Philippa Stanton is a charismatic fireball of warmth, energy and charm. In less than five minutes of arriving at her Sheffield-based ‘Vase to Table’ workshop on Saturday, I am defrosting my hands around a hot cup of coffee as she tells me how she drove all the way from her home in Brighton the day before – car jam-packed with props. Looking around – the room screams the @5ftinf we all know and love. Vintage maps, ageing Penguin Classics books, autumn leaves, pumpkins and old battered tins are just some of the treasures that line the walls at 156 Arundel Street – our incredible venue for the day. Said props – coordinated around the studio into blocks of primary colours – as you’d expect. Her home is the same, she says. As you’d expect!
The queen of flat-lay design, Philippa is quite literally an Instagram sensation – with a following currently hurtling towards the half-a-million mark, garnered from people’s love of her images of spectacular colour, season and flower-led table top displays. Her photos usually also feature snippets from her every day, such as a half-drunk cup of tea or perhaps a glimpse of her beloved cat Cheeks.
Having followed @5ftinf since back in the good old early days of Instagram, I was pretty damn excited when earlier this month, she agreed that I could interview her for this blog post. I intend this to be a series of posts highlighting my all time favourite Instagrammers, and when I DM’d her to ask if she’d consider kick-starting it, I thought – ‘I’m punching above my weight here’. Her reply? “Yes of course!! I’ve just arrived in Cornwall after a mammoth drive (only to see 80’s singer Paul Young in the car park when I got here!!!).” Yep, Philippa is all kinds of awesome!
So via our email exchanges, and then spending a day with her at #vasetotable, which she hosted alongside the lovely Anna Potter @swallowsanddamsons, an a-mazing South Yorkshire-based florist – what have I learnt about @5ftinf? She’s Super Mum (my words, not hers) to her teenage son Jules, who she clearly completely adores. She has grafted and grafted and grafted, working as an actress, artist and photographer, all three which she continues to do now. Indeed last Winter she was the ‘Mum’ in the Boots Christmas advert, and a couple of weeks ago she appeared in long-running UK Soap Opera, ‘Doctors’. She makes a mean mushroom soup. I know this to be true as I had some for lunch on Saturday, and it was delicious. Her favourite Instagram filter is Mayfair and she is a huge advocate of the app’s editing tools, refusing to tweak her photos (all iPhone 6) with anything else.
But there’s more. And plenty of it. So grab yourself a cuppa. Set aside 10 minutes, and enjoy getting to know the woman behind that famous table top:
Describe your life in a nutshell.
This is probably a bit tricky as there are quite a few rogue strands, which have made me realise relatively recently that I don’t really have a ‘normal’ thing going on…
How has Instagram helped you develop as a working artist?
While we have you here…
1. Carot’s Cafe in West Hove…not pretty but it’s by a part of the sea only locals go to
( 6. My house…for a cup of tea! )
Favourite flower?: Spring: Tulips. Summer: Dahlia. Autumn: Physalis and Leaves. Winter: Anemone and Ilex berries.
Drink of choice?: A pint of Guinness. (Note: Philippa brought a homemade Guinness cake for our afternoon tea break at the Vase to Table workshop!)
Favourite song?: I find this hard as I have odd music taste, so here’s a selection: Judy Garland: Over The Rainbow (1938) and Come Rain or Come Shine (live recording from Carnegie Hall…it’s mental and makes you think anything is possible). The Beautiful South: I’ll Sail This Ship Alone. Maria Callas singing Rossini’s ‘Una Voce Poca Fa’ from The Barber of Seville…it’s incredible!
Book?: The Song of the Lark – Willa Cather
Film?: Again, I can’t choose, but: 1. Singin’ in the Rain 2. Once Upon a Time in The West and 3. The Taking of Pelham 123 (1974)
With heartfelt thanks to the lovely Philippa. You can visit her online shop here and read her gorgeous blog here. All images pictured on this blog post (apart from the opening shot which was taken by myself at Saturday’s workshop), are copyright of Philippa Stanton @5ftinf.
- Thank you to everyone who entered this lovely giveaway and left such gorgeous comments! And the winner is Carina Bronkhorst – congratulations! Send me a DM on Instagram or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your beautiful prize bundle, which is so yummy I’d like to keep it all for myself 🙂 x
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