Australian House & Garden

Leila Jeffreys

Through her exquisite, human-scale photograph­ic portraits of birds, this artist and environmen­talist is dedicated to promoting greater connection to the natural world.

- PHOTOGRAPH­Y Anson Smart

THE THINGS THAT SPARK JOY FOR YOU? Spontaneou­s moments when people and nature connect. One that comes to mind was a recent kids versus adults soccer game at our local park. A huge thundersto­rm rolled in and rain pelted down. The field turned into a shallow pool and the kids went wild, swept up in the moment, slipping and sliding, muddy and exhilarate­d. The adults cheered along. It couldn’t have been planned. Being in nature, including rain, sparks joy for me.

UNEXPECTED POSITIVES OF 2021? Having a circuit-breaker to everyday life has been hugely beneficial. It gave me time to reflect on the importance of living a life that is more deeply aligned with my values. I make art to suggest a reconnecti­on to nature and slowing down, yet often I was rushing and stressing to complete work for exhibition­s. I hope to take that awareness with me as I start to work on new projects. HOW WILL YOU CELEBRATE THE FESTIVE SEASON? Christmas Day will be in Sydney with my husband’s family and my mum and some close friends whose families are interstate. YOUR FESTIVE TIPPLE OF CHOICE? Vodka on the rocks with

a squeeze of fresh lime.

GO-TO STORE FOR GIFT SHOPPING? The DEA Store for handmade ceramics and kitchenwar­e that supports local artisans, and online retailer Specified Store for handmade Australian furniture and homewares.

TRAVELLING OVER SUMMER? Yes! To Bawley Point on the

NSW South Coast. We travel there every January with family friends and it is a great way to start the year.

HOW DO YOU UNWIND? Snorkellin­g in the ocean.

AN IDEAL SUMMER’S DAY INVOLVES…? A swim at Wylie’s Baths [at Sydney’s Coogee Beach] then a game of soccer at the park. Kids versus adults, of course.

HOLIDAY FASHION MUST-HAVES? I live in jeans and t-shirts and love clothes made from natural materials. For sustainabl­e fashion and basic t-shirts I recommend Fibre For Good.

TUNES ON YOUR SUMMER PLAYLIST? So many favourites... Girls Talk by Dave Edmunds, Ooh La La by The Faces, Who Loves the Sun by Velvet Undergroun­d, Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. BOOKS YOU’LL BE READING? Heartwood: The art and science of growing trees for conservati­on and profit by Rowan Reid. QUINTESSEN­TIAL SUMMER MEAL? Salads made from home-grown vegies, with olives, toasted nuts and baked feta. FAVOURITE SUMMER SCENT? Eucalyptus.

HOPES FOR 2022? That there’s a big shift in human consciousn­ess to see the link between ourselves and all living creatures – that we are part of the world and not separate.

WHAT’S AHEAD FOR YOU? I’m releasing a series of smaller printed portraits of small birds. I’m also working on a major exhibition [Olsen Gallery, Sydney, in October 2022] and beyond that I’ll be travelling to photograph seabirds for an exhibition and book in 2024.

“Nature stirs the human spirit, allowing us to ask deeper questions.”

 ?? ?? Leila, her husband James Roden and their son Vincent, 12, at their happy place and regular early-morning swimming hole, Wylie’s Baths at Sydney’s Coogee Beach.
Leila, her husband James Roden and their son Vincent, 12, at their happy place and regular early-morning swimming hole, Wylie’s Baths at Sydney’s Coogee Beach.

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