About heatherrossnaturaleclectic

I am a published artist, designer and photographer. I am especially drawn to nature in all it's forms. My Gallery/Boutique Heather Ross { natural eclectic } located at 2170 Fir St. in Vancouver Canada is an evocative mix of art and authentic finds for the home. I'm currently working on a book The Natural Eclectic™ about artful living, and creating atmospheres of nuance and grace mixing new, old and found objects.

Elemental at IDSWEST

I felt in my element at the IDSWest Interior Design Show, as so many of the displays were grounded and ELEMENTAL in their approach.

VOLK COPPER

A big proponent of natural and elemental aspects in design, I can relate to the aesthetic currently being put forward. Of course things move in waves and trends and I’m wondering what the counter reaction will be to this bespoke natural vibe?

Montauk did do a brave booth all in tartan and it was certainly the photobomb booth of the show! It made real impact and was a bold, fun, strong statement. Despite my Scottish name though, I could not live with tartan on a daily basis! I will always stay true my authentic ‘natural eclectic’ style and my signature earthy/watery color palette, though I too will surely be influenced by trends and global movements and have subtle shifts in my style as time goes on.

I was delighted to have two designer firms whose work I admire incorporate items from our shop for their own Dinner by Design tables. ( they both happen to be recent recipients of the Western Living Designers of the Year awards, congrats! )

Sophie BurkeSophie Burke Design  stayed true to form with her understated Scandanavian Modern setting which was pure, sculptural and eclectic. She used a gorgeous sleek wood table from Inform, and many of our French linen pillows along her banquette seating which created a sense of intimacy. sophie's Table

Large smooth egg shape rocks we hand gathered this summer in Qualicum and placed into an old wooden butter bowl made their way into a sideboard built into Sophie Burkes booth, we love it when humble objects are seen for their inherent beauty. STONES H.ROSS

Marrimor Studio’s table scape was inventive and tactile. They incorparated our grey pinstiped linens, mid century glassware and a rare and eye catching mauve authentic old Hudsons Bay 3 1/2 point blanket into the mix. Now that was a find were thrilled went to a good home!PINSTRIPE LINENS

A fun hanging chair filled with plants hung like a chandalier above the whole setting, and they did a nod to our coastal roots with a sail cloth backdrop.

Hudsons bay blanket

Of course I was also drawn to the watery sheer environment by Greenscape Design. They used clear chairs and see through everything to evoke an underwater feeling.

WATERY

Another thing I noted at IDSWEST was a coppery blushy palette which  I find very attractive. As a metal I prefer silver, but when mixed into a soft tonal palette, I find these warm creamy caramel copper tones very alluring. The Cross Design and Decor did a breathtaking table in this palette for their Dinner by Design table-scape.  Many who attended the show said they found the dinner by design displays the most inspiring element to the IDSWEST show, a testament to our creative talent in Vancouver.The Cross Photo H. Ross

cross

Garden Party Flowers did a modern take on a lush painterly floral palette that was so gorgeous! Air plants, succulents mixed with roses and dahlias, clear modern vessels, graphic forms and over the top blossoms. It was gorgeous!

garden party vessel H. ROSS

DAHLIA H. ROSS

Poppytalk curated an inspiring marketplace The District within the show…too many artists to profile here but it was so much fun to peruse. I love Jan of Poppytalk and all that she does in support of craftspeople. The work of local artisan Heather of Dahlhaus impacted me. She does chunky ceramic vessels with graphic glaze treatments and she had a fabulous booth with a fresh contemporary/retro vibe that people really seemed to enjoy.DAHLIAS by Garden Party

Not everyone was local. Port and Quarter Interiors and our friends from Provide curated an exhibit of talent The Brooklyn Exchange from… you guessed it, Brooklyn! I was particularly drawn to VOLK  whose concrete shimmering bowls looked like moons atop Asher Israelow tables that evoked stardust to me with their gold inlay circles.

gold leaf Bowl

I’ve always loved elegant atmospheres with natural elements and textures, yet not so craftsy or homespun that they feel unsophisticated. When I opened my boutique 14 years ago and brought in earthy touches of lichen and found objects, some consumers seemed confused. ‘Is this a retail store?’…they would ask. Now as I stroll along my neighborhood I see even big box chain stores adding these touches to their displays. The Vancouver Sun profiled our aesthetic years ago, as you can see my elemental paintings are offset by antlers, I’ve hung photos of echeveria succulents ( so hot at the moment ) and natural forms and seashells abound!

