Maria's Garden

Posted by Angela Nikulinsky on

Maria is my mum and I’ve dedicated this small range of greeting cards to her. 

I dreamed up the range what seems like ages ago, certainly in pre-COVID times. So it is even more poignant to me to be designing with my mum in mind, now that is has been over a year since we have been able to hug or chat not on a screen!

Maria has always been a passionate gardener. Her garden at her home in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand is a constant source of solace and joy. There you will find camellias, roses – bulbs sprouting and blooming in spring. There’s olive trees, a nod to her Greek heritage, citrus trees -  a hangover from when the property was had a large orchard – and if you venture to ‘Butterfly Cottage’ the play space Maria designed for her three grandchildren and small guests to her home, you’ll see magical snapdragons lining the path.

Philippa painted these flowers for application on products like cups for Australian Fine China. Maybe you own some? I am often asked where to buy these (op shops, antique shops and eBay – just in case you also were wondering) but they have been out of production for a long time.

When I’ve browsed Philippa’s back catalogues to brainstorm for studio Nikulinsky, I’ve always wondered whether I should use these artworks. They are beautiful, of course, but they are not the native flowers I adore and have built a business on promoting.

And then I did some really amazing work with a woman called Serena of Speak Out Studio. She is a brand strategist and advocate for businesses that are inclusive, ethical and purpose-led. Serena is also an all-round kind, smart person to know – so happy to have found her!

Even though my business is in its fourth year, I haven’t had a clear picture of it – a business plan on paper. Oops! It all existed as swirling ideas and in inside my head. But that has been working for me, to be honest. Up until now – I think this has something to do with being a mum to two young kids!

Serena helped me extract all this information and put it into categories and under meaningful headings like ‘Values’ ‘Purpose’ ‘Mission’ ‘Vision’ etc. All really handy stuff to have laid out in a document. 

That is not to say I didn’t have these things in the last few years of running studio Nikulinsky. I just didn’t have the clarity I now possess. Anyway, I digress.

The purpose of studio Nikulinsky is to connect people with our natural world.

Through this connection, I hope people will care enough to protect it.

In keeping with this purpose, I decided to unburden myself of the anxiety over designing with non-native flowers. Because all flowers matter, right?

When I look at these cards, I think of my mum & her garden, where she finds so much happiness. I think of how lovely it will be to have a cup of tea & a biscuit on her veranda overlooking the garden, when it is safe to travel again.

I hope you will enjoy a little piece of my mum's garden with this new card range.  

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  • I am humbled and soo proud to have this recognition. My enthusiasm for my garden has just gone into overload.

    Maria King on

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