Meet Kyra Powell from Kynuka
Kyra Powell from Kynuka makes botanical art for the soul. Harvesting florals and foliage from her cottage garden, she turns them into original bespoke pieces of art in a studio cabin she built herself on her family farm in Herefordshire using reclaimed and repurposed materials. Here Kyra talks to Lucy from Utterly Pottery about the process of pressing flowers, how she ensures her creative business has as small an eco footprint as possible, and what her perfect afternoon looks like…
Use code ‘Kynuka15’ for 15% off until 14th August 2022
It’s very important to me to ensure my products have a traceability throughout every process, that they do not have a detrimental effect on the environment and that they waste as little of our planet’s precious commodities as possible.Kyra Powell, Kynuka
Hi Kyra, it’s lovely to meet you. Could you tell us a bit more about you and Kynuka? I’m intrigued by your business name.
It’s lovely to be given this opportunity to introduce myself and give you a little background into all things Kynuka. My name is Kyra (pronounced K-eye-ra). ‘Kynuka’ comes from a blend of my name and my Jackapoo’s name ‘Manuka’. He is my soul saver and I am pretty besotted by him.
I create eco-friendly botanical art and greeting cards from pressed flowers and foliage picked in my cottage garden, and occasionally from a few of my lovely neighbours’ gardens.
Have you always been creative? How has this influenced the work you produce now?
I would say I have always been the creative one in my family, yes. I went to art college after finishing school and then continued trained as a cabinet maker. From there I learnt to design and make bespoke furniture and coffins – something that’s always a good conversation starter (or stopper, dependant on the company!). I really enjoyed making precious things for people but being involved in the furniture manufacturing world didn’t sit comfortably with me for many reasons – from the amount of waste involved, the lack of traceability of materials, greenwashing, materialism and over-consumption of our planet’s virgin materials.
I have been eco-conscious from a very young age and this has only grown over the years. The main influence on my design and making nowadays is to ensure as small a footprint as possible when creating products. It’s very important to me to ensure my products have a traceability throughout every process, that they do not have a detrimental effect on the environment and that they waste as little of our planet’s precious commodities as possible. I believe in a circular economy and therefore all my products are made from natural, biodegradable or recycled materials.
The natural world is where I find solace. That’s pretty much why I live in a tiny cabin in a field. I have somewhat rejected ‘conventional society’ for my own sanity in many ways.Kyra Powell, Kynuka
Can you tell us about where you live in Herefordshire? Does the local area influence your work?
I live and work in my home studio in a cabin made from scrap on my family farm in South Herefordshire. I built my cabin with a good friend of mine seven years ago using mostly recycled or repurposed materials. This way of reusing and reinventing materials is something I’ve done all my life, and is a recurring theme in my work/life balance. I think it stems from my traditional farming background – getting creative with what you’ve got rather than buying new.
I have a little area set up in my cabin for creating my pieces and a desk for my computer for editing photos and working on the additional drafting work I do day to day.
I’ve always gained great inspiration from my surroundings. The natural world is where I find solace. That’s pretty much why I live in a tiny cabin in a field. I have somewhat rejected ‘conventional society’ for my own sanity in many ways.
Do the pieces you create change with the seasons?
I do have a little collection of pressings now but flower pressing is essentially a seasonal process, so my themes do tend to be influenced by what’s happening from one month to the next in the garden.
Can you talk us through the flower pressing process?
Once I’ve picked the flora and foliage, I get them pressed as quickly as possible to prevent wilting and to make sure the quality of the piece is retained. Some flowers will need trimming before pressing – some larger flowers with many petals like dahlias or roses press more successfully when they’re deconstructed and pressed as individual petals.
My flower presses are made up of ones I’ve made myself and ones I have inherited from my grandmother. They are simple things to make but, if you don’t have the facility to create them, a couple of heavy duty books and some decent blotting paper or cartridge paper works just as well.
I never use any chemicals or artificial colourings in my pressings, just blotting paper, a couple of planks of boards, some nuts and bolts, and patience. It usually takes around 2-4 weeks for a flower to dry out, dependant on the time of year and the thickness of the flower. It’s a beautifully natural process.
I love hydrangeas, the cheery faces of violas and the dainty leaves of the jasminesKyra Powell, Kynuka
It’s clear that you love colour and enjoy highlighting the natural beauty of your finds. Do you have any particular favourites?
One thing I love about pressing flowers is the unpredictability of the final colour you get from each pressing. Some pinks will turn dark red or purple, some yellows will turn bright orange or pink. It’s all part of the wonderful natural process. My favourites to press are probably the smaller wild flowers like forget-me-nots and daises, as well as wild grasses, but I do love hydrangeas, the cheery faces of violas and the dainty leaves of the jasmines. Too many favourites to choose from!
If you had a day off tomorrow, what would you do?
Kynuka is usually my ‘go to’ on my days off, pressing and arranging flower compositions. Otherwise I usually do jobs around the farm, either tractor-work or fixing a fence. However, I do like a slow afternoon with a picnic or BBQ or a trundle down the lane to the woods with my man-friend and his doggo Mozzarella, followed by a good movie on the sofa. I like a simple life – boring to some, perfect for me.
Find Kyra’s original pressed flower art and cards on Folksy. All pieces are original and one of a kind. Orders are packaged with minimal packaging and always plastic free.
Use code ‘Kynuka15’ for 15% off until 14th August 2022
Meet the interviewer
This week the maker asking the questions was Lucy Davis from Utterly Pottery, who runs a colourful ceramics business comprised of a mobile paint-your-own-pottery studio and her own range of fun designs which she sells through Folksy.
Shop Utterly Pottery on Folksy: https://folksy.com/shops/UtterlyPottery
Learn more about Lucy in her Meet the Maker interview: Utterly Pottery – Meet the Maker