There’s a bit of mountain magic embedded with each creation of Southern Botanics

laurelWhen you witness the creations of Douglas and Austin Davis-Selph, which positively thrum with charm and a vibrant life-force, you’re bound to detect an underlying echo of the Plateau’s natural bounty.

“All of our creations are foraged locally,” says Douglas. “The 35 pieces of original pressed botanical art we made for High Hampton all feature plants and flowers from either their property or from elsewhere on the Plateau.”

In fact, that reverence for the plants of the Plateau lies at the heart of Douglas and Austin”s Southern Botanics.

laurel  laurel

Enduring floral art! Pressed flowers with Doug Selph

The Garden Talk Salon

doug selphSpeechless about how to describe pressed floral art when involved in a heated discussion at the next cocktail party? Just watch this workshop by Doug Selph. You will soon be an expert!

Doug founded Southern Botanics a mere year ago and has set the interior designer world on fire with his magnificent command of pressed flowers.

Doug, a commercial real estate attorney, fell into this genre quite by accident. He returned from Colorado with some beautiful wildflowers pressed into a book and decided to frame and display them in his foyer… and at his next cocktail party, friends went gaga on the beauty of the creations.

At our recent Garden Talk Salon, Doug shared his secret sauce on how to memorialize your summer fun under glass by pressing a bouquet of flowers, or a single specimen.

Watch as he describes the process. We broke this into 3 short videos, so take note of Parts 1-3!

Pressed Floral Art: Part 1

Pressed Floral Art: Part 3

Pressed Floral Art: Part 3

Fine Cabin Style: Art in Movement

Movement is an intricate and important element of nature. Beginning with birth, and evolving to growth and decay– the natural world is constantly changing, and within that fluctuation is a consistent and ever-evolving beauty that can infuse life into a space. Incorporating the idea of movement either literally or figuratively into an interior design generates a world of juxtaposition and possibility. In the same way that the billowing trees that stand firmly planted in the ground, yet possess enough bend in their branches to dance with the wind and shed their leaves, there can be a sense of freedom within a fixed design space. It can also convey the passage of time and the change of the seasons. Fine Cabin features many different artisans that represent this idea in pieces that span a wide variety of mediums. In photography, movement can be represented through repetition, perspective, and placement.

hunting island lighthouseThe antique winding staircase in Southern Botanics’ “Hunting Island Lighthouse” features swirling lines that draw the directly to This South Carolinian lighthouse reminded the artist of the natural swirl of a nautilus shell, but is also a fantastic representation of directional lines suggesting the movement they convey. In contrast, Nemo Niemann illustrates linear movement and an ongoing direction in his print “Passing Shower, CO Galway”. ski day paintingThe idea of placement also suggests movement – as the fence growing illustrate the long road leading to the Art captures the spirit of movement in several of his visual works – “Ski Day” takes the viewer on a journey down the cables of the ski lift and approaches a circle of trees. Beyond that the mountains and sky background, a seemingly endless journey conveyed in two dimensions. In “Autumn Breeze”, the warm sun the wind move through the timber creating a sense of peace amongst the changing landscape.

eddies vaseBreezy Hill Turning wide selection of sculptural pieces that illustrate various forms movement and suggest the idea with use of directional lines and shapes. “Before and After” and features a convergence of the artist’s exploration of fractals and is a conical in directions directional and and gestural lines suggest the organic sense of movement in nature. The “Eddies” vase portrays the roiling currents in water and the like movement of its own – and this is captured in Breezy Hill Turning’s “Eternal Flame”.

To incorporate the idea of movement into your design is to open it to new possibility – to create a sense of vibrancy, life and infinity through simple ideas such as direction and placement that are executed beautifully. Whether you are looking for visual photography, or sculptural elements that illustrate this concept, Fine Cabin has a large selection of artisans that feature the perfect piece.

