Charlotte Bland is a photographer who has used Falcon at home for years, both for cooking and serving food and for shooting it. Inspired by domestic items and scenes of everyday life, we recently spoke to Charlotte about her craft and her BLAND Badger creative retreats which she hosts with long-term friend and fellow creative, Ros Badger.
CREATIVE HOUSE PARTIES
Can you tell us a bit about you and your journey into photography?
From a very young age taking photos was all I wanted to do. I was very lucky to have a creative upbringing and I did a history of art degree, a subject which has a lot of crossover with photography; studying art is such a good grounding for shaping a feel for composition.
I’ve always been inspired by scenes of everyday life, I really love domestic items, the things we use all the time (like Falcon!), the meals we eat and the ‘off camera’ shots of less than perfect scenes where messy objects are lit up by a shaft of sun or create some lovely shadows.
I feel incredibly lucky to use this inspiration in my work and shoot things like cookbooks and workshops in a way that incorporates my love of domestic scenes and dappled light!
How did you meet Ros and when did you start BLAND Badger retreats together?
We are near neighbours who found each other via our mutual creative interests and realised that we lived around the corner from one another. We had wanted to work on a project together for some time when we landed on the idea of creative retreats to bring things we love doing and seeing to other people and provide a little haven, an escape where they can nurture their creativity.
Why do you choose Umbria to host your retreats?
We have the perfect venue in Villa Pia where our guests can find inspiration in a beautiful countryside setting on the border of Umbria and Tuscany, and it is in the ideal location near inspirational towns like Arezzo, Siena and Cortona.
The aim of the retreats is for people to step away for a bit and connect with their creativity in a beautiful location with a programme that they can dip in and out of.
We try to create a balance between relaxing and taking in the 15th century villa’s stunning setting in the hilltop village of Lippiano - we always say it’s a holiday, not a boot camp! - coupled with the workshops and trips to museums and antiques markets in an area overflowing with incredible views and Renaissance art and architecture. It’s important for guests to make the most of the swimming pool overlooking rolling hills and the incredible home-cooked food, local wine and Campari spritzes.
Last year, Amy Merrick hosted a floral workshop and Letitia Clark hosted a galette baking workshop... what can we expect this year?
We have two autumn retreats this year, each one a little different. In our first week we will visit Siena and Amy will lead a tour of a wonderful Tuscan garden and our second week takes in the Arezzo antiques market while both have cooking workshops with Letitia Clark and calligraphy with Kate Ridyard.
Both weeks incorporate our Bland Badger Brocante, where we create our own flea market at Villa Pia with local sellers of antique linens and objects and this year for the first time we have beautiful Tuscan splatterware ceramics, hosted by Ivo Angel Store, a local ceramicist from Cortona.
You used Falcon in so many beautifully creative ways last year, how do you personally like to use your Falcon?
I’ve used Falcon at home for years, both for cooking and serving food and for shooting it. The flash of colour on the rim is such a great feature in photos. I recently found that my small pie dish is also the perfect size for cooking porridge in my pressure cooker, a discovery that has changed breakfast time for the better!