VanSunAug08_1

Watching the news on George Clooney’s wedding in Venice this past weekend I thought hmmm, I wonder if all things Venetian might be the next big thing? I suspect to see it showing up in fashion very soon and trickling down to decor eventually, so I’m calling it now as a trend prediction ; )

All images copyright Heather Ross. Not to be used without photo credit and original source

 

 

Endless summer

mandalaIt was an unusual, endless summer in Vancouver. Sunshine stretching for days, with mauve and coral full moon sunsets dazzling everyone. I lost my desperate need to capture every ray as I started to actually relax and believe the weather forecasts that promised sunshine would still be around the following day.jewel vancouver Heather Ross

This whole summer our home was disrupted by renos to overhanging balconies, my garden was in tatters, scaffolding shaded my french doors and disarray was all around…but I could escape to the beach or nearby lakes or fields and find warm bliss.

We packed up picnics and impromptu meals… just walking out our steps away from our construction site of a patio and plunked down on nearby grass or the community gardens and dined away. al fresco summer H. RossI could balance my ‘I need to be indoors and catch up on things’ days with my ‘I need to be outside and connect to nature, walk and swim days’ without foreboding skies dictating my whims.  It was not just me enjoying this weather.The Instagram feed was aglow with images of glowing skies. Super moons and candlelit pop up dinners lit the evening air.SUper moonGlowing local

Being a lover of summer, nature, a photographer et al, of course I had to share my own images of the splendid summer. I’ve never been a huge fan of “sunset photos” as they seem a bit cliche and predictable, like firework photos or rainbow photos, the same colorful thing over and over. Better to ‘experience’. Yet every now & then I captured a radiant beauty of a sky I just couldn’t resist sharing and much to my surprise instantly it would get so many likes. I was like ‘hmm. People REALLY like photos of sunsets’

At times I might post something much more unique, thoughtful, inventive, rare, unusual or breathtaking that would be overlooked, but those sunsets were a winner!

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Jericho Heather RossQualicum Senset Heather Ross Photohappy as a clam H. Ross

 

Kits

After a while I noticed a pattern….certain images with specific elements were consistently drawing people in and seemed to bring them genuine joy. A statistician could enter all this data ( as they do, I know, to calculatingly concoct the “perfect winner” of an image ) but my process was more about considering what scenes, compositions and settings moved and attracted humans beings, and why? No doubt a softly shaded graduated display of rosy sundown colors, is in itself is an enticing and uplifting scene as we watch the sun say good bye for the day. Plus a horizon. A foreground and a background involving some lovely natural silhouette or manmade structure. WHite rockLACY Trees Heather Ross

And finally, a human element…some fleeting moment captured of people in the distance experiencing, immersing, enjoying and reflecting upon the scene themselves. Silhouettes Heather Ross

As I travelled throughout BC this summer on daytrips, roadtrips and foraging adventures, I must say it was wonderful to see how, as Canadians, we really do love to get out and explore. We do embody the tourism tag ‘exploreBC’.

