Feature Friday: Blair Ebanks
Blair Ebanks, founder of Plant Based Studio, is all about cultivating creativity with plants. Blair is more than a gardener and embraces the art form of plant arrangement. As a trained teacher, she naturally gravitates to becoming more knowledge-based in her art and enjoys sharing her love and passion for gardening with others. Art Nest has partnered with Blair to bring to our community another creative and innovative way to party: with plants! If you were one of the lucky ones at our first Plant Party earlier this month at the studio, you would know what an amazing event it was. If you missed it, don’t worry, Plant Party will be making appearances at Art Nest Creative Studio next month. We’ve had the pleasure to have a Q&A session with Blair to get to the root of her plant art.
Art Nest: When did you discover your love of plants/gardening?
Blair: Plant Based Studio came to me very naturally as plants have been a passion of mine that has evolved over the last six years or so. My first blank canvas for this art came in the form of our back yard with the purchase of our house six years ago. My husband and I wanted to do the landscaping ourselves. We looked forward to the design aspect of it and getting our hands dirty. This was a new adventure for both of us. I started learning how to propagate using water and would take clippings from various places and bring them inside to root. Not only did this begin my love for growing plants outside but it started my love for having them inside as well. For a year every window sill in my house was full of plant clippings. I would put some of the plants in my garden but others I just didn't want to take back out. I started to decorate and surround our space with my rooted pieces of green. I loved watching my plants thrive outside why not be able to enjoy them inside as well?
Art Nest: How would you describe the effect gardening has on you?
Blair: Watching the plants I planted grow made me really happy and each morning I would walk around my garden with my coffee just to see if there was new growth. I always used gardening as a break away from reality and my role of being a mother of young children. Gardening made me appreciate my surroundings more and soon became my therapy as well after losing my father. There was something that made me so happy about bringing the beauty of my backyard into my home and I also loved the challenge of it as well. Not all plants love me. I have learned many things about myself through gardening and am grateful for this passion.
Art Nest: How would you describe your style of planting or your use of plants?
Blair: I am always very busy with two kids being a stay at home mom so I would say my style of planting is “on the go” whenever I can. I do a little of this and that and mostly just play around and have fun when gardening. I never have a design plan until I am actually doing the planting. I feel that is when I am most creative and that’s how I also get inspiration. I always love the simplicity of clear glass vases and a single piece of green as I felt it always presented a clean look. I began to get creative with vintage items that I had collected over the years and I started incorporating the plants with the antiques. I would describe my overall style as being very Bohemian, eclectic and casual.
Art Nest: What has influenced your style?
Blair: The concept of “bringing the outside in” has influenced me and allowed me to turn my home into an urban jungle. Nature has been my biggest influence. The more I learned about the different types of plants, the more variety I used. Nature designs the plants shapes, sizes and colors and that then influences my design.
Art Nest: Have you ever taken an courses or have any accreditation/accolades for gardening/floral arrangement/?
Blair: I would describe myself as a self-taught gardener. I learned through lots of trial and error. I always watched my mother decorate using flowers and plants and I feel that certain aspects of design were imprinted in me growing up.
Art Nest: Where else are your arrangements displayed?
Blair: I have my plants in various studios, spas and restaurants around Cayman including the new Conscious cafe inside Art Nest. Bringing green into a business space or office helps to create a unique atmosphere. Plants promote wellness through their air purifying properties and can be therapeutic as well. Plants make people happy.
Art Nest: How did you feel about hosting the Plant Party at Art Nest?
Blair: I feel the plant Party was a huge success. For me it was especially important because I was not only teaching again but I was teaching about my passion. I was surrounded by people eager to learn and get their hands dirty gardening. What is better than that? I am so blessed to be supported by so many of my friends and family as well that know how much I love to share my love of plants.
Art Nest: Is there any advice or thoughts you’d like to share with those who are interested in attending the Plant Party and/or interesting in gardening/using plants as art?
Blair: The possibilities with living art are endless. I believe you should enjoy the process and explore your creativity. Don't let plants be intimidating and stay true to your style to create something unique for your space.
Our next scheduled Plant Party workshops are on 21st and 28th November. You’ll want to register early because tickets are going fast!