In Conversation with Chloë - Flora Wallace
June 21, 2023
Our latest conversation is with Artist, Flora Wallace. Flora created the beautiful artwork on our new rebranded bottles from bespoke botanical inks, handmade from natural elements including elderberry, buttercup and avocado seed.
Here she tells us a little more about her creative process...
Hi Flora! Please tell us briefly about yourself & what you do?
My name is Flora Wallace and I grew up on the Dorset/Hampshire border. I am a ceramic Artist and I make ink and glazes from foraged and found ingredients such as plants, fungi, metals and minerals.
My practices are intertwined with and inspired by the natural world. The pieces I make are a way of engaging with time, seasonality, place, ecology.
How did you get into creating your own botanical inks?
It was a combination of things but a very important one was finding a book by Toronto based artist/ink maker, Jason Logan called Make Ink. It was the most inspiring discovery and I spent a summer experimenting with everything I could find.
There’s a poetry to making Ink, it grounds you in a place and season, it also seems to reveal a certain character of the plant, fungi, metal or mineral that is often otherwise unseen.
Some are suggestive of topographical images of deserts and rivers and others mycelial webs and root systems. The ink is alive, it is forever changing, moving and growing on the page.
Explain to us the process of creating the inks and your work?
I go foraging and gather ingredients, each season offers different things with autumn being particularly fruitful. Most plants, nuts, berries and barks can be simmered in water, some flowers petals I ferment in salt water and leave to extract slowly. Soft rocks can be ground to a power and mixed with Gum Arabic and water.
I like collecting rain, snow and hail to make my ink. I enjoy the thought that it’s had to travel through the atmosphere before then becoming an ink. Also it is more acidic than tap water which influences the colour. I test lots along the way and time how long things are simmered for so I have a reference.
I play around with changing the PH of the ink. I will add various ingredients like baking soda and citric acid to explore the variety of colours you can achieve from one ink.
Which is your favourite ink combination?
Buckthorn berries and Iron water from the chalybeate fountain on Hampstead Heath.
What have you enjoyed most working with Bramley?
It has been great to work with Chloe and the other team. They are kind thoughtful people.
Are you working on anything exciting at the moment?
I recently returned from Tuscany where I was doing an artist residency at a place called Ville lena. I visited the marble mountains in Carrara a place I had wanted to visit for a while. The mountains, are called the Apuan Alps after the Apuani people who lived there before the Romans invaded.
They have been mined for their marble for more than two thousand years and are still mined to this day. I spent my time collecting marble dust from underneath the blades of the diamond saws. It creates a super fine dust that I gathered and was experimenting with. I made a series of inks and glazes from this dust and had some interesting outcomes.
Bath or shower
The smells of breakfast, toast and coffee.
I think my favourite thing to listen to has to be ShortCuts by Josie Long on Radio 4.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
Greek food - chickpeas, feta, olives, tomatoes, olive oil and nice breads.
This changes lots but at the moment it's called, Come Wander With Me, by Jeff Alexander.
June 21, 2023