River with Emily Wright

In celebrating our latest collection, our founder Emily, shares Nancybird’s connection to nature and how our natural surroundings have influenced Nancybird's designs. Read on as we venture to the Murray and explore our latest collection, River

"Our natural surroundings have always been a central part of the Nancybird aesthetic,  reflecting the natural world and, in particular, drawing on an Australian perspective – our unique flora and the colours of the landscape. While some of our influences may come from overseas, we always try to bring them into an Australian context – what we have here is rich and diverse". Emily

River feels like a complete sensory immersion – what are the highlights of visiting the Murray, and how has it reflected and shaped the entire River collection?

Firstly I’d like to acknowledge the First Nations of the part of the Murray we visited – the Wadi Wadi, Wamba Wamba and Barapa Barapa people. They have inhabited and cared for these lands for millennia.

I have wanted to visit the Murray since we collaborated with Wendy McDonald back in 2020 – she lives and creates paintings of the landscape around the Murray, of the giant river red gums, the changing seasonal colours and the flooding and drying of the land. Her work is amazing and so inspiring.

We camped with friends for five days on the banks of the Victorian side of the Murray, on a wide, curved beach – sandy, with giant trees overhanging and an intense number of birds!

Watching the birdlife interact with the river and its surroundings were the absolute highlight.

The river felt like a giant living highway. Huge flocks of birds flying up the middle all through the day that you could hear before you could see. With birds of prey circling silently above, and the majestic pelican cruising along in the water and occasionally showing their immense wingspan by taking flight – it took my breath away!

There were heaps of Galahs, Cockatoos, Regent Parrots, Kookaburra, Swamp Hens, Kingfishers, Wedge Tail Eagles, Kites – and probably so many more I didn’t recognise. 

I spent some time in my camp chair and created some inks and watercolours – just quick sketches between kids wrangling. Mostly I took photos and videos of the birds and trees and tried to take it all in.

After the trip, I studied these images and began a little series of paintings – some of these became part of our current HOME collection, and some have made it to the River capsule.



Transport us to the banks!

We were there in July last year, which meant icy mornings and sunny, clear days.

The campfire was a constant, with the tripod ready for cups of tea. Our friends are excellent camp cooks, so we feasted on campfire oven brisket, excellent damper, and pancakes!

Our kids went for swims on lilos, climbed trees and dug out huge holes in the sand. I tried to sketch a little and capture the view at different times of the day – especially the view across the river, looking towards New South Wales. After our long lockdowns, we didn’t need much – we were so excited to be looking at a new landscape and be outside!

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