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Image courtesy of Flora Forager

Artist of the Week: Flora Forager

Seattle might be notorious for niche coffee shops and scenic waterways, but locals know it's also home to an array of people who love to create. This city is chock-full of artists who we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at hello@seattlerefined.com. And if you're wondering just what constitutes art, that's the beauty of it; it's up to you!

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? Do you work with other mediums?
Bridget Collins: I've been creating botanical artworks for about 10 years now. I also love to watercolor and have been playing around with paints and drawing since I was little. I also acted in several school and community plays and got a degree in theater where I learned about scene design, stage makeup, costumes, and creating characters. So being creative has really been a large part of my life!

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I often see a leaf or flower on a walk in the neighborhood and am inspired by how it looks like something else. Like how a succulent looks like scales or red leaves look like fire. Other times I'll have a scene or memory in mind that I'd like to create and go out looking for something that will look like it. I'll gather things from the woods, buy plants at a nursery, or find something in my garden to create whatever I was inspired to make. I have a white kitchen table that I lay all my foraged finds on and play around with petals until a scene or creature unfolds. It's all very organic, and I couldn't draw what I'm about to make or tell you what it will look like until it is finished. Then I take a picture and throw the piece into the compost!

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art come from?
I've incorporated a lot of the experiences I've had into my art. Like how I made a geisha after seeing them perform in Japan, or a hobbit hole after seeing them in New Zealand. I also like creating people who inspire me like Audrey Hepburn and Frida Kahlo. And I have three little boys who love characters like Pikachu and Star Wars droids so I end up creating quite a few pieces for them.

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles etc?
Nature! I've created dozens of animals and love making landscapes.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you, or is extremely special to you?
I think the pieces I created first are the most special to me. A print of my first meadow with birds flying into the distance is on the windowsill in my kitchen and it makes me happy every time I look at it.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
My mom is a gardener and has over 50 fluffy garden roses. She taught me all about flowers and from a very young age I grew a softness for them. We always lived near the forest and I would play make believe in them for hours, and my dad loves science and had books about birds, would teach me about animals, and watch nature shows with me. I think being raised with nature made me view nature in a very whimsical, magical way.

If we want to see more of your work where should we go to find?
I have a book that has 100 of my images, and the inspiration behind them. It's called The Art of Flora Forager.

What is next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I have a journal and note card set coming out in the spring called Metamorphosis. I made moths, butterflies, caterpillars, cocoons and chrysalises out of flowers!

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? We ask everyone!
Short double cappuccino. And I like putting a layer of raw sugar crystals on the foam. (If I don't have a pastry).

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