As long time fans of Justina Blakeney’s “Face The Foliage” project, we were ecstatic to work with Justina on a foliage interpretation of our favorite pieces from Spring.
Enamored by her hand-made foliage series, we asked Justina to apply her masterful technique to creating original works of art inspired by our Spring 2015 Collection. The result? A super elegant yet simple series of collages, showcasing Justina’s experimental sensibility and fearlessly fun design approach. Check out the final collages below and read on for Justina's inspiration behind the project.
We’ve been long time fans of your “Face The Foliage” project, which inspired the direction of our collaboration. How did it get started and how do you hope it evolves?
I was raking dead leaves in my yard one morning when all of the sudden, after staring at the leaves for several minutes, one of them smiled at me. It really looked liked lips. So I grabbed a few of them off the floor and arranged them on my patio table until I had created an entire face from leaves. The face looked very expressive. She looked a bit melancholy, but if I titled her eyebrows one way, or switched the leaf I was using for lips, the expression completely changed.
This got me playing around with the leaves and next thing you know I was picking little flowers and grabbing small twigs to make the faces. The more I create them, the more elaborate they become. When I take walks in my neighborhood I collect little berries and flowers and bring them home for my faces. I do not glue them together; I simply arrange the pieces on my table until they ‘speak’ to me. When they do, I take a few photos and then put the leaves back into a bowl for the next moment of inspiration.
It may be the temporary nature of the collages that I like most. A dead leaf floating down from a tree becomes an eyebrow, or a nose. A petal of bright bougainvillea becomes painted, puckered lips. A shamrock becomes a bow-tie, and then it goes back into the bowl and is just a bowl of dried leaves and flowers. It’s a very fun exercise, it calms me and is fun to do with kids as well. After sharing the photos on Instagram and starting the hashtag #facethefoliage people from all over the world have joined in and begun to share in the fun making zero-waste foliage portraits! I hope that the project evolves into a book someday, and that more people join the #facethefoliage movement.
You have such a fabulous sense of mixing bold colors and patterns in unexpectedly fresh ways! Tell us your secret, do you start with a edited palette and move out from that or what?
Thank you! I tend to design very emotionally—I think that bold patterns work well together if in a more defined color palette—but I’m also not to fussy. I layer and layer, and when it feels fun, full and patterful, I stop.
We love that you’re able to seamlessly mix decor that’s both high and low prices for those of us who are thrift minded. What are your favorite places to shop right now for deals at reasonable prices (that mix well with a high aesthetic)?
I love flea markets and thrifting. I swear I get a little high when I find amazing stuff at good prices. I think designing on a budget is so much more fun and challenging than designing with limitless funds. As far as retailers go, I often find great stuff at World market and Anthropologie, but also at places like Ross! I think if you’re open minded and have a good eve you can find interesting stuff all over the place. Online I have a pretty serious addiction to eBay—especially for finding textiles and I love Chairish for finding pieces that are a little more high-end.
You just launched your first book, “The New Bohemians” – big congrats!! Tell us about the book and what it was like re-searching + writing it.
Thanks! As a boho gal from Berkeley, I was born to write a book on bohemian décor. After spending the better part of my 20’s living abroad in Italy and six years of sharing bohemian design ideas on my blog, it felt like the right time to create a book that featured the New Bohemian lifestyle that has emerged in this digital age. People are now using their homes as so much more than just homes. Homes featured in the book are used not just as dwellings but as workshops and ateliers, bed and breakfasts and pop-up restaurants, urban farms and makeshift showrooms. The New Bohemian home takes the spirit of the vagabond and manifests it in the form of colorful, creative homes that are at once totally cool and artfully collected. Writing (and shooting it with my friend and collaborator Dabito) was really fun, and also quite arduous.
What are you feeling right now from the new Loeffler Randall Spring’15 collection?
Gah! So much goodness! I love how the pieces remain edgy but are also basic. I love that I can count on comfort with y’all and that you have so many options in flats (I’m 5’10”!) And don’t get me started on the fringes!!!