Melissa Kime

As winter comes to an end, we are delighted to introduce to you one of our favourite emerging artists, Melissa Kime. Melissa's work features themes of womanhood, religion, nature, and folklore (yes, very Renli Su I know). Her bewitching figures hold distorted proportions, with some figure's nude and many shown in sheer white airy dresses. So as you can imagine, we were delighted when she contacted us requesting to visit our showroom in search of a dress for her big day. Later we interviewed Melissa about her art and how she integrated her mystical woodland aesthetic into her wedding decorations. When I look at these photographs of Melissa, I almost feel as if she has stepped straight out of one of her carefully painted woodland scenes. What a beautiful sight. Thank you again Melissa, for choosing Reni Su for your special day.

What are your first memories connected to art?

When I was little my whole world was centered around drawing, pictures in the story books that I read and the imaginary worlds that I could create through these. My parents are very artistic and used to take us to lots of museums and art gallleries and show us pictures in books and encourage us all to draw.

I like creating scenes with the memories I had made, my real life and the imaginative world. They could all coexist together on a page, actually that’s still sort of how I make my work today. When I was a child I would be so immersed in the stories that my drawings told that sometimes I preferred to play with these pictures than with actual toys.

What inspires you as an artist?

I like reading poetry, poets like Emily Dickinson whose words make you stop and think of a time or place or a fleeting moment that you can t really describe in words. I like reading stories too from the Brontes and Thomas Hardy who sometimes gets a bad reputation but who I still love to Max Poter and his wonderful folkloric book Lanny. Films inspire me too, films that capture the beauty of the everyday in an almost poetic way, like in American Beauty when the films held held camera focuses on the plastic bag being whipped into flight by the wind and chilly air.

I also love history especially the early modern period and folk art, patchwork quilts, folk textiles etc Documentaries also inspire me to keep creating, I just re - watched one on Tove Jansson The author of the Moomins and I think she is just so wonderfully magic.

Most of all though I think what inspires me most right now is the changing seasons, the natural world around me, the trees I see in the churchyard or in Greenwich park, the small details of the world that are so often overlooked and the people, animals or things that I come across in my daily life.

I know you used your artistic talents in the preparation for the wedding, can you tell us about the hand crafted decorations that you created for your wedding day?

I really love woodland type things, I love and always have collected little natural things that I have found they are like lucky charms - I love mushrooms and acorns my mum used to tell me that acorn caps were really pixie hats and I've always kept that childlike wonderment when finding them. I have a real acorn necklace too.

I've really got into needle felting this last year and made a lot of needle felted mushrooms and a squirrel Annabel so she could be part of the day. I made little peg doll pixie gnomes and I collected a lot of leaves from the church yard and dipped them in beeswax, we hung them up around the room a bit like bunting. The March Sisters attic playroom from Greta Gerwigs Little Women was a big inspiration for how I wanted the room at the reception to look. You can make little fairy candles too if you pour beeswax into acorn caps or walnut shells so I did that! I love fairies! d I think she is just so wonderfully magic.

What did your pair with your Renli Su dress and shoes?

Firstly the dress was so magical so thank you! I always find it so hard to find clothes because I have such a certain image in my mind of what I want the outfit to look like but this dress was like something I had envisioned and it was perfect! It was like an elvish woodland dress. I wore a Victorian lace veil with it, which had little flowers on the lace, Archies Mum had worn it on her wedding day and so lent it to me.

I wore white tights and I had a Cecilie Bahnsen white patchwork bag which actually my mum sort of ended up carrying! One of my students Fatemeh Bagherian who I teach at the Essential School of Painting made me a flower crown I collected hawthorn leaves and berries from Annabel’s tree in the graveyard, oak leaves and acoms from Greenwich park and thistles I had dried as well as roses, roses are my favourite flower and smell because they remind me of the wonderful scent of my Dads David Austin roses he grows, that smell reminds me of childhood summers when people would lean over the wall and comment on the beautiful scent and also of my dad so they were an important flower to have.

Alicia Tennant did the Bridal and bridesmaid Bouquets and again she used hawthorn I had collected and dried, oak and a rambling display of beautiful autumnal colours featuring roses and thistles. I love wild growing gardens and so the flowers were perfect. I hand dyed the ribbons that they were tied with, with natural dye collected from bark in St Pauls churchyard and embroidered a little squirrel on the bridal one. The rest of the ribbon was special pink lace my mum had found in a charity shop I think but its a lace I treasure.

The rings are very precious and made by Ruth at Studio Rua, I really love charm like jewellery or jewellery that tells a story and so I knew I wanted the rings to bring in things that me and Archie both loved. Deptford is our home and the churchyard has been so important to us, we often go and draw there together, Autumn and the gothic is both a shared love as well as Sooty the Squirrel so I drew Sooty and some designs and sent to Ruth and she made the most wonderful signet style rings with Sooty embossed on the front, two flowers and a litle pattern undemeath him of a loop the loop which reminds me of a memory of being little and my mum teaching me how to draw this pattern. On the back is our initials A and M an acom and two oak leaves. The ring can be used as a wax seal and reminds me of Tudor seal rings which also represents Deptford as Henry V111 used to eat full English breakfasts here! But also reminds me of mudlarking and the relies you can find, the band is wobbly with litle imperfections and imprints of Ruths Finger prints but I love that because it shows history. The rings really represent this time in our life for us.

What was your favourite part of the day?

I really loved being in the church that we got married in, its called Our Layde Star of the Sea and is in Greenwich, on Crooms Hill on the most perfect Dickensian street with old fashioned street lamps. We found it on a lock down walk and it was just perfect its by Greenwich park and I started going to mass their every week, the community and the priest Father Kevin Robinson were just so lovely. He is the Perfect priest and did the most special ceremony he is also quite funny.

Really the whole day was special it reminded me of my favourite books, of weddings in the 18th Century that had a little church weddings and after there would be a procession down the hill to a small intimate reception. The walk through Greenwich park to the pub at the Greenwich Tavern was so lovely because of all the leaves on the floor like a magical carpet, the colours and the light were all so special. It looked like a Samuel Palmer painting.

Melissa Kime

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