We caught up with Charlotte Day to discover how her fondness of florals and passion for plants evolved into a career as a gardener-turned-designer.
1. Where did your fascination for all things floral stem?
My Mum kept a really beautiful garden, it wasn’t big but there was huge diversity in it. A shady bit with ferns and arums, trees with swings in, flower beds bursting with colour and wildlife. I really took it for granted until I left home and went to university. It was then I realised just how much I missed the garden and started to take an interest in plants. The more you learn the more fascinating they become.
2. When are you happiest?
It will come as no surprise, I am happiest when in a garden and not necessarily my own. I love to visit botanical gardens, especially glass houses. I love the smell of the warm compost, the humidity, it’s like stepping through a wardrobe into another world full of giant leaves and exotic treasures.
3. What do you like to do when you’re not illustrating?
Walking the dog is always a pleasure, as is watching a good film, but between illustrating and my part time job I don’t actually get a lot of time to do anything else.
4. If you could be a flower what would you be?
If I could choose I’d be a beautiful rambling rose! What I’d probably be is a hardy geranium, not too fancy and surprisingly resilient.
5. Which book illustrations have stayed with you from childhood/influenced you?
There’s one book in particular that made me want to be an illustrator, Travels of The Cucumber Pony with Illustrations by Richard Hook, a story about a kitchen boy who wants to be a knight but has no horse, so a kindly magician turns his cucumber into a pony.
6. If you could choose another subject for your illustration, what would it be?
Most of my commercial work is purely floral but I do occasionally paint other objects and animals where there is some narrative purpose. I’m currently working on some illustrations for a new gardening blog which include trains, rats and tools among other things.
7. Do you have your own garden – What’s it like?
I do, it has four small vegetable beds and a few pots with herbs and bedding plants in for summer. I am lucky to have a garden in London but it’s shared with other flats so I never feel I can invest in it quite as much as I’d like.
8. Your illustrations have been applied to lots of different mediums, from homeware and fashion to stationery and packaging. Who would be your dream client?
Macy’s NY. For two weeks every spring the iconic department store stages its answer to Chelsea flower show with an extra dollop of kitsch. They’ve enlisted some wonderful illustrators like Olaf Hajeck and Chris Buzlli in the past… maybe one day!
9. What 5 things can’t you live without?
Honestly I’m not that fussed about stuff. So as long as I’ve got a comfortable bed, good food and good company I’m pretty sure I could live without most things. Maybe I’ll add a hot shower to that list; nothing puts me in a worse mood than lukewarm ablutions.
10. What’s your favourite spot to go to for a bit of ‘nature time’?
I’m very thankful that I live near a small woodland reserve in South London. I take the dog there most days to see whats growing and listen for woodpeckers, since I’m not really a city gal it helps to keep me sane.
See more of Charlotte’s beautiful designs on her website www.charlottedaydesign.com
Chloë Owens & Catherine Cobley