Is Nature in Art on the Rise Again?

The natural world has motivated artists for eons. We can still see and appreciate examples of this such as prehistoric cave paintings, Roman mosaics filled with plants and animals and ancient Chinese porcelain including a range of flower motifs. We no longer have the same emphasis on decorating our domain in this way, although nature is still drawn upon as a source of inspiration. After all, earth is an inspiring place.

From catwalks to fine art and architecture to fashion accessories, nature remains as a creative source for ideas. These days motivation can come from an eco-conscious standpoint focusing on carbon neutral fabrication and sometimes it can still simply arise from the beauty of a flower or animal print. Right alongside patterns is the colour palette. Trending in the upcoming season and named after nature itself; pepper stem, moss, turmeric, aspen gold, brown granite, cherry and living coral to mention a few. Check your wardrobe has some!

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How wonderful to draw on such diversity. Our environment is a long-established source of inspiration while paradoxically the environmental predicament in which we find ourselves, continues to evolve. There are artists, some very deliberately practising and living their offerings of change at this environmentally critical point in our history, hoping to usher other folk towards greater sustainability.

At the Fleurieu Arthouse there are artists doing just that; working with materials and processes that are consciously easy on the planet’s resources. There is such a range on offer including gift cards, textiles and fashion, glassware, ceramics, sculptures, wall art and home décor. There are gifts as small as Christmas cards through to fine art ready to adorn your loved one’s home.

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Wild Juju offers contemporary jewellery made from recycled silver and salvaged wood working to “go as green as humanly possible.” Linda Jenkins makes stylish, one-off hats inspired by nature and natural materials including silk, wool and cotton while Sarah Wood lovingly hand-dyes textiles with natural materials collected from a range of Fleurieu landscapes.

Mickelina Barlow, a contemporary artist, uses dotting to convey traditional symbols from her Kokatha heritage learned from her mother and grandmother. Just some of her work includes homewares made from recycled oak wine barrels embellished with the fine detail of her painting to great effect. Beeswax candles scented with honey and gift boxes make for delightful presents from Bush Organics. A Small Art Factory has a range of beautiful metal sculptures including upcycled garden tools ready to adorn your garden lover’s courtyard wall.


Brooke Walker’s cars for the festive season are impregnated with seeds providing best wishes for the festive season that can then be planted in the garden for flowers and a vegie crop in the New Year! Not to mention a percentage of fees from her paintings being donated to animal conservation.

Peter Carrigy’s wood sculptures are made from found timber felled by the elements and old age and finished to let the colours and textures in the timber sing. Indiana James’ found object sculptures hold his environmental standpoint elegantly as he intricately weaves history and other peoples’ refuse together with his keen observation of local wildlife.

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This list only scratches the surface. There is literally something for everyone. So, with such a selection, let the Fleurieu artists usher you gently into your preparations for the festive season. Items are made locally by a range of wonderful practitioners using an array of materials. Gift your loved ones with a treasure that gives back to the earth as well.  

A little less plastic will make a fantastic New Year for everyone!

Ursula Beaumont