This Natural World with Eliza Rogers

Come on a lovely journey to lutruwita /Tasmania with the wondrous talent of Eliza Rogers. Eliza works in rhythm with the seasons and specialises in making botanical installations for businesses and flowers for parties and events with her business This Natural World . We were lucky to catch some time in between the daily forage and chat about everything from Everlasting sculptures, experimenting with layers, a love throwing dinner parties, and the most incredible list of 'Tassie Favourites' you won't want to miss!  

Eliza captured on film in our River collection <3

We are so taken with your flower power and natural style! Can you share how you began This Natural World and what life is like in your new studio?

Thank you. I've been working with flowers for over a decade, and my business has evolved quite a bit. Formerly 'Primula Floral Styling', I moved to Tassie from Brisbane in pursuit of a more favourable temperature - I absolutely love cool climate flowers! Down here in Lutruwita (Tasmania), I developed a new way of working with my materials - observing what grows, foraging frequently, and advising local flower farmers on what I ideally wanted to buy from them each season. I feel so much more in tune with the cyclical nature of the plant life down here, observing the many stages from new bud to burst seedhead - and so a new chapter of my business evolved - 'This Natural World'. Born of my biophilia and in reverence of the wonders, I find around me.

This year I moved into a new studio, in the foothills of kunanyi (Mount Wellington), right around the corner from where I live in nipaluna (Hobart). I work in rhythm with the seasons and specialise in making botanical installations for businesses and flowers for parties and events. Lately, I've been experimenting with dried materials that I work into 'Everlasting' sculptures on a base of salvaged hardwood, which I update seasonally at various venues around town (restaurants, MONA, and some private homes). Often I'm putting flowers fresh into an arrangement one week and then retaining them to dry the next, experimenting with how things evolve and saving everything I can. I work hard to minimise waste in my studio, so it's satisfying to make the most of my materials like this.
Not only do you make magic with flowers, but we’ve also been watching your new business Earthside Exchange bloom! Tell us more.
Yes! Earthside Exchange is the physical location of my studio in South Hobart - and a space I've made available to hire! It was a big step for me to take on the lease of a studio for This Natural World, so I decided to make it extra beautiful (and functional!) so that it could be shared.

So far, we have hosted a truly gorgeous gig with a visiting musician Hannah Darling (I had goosebumps the whole time), and my mate Luke Andree is popping up monthly with a cellar door so that folks can taste the beautiful wine he makes under his label, Sonnen. It's all still fresh, and I'm navigating the act of balancing my calendar as spring is a very busy time for me in the studio, but I'm so excited to open the place up to the community over the summer.

My talented friend Holly White designed the interior for me, and it is a reflection of both her dedication to quality and her considerate eye. All the furniture is modular and movable on castors, and throughout the day, enormous windows flood with natural light. We are scheming various workshops (flowers, ceramics, colour theory!) for the warmer months, plus a mini-market (complete with bloody mary bar).

Folks have been reaching out with all sorts of ideas, and it will be fun to see which ones take off. My vision for Earthside is a meeting place - a "room of requirement" that the community can come into and make their own. I think a lot about our place in the cosmos, how wild it is that we're even spinning around the universe on this big rock, and so Earthside is an allusion to those musings... It's a place that is both specific and universal. A home here on earth.

What do you love most about living in 
Nipaluna / South Hobart? Can you share some secrets with us mainlanders?

I moved to Tassie a few weeks into 2017, and since then have never looked back. There is so much that I sincerely love about my life here, including my community. Hobart gets a tonne of press and many lovely visitors, so I feel like many of the main draw cards are well-versed - a food culture centred around incredibly fresh produce, a dynamic arts scene, and genuinely energising natural environments right on our back doorstep. Friends often reach out to ask what they should do or see down here - so often that I (hilariously) made my list of 'Tassie Staples' on google maps... You can follow this link to behold all my favourite* recco's for the entire state. It's mostly a list of places to eat and shop (note: this is not a wilderness guide). There are quite a few regional gems on there, plus every Hobart local's essential - the tip shop! I've been adding to this list for years, but I think most places are still quite up to date... worth saving to your maps for your next Tassie trip! *My honourable mentions go to Sunbear or Hamlet for daytime and Tom McHugo's for the night. Local institutions and I'm a very frequent regular at all three. 

Can you describe your style? How do you select your clothes and what do you feel best in? 

I'm pretty playful and relaxed about my clothing! I love wearing a lot of colours and am drawn to bold prints and beautiful fabrics. It gets cold down here in Hobart, so I have a lot of fun experimenting with layers.

Right now, I love a good quilted vest! My work is very physical, so my clothes must often allow me to move - I've been leaning into a lot of sportswear lately, but I like mixing it with soft and feminine pieces (like tops with balloon sleeves or vests with large collars) to keep things feeling a bit tongue-in-cheek. Much like my philosophy in work, I like to be resourceful with my clothing and enjoy sewing and repurposing old things.

There's an incredible chain of consignment stores in Australia called Goodbyes - I worked in the nipaluna chapter for years when they first opened down here, and have found a lot of fun, second-hand pieces there. If I'm buying new, I expect things to last and prefer to support brands whose ethos I can get behind.

Being an event superstar, what would be your ultimate way to celebrate?

Hosting is almost like a hobby to me, and I love love love throwing dinner parties or having friends to stay. If I'm cooking, I'm typically very relaxed in the planning of the menu and mainly make things up on the fly - but I think it's crucial to get all the atmospheric things in place! I always have quality incense burning (it's nice to splurge on fancy ones, but mainly I burn inexpensive Japanese temple incense that I buy from health shops), consider lighting (lamps! candles!) and make sure the tunes are just right. To be honest, all these things are important to me - I manage all three every day - so in some ways, those rituals are a form of daily celebration, even if it's just me. If it's a large crowd eating, I prefer everyone to be hands-on and get involved! We have team pasta, team snacks, and the team set the table!

Now that spring is here, I'm team salad. I had a bunch of old Alice Waters books sitting in my eBay cart for ages, and I finally bought this one recently. The intro is truly moving. She speaks of the vegetable growers who have supplied her iconic restaurant in Berkeley, CA., since the 70s and outlines how important these relationships are to the quality of her food. (I feel the same about the flower growers down here, particularly dear Marian and Rob from The Hut Flower Farm).

I get a fortnightly supply of veggies from my mates Dylan and Grace at Broom and Brine, and wow! It is a truly special CSA. So often, I'm receiving vegetables I've never heard of, things that Dylan and Grace eat for the first time simply because they have taken the time to grow them! They update information on all the things they grow in an immaculately kept "Produce Library" on their website - which is truly worth a browse if you're that way inclined. Eating their produce is like travelling the world's gardens in a salad bowl. 

If friends stay the night, then the best morning treat you can imagine is a bake-at-home croissant from Pigeon Whole Bakery. Total luxury!

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