Frances Palmer combines her passions in the way that I do. It made me instantly love her, for this approach I both understand and value. For Frances, the combination is ceramics, gardening, beekeeping, cooking, and photography. These things cross-pollinate beautifully, and the sum is much bigger than the parts. In this book, she is a lovely example of what I try to do myself: live an authentic, inspired, creative life, that brings value added for other people.
The book shown here combines all these things as well, and I already know it will be one of the best books I read this year. It is gorgeous and intimate, wise and educational, full of insights, photographs, and strategies for turning passion into product. She shares her routine, her favorite recipes, her process, her garden, lessons, and her hopes. She explains how she maintains a centering attitude and unstressed productivity, as well as providing step-by-step instructions for growing dahlias, taking a better photograph, building a flower arrangement, or forcing bulbs. She shows us the tools and clay bodies she prefers, and the books that have helped her most.
To quote her: “I encourage anyone to find a balance that allows them to both support and express themselves.”
She tries to follow Constance Spry’s example: “Just be natural and gay and lighthearted and pretty and simple and overflowing and general and baroque and austere and stylized and wild and daring and conservative and learn and learn. Open your minds to every form of beauty.”
The photographs in her book Life in the Studio, as well as on her Instagram, are marvelous. I show some in this post, but you’ll want to read her book for yourself and follow her on social media. I applaud all that she represents, and give her book a resounding five stars. It would make a great gift for any creative person, regardless of the media they work in. It is thrilling to share some time and pages with someone so fresh and actualized.