Not long ago, in the middle of lockdown, Iz Durose found that collecting and looking after houseplants had given her purpose, happiness and mental stability in such an unpredictable time. Having carried out lots of research on the huge list of mental and physical benefits of having houseplants, Iz wanted to share the joy that she had discovered with anyone she could. Meet Iz Durose from PotBound.
What drew you to plants and painting plant pots?
I started to use the plant pots as a way to create bespoke artwork, not only because it came hand-in-hand with the houseplants, but because I noticed a trend in the way customers are viewing the market. A push to support small, local business’, to be more sustainable/eco-friendly, and the increased desire to find unique products meant that there was a gap in the market I looked to fill. Every commission I do is bespoke, I will never do that design in the same way ever again. People love it because its so personal, whether matching to their wallpaper, welcome mat, favourite plant or even just letting me do something totally unique to them is something you don’t get online or in the big garden centres. For a while I have been exploring the idea of ‘bringing the gallery to you’, using ‘everyday’ objects or furniture and reimagining them as pieces of artwork in their own right, this allowed me to start the conversation of creativity and the arts to people who may have previously never considered it. The pots are an affordable way for people to indulge in their visual side in a way they might never have.
How do you work? Can you tell us a bit about your processes?
The first thing I do is to get the basics of what the client is looking for. Any specifics like colours, styles, imagery to use and what to avoid. I like to get my clients to send me pictures of the room the pot will be in, or if it’s to match with something I get them to send me lots of pictures so I can get a real feel of what the client is looking for, who they are and what I’m tying into. I handwash the terracotta pots to get rid of any dirt/grime/glue/spiderwebs that they might have accumulated and then I let them dry out naturally. After this I’ll get started, depending on the design I’ll either paint the full pot, tape it up or just start free-handing. I work best when sparked with an idea, I usually start not knowing how the pot will quite end up looking, but with a general direction. For example if someone mentions they quite like clean lines I’ll find a way to incorporate dynamic shapes onto the pot and then add my flair to it. At the end of the day the client’s wishes is top priority, but at the same time they’re coming to me for my style/finish/creativity so it’s always nice to give them what they want in a way they didn’t imagine. 9/10 I don’t know how the finished product is going to look, I allow myself as an artist to have that freedom with each one, I find I’ve made my best decisions and designs this way, it’s always my ‘Hallelujah’ moments that turn out looking the best!
What influences your drawing/painting style?
That’s a tough question! I love Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Basquiat, Van Gogh, Alexander McQueen; not specifically for drawing styles but for their fearlessness to be themselves. Throughout time artists have drawn their inspiration from the world around them, we are all in awe at the beauty and intricate design found in natural things; after all Mother Nature is the best artist there is. This is what inspired my botanical designs, nature brought me so much joy and has been inspiring artists for years, it just came naturally to me that I would incorporate it throughout my work. I also love interior design, when I’m struggling most with my mental health having my home as a safe space is really important; filling it with plants, art and things that make me happy is essential. This need to make the home a sanctuary was only increased with Covid-19, so I found myself researching colour schemes that connote peace, joy, safety, calm and started to use these colours in my work to promote feelings of wellness and happiness.
What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Aside from the standard paint, brushes, water I would probably say music. Ever since I was little music has played a huge part in my development as a person and as an artist. David Bowie. Prince, Queen, and many many others were in my life from a young age. I was encouraged to be myself, as they had been, to be a trail-blazer and unapologetically different. Having music in the studio from these legends puts my brain into an automatic state of creativity, it allows me to express myself without fear of judgement or criticism. My brain goes a million miles an hour and always has done, music allows me to gather up all these thoughts and ideas and condense them into something beautiful.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
The best responses are when clients can’t quite believe that a terracotta pot can ‘look like THAT’. I love it when the pot is exactly what the client wanted, matches their room perfectly or surprises them. I’m always trying to adapt and innovate, use different techniques and materials to stay ahead of the game. I think the most memorable is when someone buys one pot and then keeps coming back again and again and again with bigger and bolder ideas. I love that because it shows they trust me and my abilities; it feels like we’re on a creative journey together and that’s a really special feeling for both of us.
Which artists do you admire most?
I really admire Sophie Tea, I’m becoming more and more obsessed with her! She’s been doing a series recently surrounding female empowerment, painting naked ladies, painting on naked ladies, making casts of boobs and covering them in crystals! She also just opened her own shop/studio on Carnaby Street and the whole building is hot pink. God I love her! She’s a strong, powerful, talented young woman and shes definitely been a huge inspiration for me in this last year. It can be disheartening sometimes being a young creative, it doesn’t ever feel like the path is clear, and I suspect it never will, however seeing someone so young and full of life and passion and positivity just serves as a great reminder to keep following my passion, keeping doing what I love with 100% of everything I have and I know that the success will follow.
Do you think that the Fylde Coast provides a decent creative environment for artists?
I have a mixed opinion about this. I think that the Fylde is a hub of creative people in every industry, from artists to musicians to dancers and performers. I think sometimes the Fylde struggle to pull all these people together, to give us all a space to be a community. I can’t tell you how many creative people I speak to who tell me there’s ‘no-one creative round here’, which always makes me laugh as I’ve usually heard that off 5 other people that month. Especially where I am, based in St.Annes, there’s not quite been this pulling together of creative minds on the scale I’d like to see. It’s something I’ve been working on with some of the organisations I’m part of. We’ll get there, definitely, its just dependant on our community, and how much people want there to be a community. We’re blessed to be in a town where creativity is and always has been part of our heritage, I don’t think that will ever go away, but get stronger.
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
Great question! I actually want to be a veterinarian! The minute I knew what one was around 4 that was my dream, right up until the moment I had to pick my A-Levels. I remember my mum telling me I had to do what makes me happy, and that if I walked past the art room everyday and felt regret or upset then I had to follow my heart. Im forever thankful for having parents that constantly support my dreams, even when I make seemingly crazy decisions. I’d be a very different person right now if I was a vet, but I’d be surrounded by animals so I’d still have a smile on my face.
Have you got anything that you would like to promote?
Just my business PotBound. I sell houseplants with my painted pots. Im usually at Farmers Markets or busy in the studio working on commissions. I have some exciting things coming up in the near future that I’m not allowed to promote yet so I suppose you’ll just have to follow my social media for updates!
How has lockdown affected you and your work?
I started PotBound during lockdown, so I guess I have Covid-19 to thank for all of this. After all Shakespeare wrote King Lear in quarantine from plague right?!
“I can’t tell you how many creative people I speak to who tell me there’s ‘no-one creative round here’, which always makes me laugh as I’ve usually heard that off 5 other people that month.”
Quick Fire Round
- Cake or Pie?
- Book or Film?
- Facebook or Twitter?
- Be the funniest person in the room or the most intelligent?
Funniest , you can learn anything except personality!
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