Emma Duncan has found a niche mixing her artistic leanings and designer’s eye – but her creations do not emerge in paint or clay – they’re composed in plants. And not just any plant but the hardy survivors of the botanical world, succulents.
The self-confessed “mad keen gardener since I was a kid’’ creates stunning living arrangements in succulents. Visitors to the luxury retreat Spicers Hidden Vale at Grandchester or the restaurant Homage might have seen them dotted around the property.
There’s a bicycle on the verandah sprouting huge specimens from its basket and an old milk can on the whisky bar inside reveals a crop of haworthia and aloe. An old kettle laden with echeverias pours a ‘string of pearls’ specimen from its spout.
Emma also runs regular workshops at Spicers, imparting her secrets to create these living creations which have the potential to last for weeks, months or even years.
“The fantastic thing about succulents, I say, is that they are for all shades of green thumb and brown ones as well,” Ms Duncan said.
“Even if you think you can’t do this, you can because succulents are probably the most forgiving of all the plants.
“All they need is light, although not too much blazing Queensland sun, and a little bit of water.
“And it’s a terrific thing to give as a gift – if you give flowers they’re dead in a week but with succulents you are giving a garden that will basically just keep on living.’’
The workshops are held under a 100-year-old fig tree and include a glass of champagne and scones and jam, and everyone goes home with their finished pieces.
Emma, with a background as a graphic designer, has turned her plant passion into a business, styling weddings and corporate events, for which she creates stunning large and small-scale pieces. She even wears her succulents – tiny embedded offcuts adorning her earrings and necklaces.
The next workshop, on October 15, features a framed garden with succulents embedded in spagnum moss.
On October 29, create a stunning metal wall planter with succulents.
On November 26, the theme is Christmas wreaths made from succulents.
Check out the timetable of upcoming workshops at: https://www.bespokebyemma.com/
AIRED - SUNDAY 15 OCTOBER
on Channel 7, The Great Day Out
with Jessica Skarratt.
A great day out indeed! Jess and the team came knocking on Spicer's Hidden Vale's door to interview Bespoke's artist, designer and owner, Emma Duncan.
" Such a wonderful experience and fabulous people", stated Emma. The Great Day Out's Sofie Formica spotted Emma's work and liked it so much she suggested a story. "I'm really thrilled that Sofie and others are enjoying my work so much. That's why I do it after all! For people to enjoy and share my passionn for succulents and gardening and living art!".
Jess enjoyed a Succulent Framed Artwork workshop, just one of the many Bespoke holds at Spicers.
Emma explains, "This is such a great workshop your create very own living framed artwork. Design your piece with succulent cuttings into spaghnum moss. A stunning way to start or continue your love of succulents and learn how to propagate them too".
Great Day Out airs on Sunday at 5:30pm