thEM x Seana Gavin Badge
"I wanted to celebrate the joys of nature, the abilities and visual variety of mushrooms, and the uplifting sensations of being surrounded by natural environments. One of my iconic ‘mushroom ladies’ waves a sunflower welcoming the arrival of Spring and its fresh feeling of positivity. Naturally, I wanted to make this a lenticular badge— so that the image on the badge would move— giving you the feeling of nature coming to life and flowers budding with hope and excitement for the months ahead." - Seana Gavin
Spot clean only (do not dry clean!)
Do not iron
Seana Gavin is a London-based artist working primarily in the medium of collage. She overlays and conjoins distinct images drawn from vintage photographic material to create otherworldly scenes, transforming them into dreamlike environments where the past and future coexist. She is also known for her photographic work, documenting her time involved in the free party rave movement during the 1990s.
Tell us about you!
I spend my time between London and a small village in Oxfordshire where I now live with my husband Alex who also has a creative background. I was born in London but spent my early childhood in Woodstock, upstate NY . So even though I’m a city girl I have always been a nature lover at heart. I feel lucky that I get to enjoy the best of both worlds now, London for stimulation and culture when I need it -and the countryside for peace, calm and being surrounded by nature.
My studio is in my home where I make my hand cut collages. I generally create fantasy landscapes and environments using found photographic imagery from vintage books and magazines. Mushrooms often become part of these environments. I’m inspired by the botanical world, Science Fiction, Surrealism, Mythology, dreams and different states of consciousness where the rules of reality do not apply.
How do you lean out, stay active, get out and explore nature?
I live close to a river with walking paths, fields and farmlands in the surrounding area, I try to make sure I have a walk every day to have a break from the studio. And of course when I get the chance I love to explore the areas expanding beyond my neighbourhood, around Oxfordshire and other areas of the British Countryside.
When I’m in London some of my favourite places to visit are the botanical gardens of the city such as the Kyoto Gardens, Kew or the Conservatory at the Barbican centre. Walking is my favourite way to get around and explore all kinds of environments. It gets the heart beating while also taking in and observing your surroundings. It’s a great way to clear your mind and get inspired. When I had to go into London during the lockdowns, I still wanted to avoid the underground so I tried to walk as much as possible. The streets were pretty empty too so it was a great way to explore the city, always discovering new things along the way.
What are your tools for leaning out?
It has been a tough 2 years for most of us. And just now when it feels like we are finally coming out of the worst of the pandemic, we are immediately faced with the horrific, senseless war in Ukraine . With all of this going on I realise if you spend too much of your time being glued to the news and social media it will take its toll on your mental and emotional wellbeing. I choose to send thoughts of peace and then I think it is really important to have days off not focussing on these negative events. So I try to fill my mind with positivity and thoughts of gratitude for what I do have in my life.
Spending time in nature is also really inspiring and important to me, for both my artwork and mental health. I feel nature and the botanical world connect us to a universal consciousness. Especially throughout these recent years, moments in nature is what has kept me grounded. When I’m at home I also regularly practice yoga and meditation, which helps to keep me balanced, calm and clear minded.
Tell us about your gear - what do you tend to bring/wear?
It depends what season it is. And if I’m in the countryside or a more urban setting. When I’m in pure nature my clothing tends to be more practical, especially if it is muddy (which in the UK is often). I don't spend a huge amount on clothing, I prefer bargains. So I have a ‘sensible’ pair of walking boots that I found on sale which are currently caked in mud. If I’m in a more urban environment I’ll wear a comfortable pair of trainers, either Nike air max or a worn pair of white reebok classic (Club C) trainers. And usually carry my essentials in a tote bag, like my vintage Stussy tote that I've had for years.
Uniqlo is a favourite for practical affordable outdoor clothes that are waterproof and windproof. I take my Uniqlo, super lightweight quilted puffer jacket on every trip throughout all the seasons. As it's useful as both an underlayer or as a jacket in a breezy summer evening and can fold up very small in a bag.
Under my puffer jacket I’ll usually wear an old pair of jeans and a cosy sweatshirt for doing nature walks. For example my Christopher Kane cosmic hoodie which I purchased from The Notting Hill exchange shop in London, a treasure trove for vintage and second hand designer clothes. I've bought a lot of my clothes there since I was a teenager.
What is one of your most memorable adventures or favorite places to lean out?
Some of my biggest adventures would have been in my rave and free party days in my youth. From when I was 18, for a decade, every summer I would travel in my friends mobile homes across Europe in convoy with the sound systems putting on illegal parties. I’d be living on the road with minimal possessions for the summer going from party to party- across France, Spain, Italy, Holland, Germany, Czech Republic and Hungary.
I still do love road trips and travel is very important to me. The landscapes I physically experience in life inspire the art I create. In recent years I have fallen in love with the volcanic Canary Island of Lanzarote which is full of an incredible variety of otherworldly lands to explore. I also had many great trips in Morocco and Turkey. I haven’t travelled outside of Europe or the US so I have many places still to tick off the list!
What do you do to stay safe so you can really relax in nature?
I haven’t camped in years and I don’t put myself in dangerous situations very often these days. But I think the main thing is to make sure I bring water and snacks. I also usually have layers with me in case the temperature drops. If it’s Summer time mosquito repellent is a must, as they love me!
I also make sure my phone is charged if going far, just in case of an emergency. Ideally I would have my Lumix digital camera with me to capture these locations, which is really light to carry around. If I'm exploring a really beautiful new place and I don't have some kind of a camera I feel like I'm missing a limb. But sometimes I need to remind myself to be more present and to just appreciate what's in front of me.