With Spring in full bloom and the weather warming up here in SoCal, it seems the perfect time to get outside, take in some sun, and refill on Vitamin D. To help get you motivated, there’s a brand new book that has come out from my friend Beci Orpin. I’ve been such a fan of her graphic colorful style and playful collages and designs for years. I’m thrilled to have gotten a preview of her latest (this is her 4th!) book, published by Hardie Grant, called “Sunshine Spaces : Naturally Beautiful Projects To Make For Your Home and Outdoor Spaces.“
With wonderful photography by Chris Middleton, Sunshine Spaces is chock full of fun ideas that you can make for brightening up your outdoor space, but also easy projects to bring the outdoors in! Beci has even included tips and advice for the best house plants, projects for kids, as well as inspiration for entertaining, and a totally useful guide on plant based fabric dying.
I had a quick chat with Beci about the book and what she’s been up to:
1) How did the name “Sunshine Spaces” come about?
It was something my publisher actually came up with. We both a had a short-list of name – there’s was the winner. I think it reflects the contents of the book perfectly.
2) You mentioned in the beginning of the book that you weren’t always an “outdoor” person, can you explain that a little more?
When I was kid I was definitely all about the outdoors, but once I got into my late teens / early 20’s I turned pretty nocturnal – working (and partying) in clubs left not much time for day-light or outdoors!
3) Why do you think it’s so important for people (especially kids!) to get outside?
For myself personally I find it very calming. Sometimes I can be grumpy or things are not going right in the studio, and I can go for a walk or a bike ride in my local park and it can completely change my mood. I don’t think many other actions can do that so easily.
Kids have so many temptations to keep them indoors now (predominantly screens) – but there is a whole part of their brains which won’t get exercised unless they play outdoors. This is not scientific research – just my own mum-based research (although i am sure there are studies to show this kind of stuff!). Basically my kids are much better humans after spending lots of time outside.
4) Were there any challenges or unexpected things that happened while making the book?
Unfortunately nothing ever runs smoothly! One of the projects in the book was mean to be a Sundial – I made it in a rush, but actually sundial’s are quite technical, so when I came to actually writing about it i realized I had done everything wrong and I had to cancel the whole thing! the Macrame Chair was also quite a challenge. The book also required a lot of outdoor photography, and one of the days we had planned a full day of shooting at my cousins beautiful estate, which is in the hills about an hour out of Melbourne. The shoot was not just of projects in the book but 2 big groups of people with lots of props too – so lots of logistics, and of course it absolutely poured rain for the whole day! Lucky everyone was quite flexible and we were able to make it work another day. But more a minute it was a nightmare!
5) What’s your favorite project in the book?
So hard to pick! but I do love the Pressed Flowers because it’ something I used to make as a kid, and it’s so easy and accessible, and the outcome is so beautiful! I also love the Outdoor Cushions project and we had a ball creating the Equinox Dinner too (mostly because I got to have a party with my friends at the same time!)
6) What (or who) is inspiring you now?
So many things all the time! At the moment i really love Italian modernist designers like Gio Ponti and Vico Magisiretti. Also people like Vivienne Westwood and Iris Apfel and Yayoi Kusuma are all women who have done great thing and have great things to say. Abby Clawson Low’s instagram feed is full of incredible stuff – Lunch Lady magazine is pretty great. My friend Vanessa Holden is running series of events around the globe called Soul Safari – she is an incredibly inspiring person to me and she is always trying to inspire others too, which is pretty magic! I could really go on forever with this whole inspiration thing!
7) What’s next for you?
I’ll be in the US in May running some book events which is super exciting! I’m also working on a new kids book with Scribble, where i am more of an art director than illustrator, but thats will be fun. Then my usual freelance work – I have some great illustration projects coming up. I’m also having an exhibition in Melbourne later in the year too where I’m looking forward to experimenting with some painting and 3D work.
Get Sunshine Spaces at all major book retailers, or via my Amazon link below:
Full Disclosure: I receive a small commission if you choose to purchase the book via my Amazon affiliate link
Photos by Chris Middleton, provided courtesy of Hardie Grant