LARKSPUR LADY: Melissa White
During a trip to London a few years ago, Emily was captivated by her dreamy room at the Soho Hotel — and in particular, the wallpaper enveloping the space. She felt so connected to the artwork, a magical landscape of peacocks and pagodas, that she tracked down the decorative artist: Melissa White. It was kismet. The two formed a collaboration, anchored by custom wallpaper painted by Melissa entitled “Emily’s Garden,” a fantastical world of flora, fauna and jewelry. The landscape spawned a new collection for Larkspur & Hawk, Illustrated, including ceramics, linens, stationery, boxes, and jewelry inspired by the wallpaper.
Melissa’s brilliance is captured in her artistry, but there’s even more to love when you meet her (a charming sense of humor, for one). We chat with her here to help you get to know the Larkspur Lady behind the paintbrush….
What drew me to the Larkspur & Hawk jewelry I am wearing… I chose colours akin to our Emily’s Garden wallpaper. The watery opulence of the bracelet is a joyful accent against the chalky, matte finishes I use in my artwork.
They are perfect for… Instant glamour! Especially for a gal who spends most of her time in scruffy jeans and a paint covered apron.
My jewelry traditions... When I’m apron-ed up and in artist mode I’m jewellery free. I make up for it the rest of the time dipping into an array of vintage jewellery. I never got my ears pierced but now I’ve seen Emily’s Cloud Girandole Earrings I’m sorely tempted!
To me, Larkspur & Hawk means… A connection with the past traditions of jewellery making combined with the pure joy of creating beautiful things. Emily’s un-tethered delight in applying her imagination to her designs has been an inspiration.
My style in three words… Comfortable in (my) skin.
What's inspiring me right now… Some exhilarating recent exhibitions of the French Nabis artists including Vuillard, Sérusier, Bonnard, and Vallotton. They were inspired by Japanese art, which I love, and they often depicted the interiors of homes rich in pattern, which is my first and foremost passion. Their jewel-like use of colour has been inspiring my work recently.
My favorite color combination is… Eucalyptus and coral.
My favorite flower… I grew larkspur from seed for the first time this year in honour of our collaboration. It’s really very lovely. Generally speaking, I love any flower that has a bee nose deep in the middle of it!
To me, a necessary indulgence… Coffee with friends, time in my garden, and a bar of very dark chocolate.
Something old I love… Tudor wall paintings, the 16th century’s version of wallpaper. Studying and reproducing these amazing, little-known designs is where I started out and where I got my painting style from.
Something new I love… Digital scanning and printing, as it captures every brushstroke, nuance and blemish of my painting and translates it precisely into fabric and wallpaper.
The most surprising thing about being an artist… I never know how a painting will look until it’s finished. I know the initial design, the colours, and the process, but the journey to the finished piece reveals surprises and discoveries, especially in a scenic design that involves painting into life new creatures and imagined vistas.
My favorite part of Emily's Garden… The menagerie of creatures, each with a story to tell. It’s wonderful how Emily has brought them to life in her own way.
The best thing about living on the Sussex Coast… The fresh air and breathing space — especially after a day up in London!
A golden rule I live by… Be awake to life’s unfurling.
What’s next for me… Lots of top secret things I’m not allowed to disclose yet, but they mostly involve creating imagined worlds. Next year I’ll be working on two new wallpaper collections, some scenic, some patterned.