BeachyCanada geese
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I gathered smooth stones on the beach in Qualicum and thought ‘am I crazy?’ as I lugged in my beach bag along the shore. Yet everyone delighted at my presentation of these hand selected smooth egg shaped rocks I placed in a rustic wooden bowl at the shop and thought I was clever not crazy. People respond to simple natural forms.

beach 5 minutes away

This summer I fell in love with a property for sale up the coast that contained much of the natural magic I am describing. You could hear the nearby ocean. Birds sang above. Deer with velvety antlers nested under shrubbery. Velvet Antlers Heather Ross Photo

Wild roses bloomed. The air smelled like sweet pine, warm earth, sea salt and blossoms. Sun blasted everywhere. I could just imagine myself drinking my tea in the garden, painting and writing, and then dipping in the fresh sea. coastal boho row

Evenings with laughter and candlelight on a terrace surrounded by lavender I would plant. When I learned this place had slipped through our fingers and sold I cried and cried. People reassure me another place will come along, but I do feel some places just hold more magic than others.

image I am seduced by summer, and the nearby sea, earth that can grow into blooms and brambles, the rustle of soft grasses, visits by wild and free creatures, and yes just like everyone else, dreamy sunsets.endless summer

As September is about to surrender to Autumn, the scaffolding has now been removed from our patio. My hydrangeas have turned pink so I know fall is near. The sky will darken early, the chill will nip at my shoulders, meals will be eaten inside. As other’s delight in the thought of cozy sweaters and boots and hunkering down, I will reminisce about this endless summer. Despite upheaval and upsets,  each evening as dusk fell I was reminded of the  glory of our world, our earth, the turning of the tides, the moon and the sun and how much I want to capture, nurture and explore it’s ever alluring mysterious beauty.

All images copyright Heather Ross 2014 Not to be used without written permission

community : gardens

  Community  :  a group of like-minded individuals sharing a commonality 
  Garden  :  a place where natural things can grow & flourish

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Community gardens are a place where these two things can flourish together beautifully.

Daisies in the community gardens

I don’t have a plot in the community garden for I have my own flourishing patio garden at my home just a block away. I walk along the tracks and gardens to and fro from my shop each day though. Often my meander home takes hours longer than my quick pace to open up, as I’m so captivated by all the natural wonder at dusk I linger so along the way.

muave iris by Heather Ross

An artist, photographer and nature lover I’m always capturing the gardens with my camera. I also like to sit in them when I write, or need to make some calls. Currently I am seeking shelter in them while my home is under renovation and my own garden is upheaved.

stump desk Heather Ross

I also turn to the gardens when I am weary and overwhelmed by the hectic pace of urban life and always get centered by the grounding aspect of this natural environment. Surrounded by blossoms, bumble bees, open space and sweet air my spirit always lifts.

Centered by Heather Ross

shell with raspberries

Flags

So you can imagine my shock and dismay to learn that CP Railway has asked all the gardeners along the abandoned railway tracks to upheave their plots by months end. That’s right, peak of summer. Raspberry canes just starting to drip with berries, poppies in full abundance, apple trees about to bear fruit, and children, dog walkers, nature lovers all milling around enjoying a feeling of, yes, community….

community garden Heather RossMost likely it’ s a bluff, a bullying gesture. Seems highly unlikely an active train is going to run through gentle neighbourhoods, parks and gardens all along our fair city. Yet this is what is being proposed. It seems our world ( and city ) is going in two directions. Farm to table movements rise,  people are turning their decorative gardens into active food plots,  magazines such as Kinfolk flourish and wonderful local groups such as our  Farmacie put on community dinners to promote and support going green in our urban environments, yet federal & corporate policies threaten the bounty of our land. I’ve never been an activist nor involved in politics, yet for the first time ever my heart strings felt so pulled by the news about uprooting the gardens growing along the old railroad tracks I envisioned myself staring down a train as it was trying to thunder through my neighbourhood.  I’m happy to be providing props from my boutique for an outdoor long table dinner party hosted by Farmacie July 12th on the grounds of a school that has it’s students growing a fabulous kitchen garden. I look forward to breaking bread and connecting with a new circle of people that want to nourish our children and our urban environments.

daisies by Heather Ross

I am committed to nurturing our natural world, capturing it’s beauty so that I may share it with others, and honoring it in such a way that hopefully generations and creatures to come will also share it’s bounty. It’s become clear to me over this past week that this is my place and purpose as an artist. This is where I belong. All these images were captured by myself in the community gardens just one block from my home.

childhood by Heather Ross

Copyright Heather Ross 2014

 

 

Clean & airy urban living

Sharing a  Boutique Hotel-Inspired story we shot for WL CONDO ~
Inspired by chic hotels, a jet-setting writer brings the look home. Enjoy!

