over to Clapton to meet the creator – artist, designer and printmaker Liz Loveless. The book is the 9th published by Factory Press and I visited Liz at her studio and shop on the site of a disused ice cream factory just off Chatsworth Road to discuss the story behind it.

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A few years ago Liz had been asked to do some illustrations based upon the story of The Rock Garden of Chandigarh in India: A secret world built entirely from rubbish scavenged by it’s creator Nek Chand. This ‘Kingdom’ as Chand liked to refer to it, consisted of man-made interlinked waterfalls and other sculptures made of scrap and waste (bottles, glasses, bangles, tiles, ceramic pots, sinks, electrical waste, etc.) which were placed in walled paths.

The hidden garden had been built in a gorge Chand believed to be wasteland outside the city and no one found it for 19 years. It was discovered by the authorities in 1975, by which time, it had grown into a 12-acre complex of interlinked courtyards, each filled with hundreds of pottery-covered concrete sculptures of dancers, musicians, and animals. A battle then commenced to save the garden from demolition and it was finally granted public space status in 1976.

In January 2014 Liz had the opportunity to visit the garden herself and once again felt inspired by the story of Nek Chand and his secret rock garden. She started gathering discarded wrappers and other paper scraps from the pathways around the garden itself, which she bought back home to use and interweave into her own expression of the rock garden story. These collaged, enlarged sweet wrappers now decorate the end papers of her book.

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Liz often combines collage techniques with hand-pulled silkscreen to create the illusion of texture over a flat surface. Her books start life as A1 sheets of paper screen printed in 3 colours on both sides and finish as limited editions hand bound in cloth or card. Kingdom Under A Hat will be an edition of 650. These large sheets are then guillotined into double pages, arranged in order, folded with the bone folder, measured, hole punched and hand sewn to form the body of the book.

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As I watched Liz at each step in the book making process I began to truly understand the love and craftsmanship that goes into constructing each and every one. The next stage was the nipping press. I’d been eying up this beautiful object since I’d entered the studio and couldn’t wait to see Liz put it into action. Liz cases the books in grey card, glues the end papers and covers the spine with bright coral book cloth. The nipping press will only hold 4 books at a time. Cellophane is placed between the pages to prevent the ink from sticking and the books are left overnight, sealing the endpapers to the cover and pressing the pages completely flat. By morning the new books are ready to be numbered and added to the edition.

On Thursday 5th March we’ll be hosting a very special evening to launch the new book. Liz will be at the shop with so please join us on a journey to the magical rock garden of Chandigarh, see Liz’s photo collage installation including a life size bicycle and watch a short supporting animation as well as grab your copy of this beautiful limited edition, hand-pulled silk screen printed, hardback, hand-bound book. There’ll probably be drink or two going round too!

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