Fine Cabin Living: Art in Movement

Southern Botanics’ mission is to capture the beauty of nature and preserve it as a precious memory. Creator Douglas Selph started Southern Botanics along with his partner, Austin Davis, after developing a lifelong appreciation for foraging for flowers and plants- evolved into a hobby of pressing these botanical specimens and mounting them into eye-pleasing compositions to share with the world.

doug selphCan you remember any particular ‘finds’ in nature that inspired you to take your collections and start creating framed art out of the things you discover?

I started Southern Botanics in 2014 after mounting and framing pressed wildflowers from a trip to Crested Butte, Colorado (the wildflower capital of the world). I received so many compliments on these pictures that I decided to focus on developing a business out of it. I really enjoy the opportunity to create art from nature as well as the aspect of learning more about the plants and flowers that we use. I’ve always loved nature and being out in nature and this has been a marvelous way to combine that love with my need to be creative and “make things”.

Do you grow any of the plants and flowers that you frame, or are they found among wildlife?

While we do pluck the occasional fern or flower from our yard or potted plants, we prefer to collect specimens in their “natural habitat”, especially when we travel to new places (although we are careful to abide by “no flower picking” signs in national parks and similar sites. Friends and neighbors are also great for sharing plants and flowers from their gardens.

Do you have a favorite flower and/or plant – and is there a reason it is your favorite?

Tough one but I do love a magnolia blossom which is why we chose it for our company logo. It’s so pure and sculptural and of course smells heavenly. I also like that the magnolia is eponymous with the South, and it is thought that magnolias first appeared on earth 95 million years ago! I have not pressed one yet though – looking forward to experimenting with that this late spring.

What are your preferred framing materials?

We purchase our frames ready-made and try to offer a wide variety of styles and materials. I particularly like more rustic wood frames since they work so well with cabin and beach house interiors.

Was the interest in photography a development that occurred as you began framing your collections? Do you have any inspirations for your photography?

I have always enjoyed photography and it definitely preceded my artwork with pressed flowers. I particularly like photographing plants and flowers in the outdoors and I think that improves my composition skills when putting pictures together. I am also hugely interested in art and architecture and love to capture that digitally. Lately, I’ve been focused on photographing dilapidated barns, farmhouses and other farm structures. We are losing so many of these every day.

Can you press specific kinds of flowers, or flowers that have significant meaning to others? (i.e. wedding, prom, memorials, etc) What suggestions would you have for those wanting to send in their special keepsakes?

We are currently working on our first order for a pressed wedding bouquet which will combine the flowers with a wedding photograph and invitation (taking apart a bride’s bouquet was rather unnerving). We hope to expand our marketing efforts in that regard.

We’ve also done flowers from funeral/memorial services which I thought was such a great way to remember a loved one. The possibilities here are really endless. We just received a special order for four pictures that would combine violets handed down from a family garden with vintage photos of family members in the garden. The power of flowers to stimulate feelings and trigger memories is just remarkable when you stop to think about it. I love that we are helping people to capture that forever.

With special orders, the main objective is for us to receive the fresh flowers as soon as possible after they are picked or used in a service or ceremony so we can immediately begin the pressing process.

How has your composition changed since you first started creating these pieces?

Our style has started out as more formal arrangements of plants and flowers so that they mimic a botanical print. However, we are starting to experiment with looser and more “casual” arrangements. We’ve also been experimenting with feathers and collages with other natural materials in shadow boxes which I am very excited about. The natural world inspires everything we do. Whether I go to the mountains, the beach or out in the backyard, I come up with a new idea to create something.

Artist Spotlight: Southern Botanics

westside market

austin and dougWe collect flowers, leaves and other plan materials, press them and then mount them on 100% cotton rag paper which is acid-free and lignin-free. Our mounted “botanicals” are then matted and labeled with information on the Latin and common names of the specimen and where and when it was collected. We sell both matted pictures and matted and framed pictures. Pictures that are matted only are wrapped in cellophane prior to shipping. We welcome special orders of any kind so please don’t hesitate to contact us with your ideas. Our hand-crafted botanicals are not prints or photographic reproductions of pressed flowers and plants, but actual dried and pressed flowers and plants.