Heather Ross PhotoBY AMANDA ROSS. PHOTOS BY HEATHER ROSS.
From Mexico City to Tasmania, acclaimed food and travel writer Kasey Wilson has slept in a thousand inns, resorts and hotels (and brought home a thousand more souvenirs). But these mementos from her life on the road just weren’t enough—what she really wanted was to bring the boutique hotel room look home, too. “I’ve always been inspired by hotel spaces. The best ones have a clean, modern feel and subtle colour schemes—and you always know where to find everything,” says Wilson. In her own space, she was having a hard time finding anything among a lifetime of keepsakes. It was time for a change.
While Wilson’s Yaletown condo had good bones—the building was designed by Bing Thom—the oh-so-’90s scheme of dark walls and terracotta tiles was in serious need of an upgrade. She turned to principal Kelly Fast and design associate Brittany Judd of Scout Modern to help achieve a simple-yet-luxurious hotel room vibe without the $300-a-night tab.
One of Scout’s first tasks was to get Wilson to take inventory—that meant sorting and purging the clutter, and stowing any remaining items she couldn’t part with in her building’s storage. “It was about creating effective storage solutions and a more simplified life for her,” says Judd. What could have been a Herculean task ended up being simpler than anyone had predicted—including Wilson herself. “I’m not very sentimental,” she says. “I was very open to it, as I’m more interested in collecting experiences than things.” Out went the boxes filled with press kits, maps and mementos, as well as a lifetime’s supply of corkscrews, framed menus and wine glasses. Shelves that groaned with cookbooks were lightened, and grandkids’ toys were stored at her daughter’s.
Wilson’s relentless decluttering was the first step in stripping the home back to a blank slate. She then promptly packed her bags, handed the keys to her design team and left for Ukraine for three weeks of work. “She had a lot of trust in us,” notes Fast. “And we had her email to ask her opinion when we needed it!” The designers set to work. To lighten the room, they painted out the 1,000-square-foot space in crisp Oxford white; to warm it up, they installed 10-inch laminate grey wood flooring. To create flexibility, they replaced the threesolid-core office doors with frosted glass Shaker-style panels on tracking systems, able to slide shut for privacy or open up for additional entertaining space when needed. The master ensuite and the kitchen were updated with oversized marble-like porcelain tiles and quartz countertops. With only one real hiccup while Wilson was away (the concrete subfloor was too uneven to salvage when the existing tiles were jackhammered out, so laminate flooring had to be laid over top), the construction played out smoothly—on time and on budget.
Form and function are now the operating system. Timeless wood stools add West Coast warmth (and, of course, offer seating when pressed into service). Poufs double as a soft seat in a pinch, too, but primarily serve as playful beanbags for the grandkids. Carpet tiles were laid down in the bedroom, but segments can easily be replaced with new ones should wear and tear necessitate. Chalkboard paint creates a dramatic feature wall that doubles as a useful writing surface for reminders and inspiration. “I can never find a pen, but nobody ever steals chalk,” laughs Wilson. HEATHER Ross Photo

Bar stools line the expanded kitchen countertop, perfect for serving breakfast to the kids or entertaining friends while prepping veggies for dinner parties. “I entertain a lot more spontaneously now,” she says. “The space is so much easier to keep clean and tidy with upgraded surfaces.” The hidden wine cooler—tucked into the kitchen pantry behind white Shaker-style doors with frosted glass centre panels—doesn’t hurt the party vibe, either.
When Wilson returned from her trip for the big reveal, she loved her minimalistic space so much she was inspired to get rid of most of what she had put in storage. Dining-rooom.tiff

She then signed up for several home-exchange websites: within a month she’d had countless offers from all over Europe and Asia from people vying for a stay in her own personal hotel room. “That’s how I feel when I open my door,” she says. “It’s like I’m walking into a high-end hotel suite. The clutter is gone and I’m motivated to keep it that way—you don’t realize how ‘stuff’ takes away from your quality of life.”

