Sarah Bain­bridge, Sarah Blythe

Country Homes & Interiors - - MY COUNTRY BUSINESS AWARDS - SARAH BLYTHE, SARAHBLYTHE.COM.

Sarah Bain­bridge grew up in Aus­tralia, where she loved to col­lect and paint flow­ers as a child with her grand­mother, Joan. After mov­ing to Lon­don in 2015 to study tex­tile de­sign at Chelsea Col­lege of Arts, Sarah car­ried on pro­duc­ing botan­i­cally in­spired work, even­tu­ally cre­at­ing her own tech­nique for pre­serv­ing flow­ers on tex­tiles. This be­came the ba­sis for her busi­ness in 2016. She works by ham­mer­ing petals into cot­ton or linen.

‘The nat­u­ral pig­ments be­come the paints,’ says Sarah. ‘It’s lovely to cre­ate work from some­thing that would oth­er­wise be thrown away and to make its beauty last.’ Sarah pho­to­graphs the pressed petals, then cre­ates prints to dec­o­rate cush­ions, silk scarves and lamp­shades. A pop­u­lar prod­uct is her Wed­ding Bou­quet Smash, where the colour and aura of the real flow­ers are car­ried through into decorative keep­sakes.

Sarah now lives in East Grin­stead, West Sus­sex, with part­ner Jon, but runs her on­line busi­ness with her mother, Sharon, who con­trib­utes new tech­niques from back in Aus­tralia. The busi­ness name of Blythe – Sarah’s mid­dle name – pays homage to Joan, who has al­ways called her by this name. ‘It’s great to keep the home con­nec­tions strong,’ says Sarah. ‘Mum and my grand­mother are al­ways send­ing pho­to­graphs of beau­ti­ful flora.’

With busi­ness flour­ish­ing, the mother-and-daugh­ter team have opened a shop in Eden­bridge, Kent. ‘When you love what you do, the hard graft is worth it,’ says Sarah. ‘The award has made me even more mo­ti­vated.’

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