THE ARTISAN FOUNDER

007. Sarah Breese Design

THE ARTISAN FOUNDER
The alchemy of gathering green and turning it to gold.

Treading gently through her local forest while winding gathered twigs into hoops for her next creation, Sarah Breese is an Artisan who crafts exquisite, intricate dried flower wreaths.

Here’s her story of finding a pretty corner of Wales to grow and gather her materials.

Finding my path.

I studied Fine Art at degree level, over a decade ago now, and have always had some sort of creative practice ticking over in the background, searching for a medium that would fully absorb me and hold my attention.

During my degree I specialised in collage, finding deep satisfaction in tuning out from the little ‘self’ with all its myriad stories, concepts and interpretations and allowing the creative magic to take over. The way I work with dried flowers is similar in many ways, I’ve just swapped magazines and paper for flowers and vines.

My work with everlasting flowers seems now to have come about as the inevitable coalescence of my artistic background with a deepening love and appreciation of nature.

In some ways it feels as if this path was already mapped out for me. Creating with the natural world feels like a seamless way for my creativity and animist / pantheist beliefs to come together.

 

learning about the plants we coexist with

Our growing garden.

After a stint in London running a bicycle shop with my partner Tim, we made the decision to leave the city, in search of a calmer, less chaotic environment and lifestyle.

We ended up on the southern edge of Eryri national park (not too far from where I grew up) in a damp cottage in need of renovation and half an acre of overgrown, neglected gardens.

Alongside the ongoing work to the house, the last 5 years have been spent overhauling (and then maintaining!) the outside space – caring for and learning about the plants we coexist with.

In 2020 I attended a wreath workshop with Grace Crabb – a local grower and florist – in the community gardens in Machynlleth. Since then my interest and passion for dried flowers, and desire to create with them, has really taken root.

The brand team consists of just me, although Tim often comes back with bits of driftwood or some stems he thinks I might like to dry.

I usually have a dog on my lap, or our new puppy, Rana, causing mischief in my studio.

A calming workspace.

I work from the spare room in our house, which is just about big enough to house all of the dried flowers, a work-surface and me.

I also have a space in our workshop for bigger work and to store the numerous bits of interesting wood I usually haul back with me from walks.

I photograph a lot of my work outside, being blessed with the most magnificent view over the Dyfi Valley.

My Creations.

The way I arranged flowers started off quite loose and uninvolved, I wasn’t paying too much attention to the details.

As time has passed and my work has improved I’ve honed in, separating flowers on a single stem and paying close attention to how each leaf, bud or flower interacts with its neighbour. My hope is that what I create becomes a physical embodiment of the state of flow I experience while producing it.

The wreaths and other sculptural creations serve as an invitation to get up close, to study the shapes and movements and how they come together. Working with flowers in their dried rather than fresh form means I can use plants from all of the seasons, side by side.

using plants from all of the seasons, side by side

My work is entirely informed by nature, her natural rhythms and cycles. By the passing seasons, the hues of an evening sky, the tones contained within a single bloom. It serves as a way of honouring and giving thanks. An offering of sorts.

To this end, I try to grow and forage as much as I possibly can, (which is a learning curve in itself!) so that I am only using plants from the land I know.

This year my mum is going to be growing some annuals for me, and she is a brilliant gardener (very organised, the opposite of me) so all being well every stem I use will be grown here.

I will also be making my own cordage using nettles, of which there is an abundance in the fields surrounding our house.

Ideally all of my work will be created using things from my local area – thus far the majority has been, but there are certain things that I have had to buy in from further afield.

The path ahead.

I love making wreaths, especially custom orders, and this will be something I will continue to do.

Last year I started experimenting with creating on a larger scale, making sculptural pieces using interesting bits of gnarled ivy and rotted tree stumps. I hope to be able to dedicate more time to that area of my work going forwards.

Through my work I try to tread as lightly as I can, to stay in tune to the natural world. To celebrate and acknowledge the sacred earth, and for my work to amplify rather than harm her.

Working with dried flowers is for me the ultimate lesson in non attachment. Knowing that the materials I work with will be dust in a decade or two. Not being attached to what I create only serves to elevate the state of harmony and flow I am experiencing when working with these plants.

For me, that’s the magic.

‘Nature is an alchemist, gathering the last of summer’s green and turning it to gold.’ – Laura Jaworski

IMAGES ©Sarah Breese Design 2024
THE ARTISAN FOUNDER

An inspiring story of seeing beauty in every tiny petal, you’ve inspired us to dry our flowers over the log burner and gather twigs on our walks.

Thank you Sarah for sharing your story.

Join us for more stories of artisans like Sarah, who not only craft with their hands but also with their hearts, proving that the most profound connections are those forged with nature and nurtured by a spirit of mindfulness and gratitude.

You can purchase Sarah’s beautiful everlasting wreaths via the link above. We think they make a wonderful alternative to a fresh flower gift.

-Lyndsey

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