Meet Julie Ragsdale of Calathea Collection she is a passionate botanist and artist. With plants as her muse, she creates lush, foliage-inspired artwork. Her creative ventures range from painting and digital art to sewing to pouring cement for handmade planters.
Who or what inspires you and your creative process?
In a word, plants. I have always been fascinated by the world of botany and studied plant sciences throughout my academic career. When I need inspiration, I’ll go to a greenhouse or to my favorite plant shop (The Zen Succulent) to admire some lush foliage. If I don’t want to leave the house, I’ll browse plants and art on Instagram. I have a few go-to accounts and hashtags that I can rely on for a good dose of inspiration, like Cat Coq and Sarah K. Benning or searching for “houseplants” or “greenhouse”. I also feel really inspired by other local artists who I’ve met along the way at pop-ups and such. It’s a blessing to live in an area with so much interest in the arts where local artists can thrive!
Tell us about your favorite product from your collection.
This is a tough one because I make an array of goods from paintings to planters. If I had to choose just one item as my favorite, it would be my cement air plant holders in blush pink with matte white accents. The specific cement that I use for these feels, as strange as it is to say this, silky. I especially love the colors, too. I mix the colors myself, so each batch is slightly different from the others, but the end result is a beautiful pink that is reminiscent of desert sands, succulents, and sunsets.
Tell us something exciting that you have planned for Calathea Collection the next year.
This is probably more exciting for me than for anyone else, but I’m working on my own ecommerce website! This summer is when I dove head-on into my art as a business — I started going to craft fairs and pop-ups, filed my trade name and EIN, and have really just come into my own as an artist and small business owner. It will be interesting to see how my art and interests evolve over time. I may decide to focus more heavily on planters, or I may lean more into digital work.
“I have caffeine coursing through my veins, so coffee is a big part of my creative ritual”
What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?
I have caffeine coursing through my veins, so coffee is a big part of my creative ritual. I always make myself a four-shot, iced latte. I enjoy the silence of my home during the day; everyone else in my apartment community is at work, my dog is sweetly snoozing, and my cat is quietly curled up in my lap. Occasionally I’ll listen to some of my favorite musicians, like the Pixies, Mirah, or Beirut. I like to work on one project each day to make progress on it, so I’ll either set up several watercolors to paint, twenty dog bandanas to sew, or prepare twenty molds and cast planters all afternoon.
Name one resource that your label could not live without.
I’m going to go with an abstract resource: passion. I think that what stands out most about my brand is the variety of goods and artistic ventures it offers (which also makes it difficult to name a single tangible resource that I can’t do without). It is my passion for plants that drives me to create so many different plant-inspired goods.
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