A Tale of Travel and of Sisterhood.
In November 1840 my husband's Great Great Great Grandfather stepped aboard a ship in England and set sail for the Falkland Islands. His name was George Markham Dean. Little did George know at the time that his voyage would create a deep and special bond between the Islands and his family for generations to come.
When I was considering my piece for this month's Styling the Seasons post I, as usual, had to wait a little while for inspiration to come knocking. Having read up, watched videos and thought long and hard about 'flatlays' (I kid you not), I knew that the key to my post was the background upon which it was placed. I wanted something with texture, warmth and a surface which carried meaning, so when I remembered about an old chest that we've inherited I knew it was perfect.
The wood you see in this photograph is the top of an old chest that belonged to George Markham Dean's Grandson, my husband's Great Grandfather, George Thomas Dean. He was born and brought up in the Falklands but spent his school years in England. This chest would accompany him every school holiday when he would travel, for weeks at a time, across the seas to spend time at home and then return back to school.
Over many years, this chest would have travelled tens of thousands of miles, been marked, knocked, stamped and sprayed with salty sea water on every journey it made. I can only imagine the conversations it's been present for and secret treasures it has carried. It now sits in our living room, belonging to the same family, generations later, waiting to be filled with treasures of our own.
I could quite happily have just photographed the grains and marks of this chest but as this is a styling challenge, this month being a flatlay, I knew I had to find things to sit with it which would be sympathetic but equally as beautiful in themselves.
On the 14th of this month I attended a Sisterhood Supper, hosted by Lou Archell (from Little Green Shed) with the Sisterhood Camp at The Forge in Bristol. The afternoon and evening was a tonic, a truly inspirational time to connect with fellow creative women, to learn, make and feast on the most delicious seasonal supper. It was a treat in every single way. This post here, written by Laura Pashby on the Sisterhood Camp blog sums up the evening perfectly.
During the afternoon I had the pleasure of choosing a selection of the most beautiful flowers and foliage and to make myself a floral crown. I proudly wore the crown for the rest of the day, only taking it off when I had to step out into the cold, wet night to drive back home.
So taken by the crown and the evening it represented, that I knew that I wanted to use it in this post. I love how the crown's leaves, flowers and feathers mirror the textures and grains in the wood. The scent of the foliage as I cut it and sprinkled it across the chest promised of Christmas trees and the magic that lies ahead in December, something which I look forward to every day throughout November.
In a few short weeks, following a trip to Patagonia that my Mum has dreamed of since she was a girl, my parents will travel to the Falkland Islands and spend Christmas on one of it's beautiful islands. This particular Island remains dear to my husband's family and having also visited before we had children, my heart too was captured. The landscape, the flora, fauna and bird life that can be found there is like nowhere else I've been, things I only wish the Islands were better known for.
I feel so priviledged to have a piece of the Islands' history in our home and to be able to write about it on this November night, 175 years after our family's connection with the Falklands began. We plan to respectfully and gently restore just a couple of elements so we can use it again, hopefully adding our own stories to it before it's passed down to our children.
In the meantime, I'm sure you'll spot it in the odd photo here and there.
As you might tell, I've loved every moment of Styling the Seasons this month and feel hugely inspired on a creative level. The challenge is hosted by Katy (Apartment Apothecary) and Charlotte (Lotts and Lots) and this month is in collaboration with Emily Quinton from Makelight along with Ruth Garner from Gathered Cheer. If you're interested you can read more about this month's challenge here.
Thank you so much for reading.