The Art of Collecting with Sophia Kaplan

Gemstone of choice: peridot (and emerald).

Floral designer Sophia would look as at-home bundling flowers into the back of a truck on the streets of Paris as she does in Sydney’s inner-west. Her french-girl face is complimented by her natural warmth and uber direct nature.
The mother of baby Rafi runs two businesses (her eponymous floral design studio and online store Leaf Supply), plus she is co-author of her second book Indoor Jungle.

Natural beauty photographed by Claudia Smith at home.
Sophia – fresh from a quick dash with baby Rafi for croissants to share with us .

‘I am totally guided by the flowers our lovely farmers grow and bring to market for us. The changing of the seasons means nothing gets stagnant and there’s always something new and interesting, with an unusual form or colour that will inspire an arrangement.’

Delivering on several creative projects at play.

The juggle is real and life is busy. We have just released our second book ‘Indoor Jungle’ which we put together while I had a little baby and Lauren (business partner) was heavily pregnant. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to write a book so you just say yes and figure the rest out as you go. We’re super lucky to have a good little network of family and friends who help out with Rafi. 
With flowers, I work on editorial shoots and events and it’s a precious artistic outlet that also gives me plenty of independence and flexibility. It can be a bit of a schlep at times but I kind of enjoy that physical part of it too.

Collecting inspiration from around the globe.

I really love the nostalgic beauty of conservatories and greenhouses. Some of the less obvious ones, like those in the Basel and Palermo botanic gardens, are so curious and barely have any visitors so you can meander around oohing and aahing at all the magical plants at a peaceful pace. We recently had the most lovely visit to Great Dixter house and gardens in Rye England. With its wildflower meadow, orchard and garden beds of the most lush planting style, it also has a rich history of master gardeners passing on their knowledge to younger gardeners which I love.

Botanic gardens in Palermo.

Wearing the Art Collector Stud and Painter Ring.

Botanical Garden of the University of Basel.

Consuming after children.

I’m aware that new parents are some of the biggest consumers out there. I am really trying to be as minimal as possible and avoid buying plastic where I can.
We’re definitely going through a bit of a nesting phase in our new home and it’s been nice to buy things very thoughtfully and with the intention that they will be in this particular space for a long time to come. You do think a bit more about the future we are leaving for our little ones and want to set an example of treading lightly in this world.

On sentimental art and ornaments collected for Sophia’s home.

My grandmother Felicity was not a painter but enjoyed trying her hand at various different art practices. I remember they also had a ceramics studio at the back of their garden in England. My dad and aunt think it funny that I love this wonky painting so much, but that’s why I like it, along with the charming faded colours that come from years of it sitting in an attic before I unearthed it.

The ceramics are mainly by my dear ceramicist friend Tara Burke. She’s a very talented lady and I am lucky to have many of her pieces which I regularly use for my floral work. I’ve also made a few dodgy Tara knock offs at one of her workshops, identifiable as they are much less finessed. There are also some sea green and white marbled vases from Dinosaur Designs which are a great little pair for dramatic single stems.

Sophia with some of her loved possessions.

Countless ceramics dot the Annandale home.

A family heirloom – painting by Sophia’s grandmother Felicity.

Gardens at Great Dixter House.

‘I want some BIG pieces for our new home. I like abstract art and would love to buy some made by friends. It’s such a nice thing to have a personal connection to the art hanging in your home. In a dream world I would adore a Matisse or a Miro, can you imagine that?!’

Most memorable exhibition.

There are so many exhibitions that have had an impact in different ways but I have a shocking memory for specifics. I do remember seeing a Henri Cartier Bresson exhibition when I was young and it was like looking into another world. My eyes were opened to the power of photography.

Finally, favourite artist.

I absolutely love the floral work of Ruby of Mary Lennox who is based in Berlin. She does not compromise on beauty and sources the most incredible collection of flowers. She continues to produce plethora of unique creative ideas and is also super lovely to boot.