Londoner Xanthe Berkeley caught our eye on Instagram some time ago. She’s a filmmaker and photographer with a thing for bold colour, the great outdoors, and pedalling around London on her famous yellow bike. We fell head over heels for the beautiful way she captures everyday moments: it speaks to our own appreciation for the art of slow living. And when Xanthe (pronounced Zan-thee) started using our APANA woven bicycle basket on her travels we fell in love a little bit more. Here are some snippets from a long overdue catchup…
“There’s nothing more magical to me, than being able to frame a moment or a connection in time. Lovers embracing, new parents’ wonderment at new life, siblings sharing laughter, families together & all the details that makes these bonds so wonderful.”
TBR: We’ve decided to frame this interview using some of your most popular hashtags, and this one is a biggie. Why do you think it’s important that we take the time to notice and celebrate these things?
XB: As one of my favourite quotes (from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) goes: "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” so I like the idea of noticing the little things, the everyday details and even the mundane. Our lives are always changing and more often than not it will be the little everyday things you'll want to remember in years to come.
TBR: Aside from the film and photography, how else do you remain ‘present’ in an increasingly busy world?
XB: Being outside in either nature or even in the city brings so much calm and inspiration and makes me savour the moment.
TBR: Which artists / photographers / filmmakers influence you?
XB: There are so many creative people out there doing some amazing work, it’s difficult to pick just a few. I'm drawn to all sorts of creatives - not just those who love bright colours or make films like me. I get inspired by people who are doing things a little bit differently when it comes to their creating.
TBR: You’ve been encouraging your followers to explore their creativity through playfulness recently. What’s more joyful to you: the journey or the destination?
XB: Oh this is a good question! I would say the journey, for sure. There's so much joy to be gained from experimenting with your creativity: trying new things, making mistakes, learning; it doesn't have to perfect. I think if we only ever focus on the end goal, we could miss a lot opportunities for things to go in new and different directions.
TBR: You’re a London girl and you really know how to capture the essence of our capital. Where is the most photogenic corner of the city, in your opinion?
XB: I love London. I grew up here, which is quite rare in this cosmopolitan city. I have lived in other countries but always find my way back here. There are so many photogenic spots but I would have to say east London is my favourite, as it's always changing there. Any street corner in east London will give you something interesting to photograph.
TBR: You’re clearly a colour lover, like us! Which are your favourite homeware and fashion brands for bringing a dash of character to the home and wardrobe?
XB: I love Boden for clothes. They have the right mix of colours and patterns and so many different styles to make me smile. For homewares I love West Elm - their colourful crockery and cushions are my favourite.
TBR: The Instagram world is evolving more and more towards the moving image, with the popularity of Boomerang and Instagram Stories. Since you run courses for budding filmmakers, what is your one golden rule for making a beautiful movie clip? We’re taking notes!
XB: When you're starting out, don't worry too much about your films being perfect. There's so much to learn from the process. The more you shoot and edit, the better you will become. Make something for yourself first; shoot what you love, tell your stories, and use the film to preserve your memories.
TBR: We do enjoy seeing what you’ve been up to on your yellow bike (and not only because you’re never without your Ghanaian Apana bike basket…) Is it important to you to spend time outdoors every day?
XB: Being on my bike is my happy place. My mood is always lifted if I get outside on it. So if I've been working away on my computer for most of the day, I really try to get out and soak up that good feeling you get from the wind in your hair.
TBR: Beautiful florals and lush botanicals feature prominently on your blog and Instagram feed - what do you suggest we fill woven planters, bike baskets and flower pots with this spring?
XB: Everything! I love pretty much all the flowers. The more colour the better! I enjoy visiting Columbia Road Flower Market and always come home with armfuls of seasonal flowers. Sometimes I put them in my bike basket so I can ride around and gaze at them. You should try it – it’s guaranteed to make you and passers by smile!
Many thanks to Xanthe for sharing some of her inspiration with us. You can see more of Xanthe’s beautiful work and find out about her online film courses on her website.
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