As a member of the SFEtsy Team, I get to meet a lot of neat crafty people that work in very different mediums. During an artist interview swap, I got the chance to talk with Kyla O’Neill, owner of “IMPRESSED by Nature”. She creates jewelry from flowers, leaves, and other things found in nature. Here’s what she had to say about her craft…
How long have you been pressing flowers? And what inspired you to start?
I remember pressing flowers as a young girl, but was never quite patient enough to wait for them to fully dry! Last summer, however, I did find a pressed daisy in a book from elementary school. It was probably the only one that actually fully dried!
During my adult life, I began pressing two years ago. I was inspired by a bouquet of Peruvian lilies that my family sent me for my graduation from grad school. As the flowers began to wilt, the petals started to fall onto the floor and I was so impressed by the details in one of them that I held it up to my ear and thought, “If only I could wear these!” That was my first experiment with flower jewelry and the beginning of IMPRESSED by nature.
What is your favorite part about creating your art?
My favorite moment is when I get to see what the petals look like when I open up the press. I love experimenting with new flowers, so it is always a surprise to see what they look like in their preserved state. Some flowers hold their color almost exactly and others fade to a darker or lighter color or even disappear altogether! It is always an inspiring transformation.
Do you usually source your flowers from within the bay area? Have you ever considered working with plant life from other areas, and different climates?
At this point, my flowers and leaves are harvested locally. Most of them, I harvest myself by hand from my own garden and nearby areas. A small amount are harvested from local flower farms. I would love to expand my selection at some point, though, the Bay Area is home to quite an abundance of floral species year round!
What is new for the Spring season?
I just pressed some brilliant red anemones and some delicate white ranunculus, both of which are currently in the height of their blooming season. It is quite hard to find a flower that holds such a true red color as the anemone and I am psyched to have more white ranunculus to stock up for bridal jewelry.
What is your favorite flower and why?
Oh well, my favorite flower of all time is the lilac, for it’s beauty and the memories that it’s fragrance evokes for me. My favorite flower to work with would have to be hellebore. I collected a bunch of them last spring as an experiment and ended up selling out! They are a lesser known plant and their petals almost have the sturdiness of leaves, but with incredible detail and unusual color patterns–they almost look antique.
Do you have any other creative hobbies that don’t relate to your business?
I love making things. I got into canning a few years ago and love canning the flavors of the season to save for the off-seasons and give as gifts to friends. Right now, I have a stock of ginger-peach butter, fig jam, and other delectables from last summer. I also love to garden–veggies and flowers–and have been lucky enough to have great outdoor spaces for gardening in all of my homes since I moved to the Bay Area.
Anything else you’d like to add?
My goal in creating pressed flower and leaf jewelry is to bring attention to the natural world in a wearable form. I aim to create an intersection between nature and fashion, which is not often present in the fashion world. I am humbled by the beauty that only nature can create and feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with such a force each day!
You can find out more about Kyla and her jewelry by visiting her website at http://www.beIMPRESSEDbynature.com