I recently went to see the film Stoker and wow- it did not disappoint. It's such an achingly beautiful film- watching it is like stepping into a photoshoot; or a filmset I guess! I suppose some people might not enjoy a film that's so obviously unrealistic, but I bloody loved it- the director has managed to create this incredible, otherworldly aesthetic from the tiniest details; yellow ribbons, spiders, the stunning scenery and costumes, all of which contribute to the fact that you can't really place the characters in any specific era or location.
There are elements of the old-fashioned- again in the gorgeous house and costumes, the vintage car, the taxidermy, the retro packaging of the ice-cream; seriously, every little detail jumps out at you. The film closes with a fantastic track by Emily Wells which I came home, downloaded and listened to on repeat for about 3 days. It's in the video above which shows the creation of the gorgeous Stoker posters- I wish more movies would use illustration on their promotional material, I'm so bored of the standard airbrushed-row-of-faces Hollywood posters. I've just written a wee piece for The Guardian interviewing some professional illustrators on their top tips, so I'll include that here when it's published. (HERE IT IS!)
Another thing I noticed about the film was how green it is. I imagine this is in reference to India's wild side- which is why they even show greenery inside the house- in her mother's bedroom which is full of plants. I remember absolutely adoring the green in the 1998 film of Great Expectations which verged on over-doing it; I'm talking EVERY costume being green, green bed-sheets, green pencils, green displays in shop windows the characters walked past. But the Paradise Lost bits were gorgeous.
All this greenery- combined with maybe this extra long winter- is really making me itch for growing things. Sadly I live in a flat that has virtually no natural light so nothing will grow in here- and we don't even have any window sills! Which is why I've fallen so completely for this House of Hackney print Palmeral.
House of Hackney posted some fascinating stuff on their facebook page about how Hackney was once home to the largest Palmhouse in the world.
For one hundred years, Loddiges of Hackney, the most famous nursery garden in Europe stood near Mare Street close to today's Town Hall.
They also have a beautiful fern print called Inferno (I actually only just got what they did there...!) Apparently The Victorians used to be obsessed with ferns- Sarah Whittingham has written a book on 'fern fever' or Pteridomania as it's officially known. I was really excited about hearing Sarah speak on the subject at an event at The Garden Museum, but I can no longer find it on the site, so I don't know if it's been cancelled- I'll get back to you on that. You can see the cached page for the event here- Sarah was going to speak about the invention of the Wardian case, through tales of fern forays, to the creation of verdant ferneries in private homes and gardens as well as the extent of the craze in mainstream Victorian and Edwardian society- including some of the incredible variety of public places where it was considered appropriate to have a fernery.
Ken Marten was also meant to be speaking at the event and teaching people how to create their own terrariums- another Victorian preoccupation that I'm a huge fan of.
The Garden museum site says;
'Ken Marten’s Terrarium Table is a contemporary interpretation of a Victorian invention (the Wardian case), the impact of which is difficult to fully encompass. The Terrarium Table is both a product, bringing plants back into the home in a low maintenance and space-saving way, and also a meditation on culture and origins: as we may sit down to a family meal, our gaze continues beyond the familiar and time honoured tradition of a table set for dinner to the complex foundations of modern life beneath.'
There's plenty of great terrarium inspiration on Pinterest, I may try and create one as a gift for someone who does get some sunshine in their home!
By the way if you're looking for more green stuff, the Run-Riot newsletter last week was all garden-related- you can check it out here; highlights including A Festival of Garden Literature.