In conversation with cult floral artist Ruby Barber of Mary Lennox

Ruby Barber, the woman behind Mary Lennox, has made her floral creations into an international luxury brand. Based in Berlin she runs one of the most admired florist studios in the world. She defies all expectations when it comes to the conception of her cloud-like arrangements. Her work has attracted the attention of the worlds leading fashion brands and the woman behind the brand is just as intriguing. We catch up with Ruby to talk about how she's resetting her mindset in the current global environment and her favourite ways to rest and unwind.

Describe yourself in 3 words:

Libra, Pisces, Taurus. 

What is your current state of mind:

Open and adaptable.

What is your favourite thing about working with nature?

I love that the beauty of nature is timeless and universal.
 
How would you describe your work? 

I still use the term 'florist' but the term seems a bit outdated for the type of work I do these days!

I have a design studio based in Berlin. We work all over the globe on a really vast range of projects and collaborations - all focused around nature and natural materials.

My studio is unknown for contemporary forms and textures and an innovative approach to designing with plants, flowers. 

What are your current daily rituals?

I always leave at least 2 hours for myself in the morning, no matter how early my day is starting. My day never recovers if I have to rush out the door! During my morning hours, I text the people I love, drink loads of water (and coffee) and take a long shower. 

How do you change your mindset when feeling creatively uninspired?

Usually, I find travel the greatest source of inspiration but in 2020 it simply hasn't been possible. To combat this, I'm currently building up my library of reference books and it's really helping to refresh and reset my mind, creatively. After so many years of finding the majority of my inspiration online, it's been a nice practice to take time away from the computer and discover things that can't be found on pinterest or instagram.


What were you conditioned to believe in childhood that no longer resonates with you? 

I was fortunate enough to grow up in an open minded environment. The biggest realisation in adulthood is that my experience is not universal. I understood my privilege as the norm. With more awareness about the world there has been a lot to learn and unlearn.

Have you ever read a book that created deep change within?

At the moment, I'm reading a book called 'Radical Botany: Plants and Speculative Fiction' which is definitely shifting the way I think about the human relationship with nature and my work in general.

What songs are you currently playing on repeat?

Listening to a lot of JID and J Cole.

Describe your approach to wellbeing?

Personally, to feel well, I need plenty of down time, long baths, lots of water and home cooked food. 

What is your favourite way to unwind?

A swim in the ocean! Doesn't happen often enough for me here, in Berlin.

What would your perfect Sunday look like?

I try to make no commitments on Sundays. I like to wake up and do whatever feels right at the time and also give myself the freedom to do absolutely nothing. 

What is something outside of your current medium that you are interested in learning more about?
 
Working with nature, I can feel out of touch with the tech world. There is so much to discover and learn using technology (in relation to design and beyond) and it's something I find very interesting in contrast to my current medium. 

If you had no constraints what would you do?

If I had no constraints -  I would do it all! The first thing that came to my mind was that I would follow the seasons across the globe and live in eternal spring and summer. 

Do you have a personal mantra?

Dieter Rams said 'less but better' and I try and take this on in my day to day life. 

What questions have you been asking yourself lately?

I have been realising the importance of imagining and getting comfortable with possible futures. I have been asking myself; where else could I live? What else could I do? How can I contribute more? etc etc 

I'm trying to remove the stress from these questions and try and enjoy the process of looking for answers. 

What words of advice would you offer to you your younger self?

Initially, I wanted to say stress-less, enjoy-more but ultimately I'm not sure I would have achieved as much as I have if I wasn't stressing and overthinking my entire life. 

I guess It would be more fitting to channel Kris Jenner tell myself that even though things might feel like a total mess 'you're doing amazing sweetie'.
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Image credit. Sleek magazine x Adidas