• Artist Editions: Hello Happy Plants

    Designed exclusively for Urban Outfitters, Artist Editions is an ongoing series of limited, original designs from some of our favorite new artists.

    Kelsey Ryder of Hello Happy Plants is an Orlando Based artist who makes hand molded & hand painted cement dreams for your plants. Scroll on to read more.  

    Photos by Bryan Soderlind 
    Can you introduce yourself — tell us more about who you are, where you’re from, and what you do.
    My name is Kelsey Ryder. I live in Orlando Florida and have been building plants their dream homes for the last few years! I take everyday life items like chip bags, thank you bags, soda cans, etc and make cement molds out of them, (75% of my planters have been found littered in my old studio’s front yard and then reincarnated). They are hand cast, hand painted and then become home to a plant kid.  

    How did you first get into making planters? 
    About three years ago I was working at Home Depot…. and miserable doing so. I had no clue what I wanted to do or what I wanted to “be”, so I began throwing myself into any activity that made me remotely happy…and, find a way to make money from it. I started sewing, thrifting, collecting and learning more about plants, painting, etc. A couple months later, I signed up for a little neighborhood market to sell the plants I’d been growing, with planters I had been thrifting. It was a hit! It was a small, but huge step for me. Hello Happy Plants was born and my wheels started spinning! There were a couple planters I had wished I could sell over and over again but knew It'd take me forever to find them. My friend Francesca (who makes amazing planters molded from real fruits and vegetables!) had just started learning how to make cement molds and agreed to teach me in exchange for my first planter. I'm not sure she will ever know how much she truly changed my whole life! (If you're reading- I love you, Francesca!) I've been making molds of whatever throws itself at me since.  
    Shop the Hello Happy Plants Bag Planter

    Tell us more about your Studio! Can you walk us through a typical day in the life? 
    I work from home so I normally start my work day right after a 6 am kickboxing class and a quick episode of The Office over some avocado toast and a big fat coffee. Then it’s off to the HHP wing of the house! I start every single work day with a couple to-do lists and the first task usually has me out in the “cement den”, (a cute shed I’ve converted into another work space) mixing cement and casting molds. I pop in and out of there multiple times a day but I try to get a good hour or so of casting in while its a little cooler outside and my brain is finally starting to get dialed in for the day. From there its a solid mix of painting, glazing, packing orders, some more casting, lunch with my dog Goldie, emails aaaaand repeat! 

    What's been inspiring you lately?
    I’ll be honest, I’ve been working like a mad woman so much over the last few months, that it’s been pretty hard to get out and get inspired by much. Although, I’ve been working on more custom pieces for customers + shops lately and that’s got me excited to start making some new pieces for the shop when I grant myself a little time to slow down and let those creative juices flow. I also make and sell a few different t-shirts in my shop and have been playing around with some new designs I'm excited to get the ball rolling on!  
    What's the most important thing to you when creating a piece of work? What do you hope for people to take away from it?
    It might sound cheesy, but I truly love the sentimental value they hold for people. I can’t count the number of stories I’ve received or comments on my posts that I've read of people tagging or buying a planter for their friend that’s some sort of inside joke between them or something special that reminds them of each other. Soooo many gifts are usually followed up a week later with the same purchase but for themselves. I love that shit!! 

    Who are some other artists who you look up to?  
    Peggy Noland can do no wrong in my eyes. She's brilliant and crazy and weird and smart and I’d love to give her a hug one day for inspiring me the way she has over the last couple years. Lacey Micallef, owner of Big Bud Press is a straight up boss and an incredible role model to so many women out here busting some serious ass running a small business. Rose Eken, Diana Rojas and Katie Kimmel are some of my all-time favorite ceramicists too! I could go on and on here, there are so many people I truly admire!!!!  
    Shop the Hello Happy Plants Cig Planter

    Any advice for others who are looking to begin their own creative endeavor but are unsure how to start? What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned? 
    Work hard. Like work-until-your-hands-hurt-hard. Bite off more than you can chew every now and then - that shit tests your limits and helps you grow. BE PATIENT but persistent, build others up, promote someone else trying to do their thing, compliment somebody every day, receive somebody’s compliment with open arms. Take yourself seriously- you are probably way more of a bad ass then you think you are :).

    Lastly, what’s a dream project/ collaboration for you?
    This was a dream! But as for the future- I’d like to have more kids workshops, maybe have my own store one day, make big ole massive planters one day, make more planters for y'all one day, write a houseplant and gardening guide book with my dog Goldie one day… one day :).

    Shop Hello Happy Plants For UO Sock Planter

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