In the studio with New Zealand artist Leden

Article by Homes to Love

Artist Lydia Batts creates beautiful botanical-inspired artwork from her peaceful studio in Epsom, Auckland. Homes to Love NZ caught up with her to chat about her obsession with plants, and what’s next for Leden Design

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At just 23 years old, Lydia Batts has nailed the art of capturing the simple beauty of nature in her work. Her botanical drawings, especially, have caught the imagination of New Zealand art-lovers, with people lining up to purchase her range of botanical watercolours.

Leden launched in 2014 with a range of metallic foil pieces and artwork with simple monochromatic colourways. “Lately I have explored several different techniques and mediums in the pursuit of translating what I find beautiful in life, into pieces that will look great on the walls of a home. I think this year my artwork is going to take a turn from predominantly being wall art to being on a range of different homeware,” says Lydia.

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Her Epsom, Auckland studio is decorated in soothing white tones and, as expected, the addition of plenty of indoor plants. The office is spread across a garage and an indoor office space, ideal for times when things can get messy with mediums like concrete, spray paint or when screen printing large pieces of artwork. “I’m always changing what’s on the walls and what’s on my desk to keep inspiring me. It’s so much easier to be motivated when my work space is looking good and the creativity is spread from the walls to the floor,” says Lydia.

Lydia has several projects in the works, including making custom pieces of round art, using a range of inks, acrylics, liquid mediums and resin. “I’m also working on developing some large planter pots for indoor plants. These would be made from a lightweight composite material and hand painted with simple designs in new season colours.” She’s also looking into printing on fabric, paper and card and using these materials to form a range of products that complement each other. “I’m still figuring this out but I love print design!”


A quick Q+A with Leden

Is your focus still capturing aspects of nature?
I think I will always draw inspiration from nature. I find that new aspects of the natural world capture my imagination in each design. It’s hard not to sound cheesy but there are so many elements of natural beauty that I use to create a piece of artwork. For example with maelstrom, one of my newest pieces of round art, is like a storm – a whirlwind of blues, blacks, and whites.

What are you favourite things to draw?
Flowers and plants. I love drawing them because you can choose to illustrate an infinite level of detail or refine them back to being quite simple – and both ways are great.

Are you surrounded by a lot of nature or plants in your real life?
Our home is filled with indoor plants! I think it’s safe to say I’m a little obsessed. Also I grew up on an orchard in Tauranga, which we visit a lot, and that is filled with every fruit tree, plant and flower type imaginable.

What inspires you?
I think similarly to my design intent, nature plays a massive role in what inspires me as a designer. However I’ve found that recently inspiration comes from the challenge of experimenting with new ways of making art, whether its concrete or paint, timber or canvas, the options are seemingly endless – and endlessly inspiring!
I also love going to the gardens at The Domain! They are filled with new ideas and inspiration.

How long does it take you to complete a print?
The time it takes me to complete a prints varies. In some cases I start a piece of art and then lose interest and leave them for as long as six months, then I will rediscover them and find that I can make them into something beautiful. Other times I can pump a print out in 4-8 hours but this is dependent on the medium. Watercolour is my favourite to work with because it’s not completely in your control, so it adds uncertainty and excitement to each stroke.

Do you sell your work internationally?
I sell my work internationally through the Market NZ and also through my own website, I have people from all over the world purchase prints. I also supply a store in Switzerland that sells NZ product and I am in the process of talking to a few Australian stores at the moment, as I would love to start selling over there.

What’s next for you?
This year I’m focusing on refining my ideas for new products. I want to continue to focus on artistic mediums such as watercolour and acrylic for dreaming up my designs but I would love to see Leden step into a range of different products this year like textiles and large planters.

Visit The Market NZ to see more of Leden’s work.

Interview by: Johanna Thornton

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