Neroli Henderson is an internationally award winning artist who uses fabric, stitch, photography, paint and other mixed media to create art quilts — tactile pieces of stitched fine art that hang on the wall the same way as paintings.
Her works often create a commentary on social issues such as equality, safety, politics and most recently the pandemic. Her art statements are as important as the works themselves and Neroli hopes her artwork will serve as a catalyst to create discussion and perhaps change minds.
Neroli lives in a wonderful, light filled apartment with spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne, Australia.
"My art studio is here and I was blessed to be able to continue working from home during the pandemic, but as an artist whose work often revolves around social issues I do need to feel like my home (including the balconies) is a friendly, lively place to be in order to feel creative" explains Neroli.
Muppety Muffinson is Neroli's five year old Bichon Frisé, who is into belly rubs, eating anything made out of paper or plants, and spending her days thinking about ways she can eat her recalcitrant staff in their sleep.
Neroli reflects "during the second major lockdown in Melbourne the barren, plant-less balcony made our home feel harsh, clinical and devoid of life. We can see the parks but being so far up can instill a sense of 'Rapunzel Syndrome' and we missed seeing leaves sway in the wind and the smell and feel of nature, birds and wildlife."
Being twenty one floors up and facing the Bay results in extremely windy conditions that dry out soil in hours, and the salt from the ocean doesn’t help a range of plants survive either. Neroli discovered Glowpear and hoped that with their water reservoirs, a suite of Mini Benches would at least give outdoor plants a fighting chance. She topped them up with pebbles to further decrease the soils exposure to wind.
"I never thought I would get to have a herb garden at this height but since planting we now have thyme, lemon thyme, parsley, pineapple sage (which when cut back makes the most beautiful small tree), basil and rosemary" exclaims Neroli.
"As Muppety Muffinson likes to 'help' with the gardening (especially the pruning) it was incredibly important to ensure every plant is dog friendly. Whenever possible Muppety especially likes to keep the parsley and thyme trimmed."
The pair are looking forward to get to a nursery and plant out the second balcony soon.
Apparently Muppety looks forward to testing the fruits of their labor with her teeth!