Heather Ross Photo

BLANK SLATE Colour comes to the white-on-white kitchen from easy-to-swap-out accessories like the turquoise “Sky” KitchenAid mixer stationed on the countertop. Throughout the home, modern touches (a glossy dining table with crisp lines) are balanced by organic elements (acacia-handled Schmidt Brothers knives).


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GOOD WORK A glass top popped onto a plain white desk is a simple Ikea hack that elevates Wilson’s workspace.

Heather Ross photoHeather Ross photoSOFT TOUCH Inspired by the full walls of drapery found in luxe hotels, the designers layered sheer Ikea curtains in front of the windows; the fabric diffuses the light beautifully, creating a soft, elegant glow. Other luxurious textiles—an upholstered headboard, crisp white sheets and a cozy throw blanket—complete the upscale vibe. ( Heather Ross  over the headboard )

Heather Ross PhotoHOME SPA Turkish cotton towels hang off a vintage ladder. While the room wasn’t renovated, a fresh coat of paint on the feature wall—Benjamin Moore’s Willow—makes the space feel new. ( This cool vintage ladder came from our shop, a great way to display towels! )

Sowing the seeds of Mother Nature

These lemon yellow poppies have been cultivated from my mother’s garden. They grow wild in our region of BC and scatter each year as the little poppyseeds are caught with the wind and move along the terrain to find a new home. poppy pod Heather Ross

I love the seedpods when they dry, they become little beautiful architecture spikes that I shake throughout my garden to keep them multiplying up through my other plantings.

Yellow poppy Heather RossThey’re blooming outside my bedroom window at the moment in the planter box and I am appreciating them especially at this moment as soon my condo will be under construction and my lovely view of them may be obscured.

poppies thru my window

As they came from my mother’s garden it seems appropriate for them to be flourishing in time for Mother’s Day. Flowers are truly a metaphor for life. The seeds are sewn and rise with warmth. They bloom, shine and glow in the moment of their glory. Eventually the petals start to fade. One by one they drop and return to the soil they came from or are lifted away on a warm wind to dry and rest a while elsewhere. In the case of these wild poppies the foliage will submerge back into the earth until another winter passes. Then the cycle of life continues once warmth returns to nurture life and they spring again like little potentials of hope in a tiny seedpod that flourishes and brightens the day like sunshine. Peony grid by Heather Ross

I discovered these peonies on an afternoon stroll in my neighborhood the other day. I believe it was a Peony tree that rambled high over this picket fence with larger-than-life magnificent voluptuous blossoms that could fill both my hands.

magnificent peony  by Heather Ross

peony profile Heather RossI meant to be on a powerwalk but these powerful peonies stop to me in my tracks and my need and desire to immerse myself in the beauty of nature overrode my need to be svelte.

cluster of peonies heather Ross

Mother nature nurtures us all, even those who are not so aware. I believe those that embrace and cultivate the natural world have greater peace and beauty in their life. Nature reminds us of the magic of life and all it’s beginnings and resiliency.

Peony pod by Heather Ross

Some mothers do nothing more than birth a child and set it free to live a life and that is gift enough. Some may adopt a child and care for it as if it were their own, giving them the best chance to flourish. Some (such as myself ) will not raise a child for life but instead see the wondrous child in all and strive to inspire all the beautiful potential of each soul. Some may seek sun, some shelter in the shade, and others boldly weather storms… but each life is a perfectly unique and magical mystery like the patterns in the blossoms and the leaves.

peony petal perfection Heather Ross

I love my mother as I love my garden. I love mother nature for teaching me all these things.

