Flamingos - the must-have bird in the home
Flamingos - the must-have bird in the home
That bellweather of British taste, John Lewis, says 'flamingo' has been one of the most popular search words on its website and sales of all things flamingo have been rocketing. Well, they are very beautiful so we've tracking down some quality, tasteful and eco friendly flamingo-themed homewares to lift the spirits over the winter months
Flamingos are a bird beloved of the artist for obvious reasons. With their shrimp pink colour, long ballerina-thin legs and tutu-like bodies, they're pretty birds and can be imbued with many different characters. Comically haughty, snootily single-minded, cuddly and affectionate, eminently refined, fabulously faintly ridiculous, they're birds of a feather that flock together to create beautiful visions in pink.
Who knows why, but according to John Lewis, one of the most popular motifs for homewares this year has been the flamingo, according to analysis of search terms keyed into its website.
British artist Sarah Elder - a former BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year - travels the world to paint wildlife and when in Africa she loves to stop and paint these fascinating waders. 'A fantasy of flamingos is how I think of of these stunning and elegant birds. Beautiful and blessed with such a gorgeous pink colour, they really are like ballet dancers - they pirouette, promenade and pose.'
Elder's original paintings cost in the thousands, but she does offer high quality prints of her Flamingo works at £150, and her Flamingos have also been transferred to lovely cashmere and silk scarves, which cost £150.
Another highly regarded British artist renowned for his paintings of birds in flight is Jeremy Houghton, and flamingos are a subject he returns to time and again. Original works in oil are probably not in many people's price range but he too offers prints of his exuberant and slightly abstract/impressionistic flamingo works, which include Dizzy Heights and Royal Flush. Prints 54x56cm cost £395.
There's a wealth of flamingo prints available - we like the brilliantly colourful and stylised designs of Bulgarian artist Slaveika Aladjova who sells on Etsy and whose prints start at less than £20; while Abode Living has prints of Dan Adams' (of I Ended Up Here) Colourful Creatures paintings, including his Flamingo. Print 42x29.5cm costs £20.
Wallpaper is a great way to bring flamingos into your life. Long established British manufacturer Cole & Son has a beautiful Flamingo paper, featuring beautifully drawn birds standing up, feeding and nesting. It's subtle yet endlessly interesting and the colourways are soft. Cole & Son uses high quality paper printed with water-based inks. The company does advise that the pink 66/6043 and orange flamingos 66/6045 will be discontinued at the end of December, though the other six colourways will continue to be produced. Around £76 a roll.
Young and fresh UK brand Scion has a pretty non woven wallpaper, Felicity Flamingo, part of its Guess Who? collection that's aimed at girls who love all things pink. Choose from a white or pale green background. £28 per roll.
Flamingo cushions, Roman blinds or curtains are fun too. And don't forget tea towels - just make sure you go for sustainable fabrics such as pure linen or organic cotton. For a very affordable and pretty 100 per cent linen fabric printed with delicate flamingos, British textile brand Clarke & Clarke's Flamingo design, part of its Fougeres collection, is understated and versatile. And it costs just £19 per m. You'll find modern flamingo prints on organic cotton teatowels at Space 1a Design (£9.95) and at Bristol based screenprinters Rolfe & Wills (£12). For vintage tapestry cushions with flamingos centre stage, look to the work of upholsterer, upcycler and cushion-maker Heather Linnitt of eclectic-chair.com.
We Are Paper Plane has some fun flamingo mugs and Fee Fee La Fou Enterprises has a milk jug by Denise O'Sullivan featuring a flamingo design on white bone china. The jug is made in Stoke on Trent and costs £35. Etsy and Folksy will yield forth plenty of flamingo mugs and jugs too.
From an interior design point of view, remember not to go overboard with a motif.. a few cushions on a plain sofa can look great, but if you go for a flamingo wallpaper, don't then choose flamingo cushions, prints and blinds!