All photographs and words copyright Heather Ross. please credit appropriately and obtain permission in writing before reblogging ~ thank you.

 

Ikat ~The original Ombre

Ikat…50 shades of indigo.
It’s interesting to see how popular ‘ombre’ effects have become in design. A term used more currently to describe a graduated look in hair highlights, cakes & tonal bridal bouquets, the word OMBRE is French in origin meaning ‘having colors or tones that shade into each other —used especially of fabrics in which the color is graduated from light to dark’

True blue Indigo  Heather Ross

 

Ikat weaveIt seems to me the century old traditional technique of textile dying and weaving known as ikat was the original ombre. I recently came across some fabulous panels of Ikat which I picked up for the shop. I’ve always loved working with cloth and at age 15 learned how to spin yarns to make hand knit sweaters. I used natural elements such as lichen and indigo to create natural beautiful colors. ( In addition to my fine arts education I continued to pursue  textile design and ceramics as I loved the hands on feel.  I went on to develop my own bespoke  line of  handprinted fabrics for interiors which sold to the trade and through finer boutiques across Canada in the 80’s and 90’s ) Indigo, while rarely in its natural form nowadays is a die color that came from plant material. The color actually starts green but oxidizes in the final stage of the dying process to the fabulous indigo blue we all know and love now as denim! Indigo fringe Heather Ross The leaves are soaked in water and fermented in order to convert the glycoside indican present in the plant to the blue dye indigotin.] The  the fermented leaf solution is mixed with a strong base such as lye, pressed into cakes, dried, and powdered. The powder was then mixed with various other substances to produce different shades of blue and purple.

Ikat textiles at Heather Ross

While there are many ikat ‘look’ textiles the true process starts with dying just the weft threads which are set up on a loom before it is woven. Much like tie-dye the threads are selectively wrapped and protected to prevent die from taking on certain areas of the threads while other areas on the loom have a die such as indigo applied. Then the warp threads (which are the fibers that go across that the fabric ) are woven back-and-forth in and out between the weft threads. Ikat Motifs Heather Ross

Typically the weft is  not died except in certain areas to create a specific pattern or motif… when combined with the interspersed dyed weft treads you get this wonderful feathery shaded textile. There are many gorgeous examples of Ikat textiles in a myriad of tones such as this panel I picked up in a lovely coral, indigo and soft grey/green.

Ikat threads

ikat with coral Heather Ross

There is something so classic and beautiful though about a traditional blue and white Ikat fabric that looks so gorgeous whether it’s in a beachside cottage, a crisp guestroom, an exotic abode. It is striking in a sophisticated living room or bedroom used as upholstery fabric or toss cushions.Indigo Ikat Heather Ross
Indigo fringe Heather Ross

More complex than tie dye, more elegant than batik, and certainly more timeless than Ombre, Ikat has been around for centuries and will endure.

Copyright Heather Ross all words & images ~ please credit appropriately and do not reblog without written permission ~thank you!

Jelly bean colors for Spring!

While I tend to prefer muted, earthy tones, spring is such an nice time to embrace to a fresh pretty palette, if even just for Easter weekend! In Vancouver we are blessed with Cherry blossom and Magnolia trees flowering in March and April, intoxicating us all with their frothy pink blooms. It sets the mood for a sweet season.

trees in bloom Heather Ross

jelly bean colors Heather RossSo on that note I am sharing some playful adorable lighthearted palettes for spring. Fresh greens, aqua, turquoises, petal pinks, powdery sky blues and little touches of yellow.little bunnies Heather RossMagnolias Heather Rossa girl & her hen Heather Rossjelly bean colors Heather Rossblue eggs Heather Rosslittle bunny By Heather Rossblue white & green Heather Rossa gift of flowers Heatehr RossEnjoy and have a wonderful weekend no matter how you celebrate it.

All images & words copyright Heather Ross