My name is Sabine Herrmann, and I’m the founder of Plantillo. I make plant-shaped pillows in my backyard studio in Berkeley, California. I live with my husband, our two wonderful daughters, and our Corgi mix.
I love the diversity of the vegetation in California. Here in Berkeley, succulents grow beside redwoods and palm trees; it’s so different from the forests and meadows in Southern Germany where I grew up. When I go on walks and bike rides, I make sure to bring my camera so I can capture some of the beautiful images I see along the way. I’m not looking for a perfect flower when I take a photo, because to me, a wilted leaf is part of the natural cycle and can have the most gorgeous hues. I believe imperfection adds character to an object.
I got the idea for Plantillo after taking a photo of an agave plant in my neighborhood. Looking at the photo on my computer screen, I was amazed by the painterly quality of the image. I wanted to display it in my home, but not in a frame. After some thought, I decided to print the image on fabric and bring it to life with my sewing machine. It looked so amazing – I knew right away that I would sew it into a plant-shaped pillow…a Plantillo!
When I create my pillows, I prepare the images on my computer and send them off to be printed. Once the fabric is ready, I trace the plant shape and sew around the corners. Then I turn them inside out and stuff them by hand. I could save a lot of time if I just made rectangular pillows, but then they would look less realistic. In fact, my pillows often look so 3-D that I have to make sure my customers understand that they are an image printed on fabric.
I love that my Etsy shop allows me to use a variety of skills. I’m a little bit all over the board by nature, so balancing my computer, business and marketing skills with creative projects that require manual labor is ideal for me. Without Etsy, I would have never been able to build my business and studio, both of which I am very proud of. If I can keep sewing as many pillows as I do right now, Etsy will help me pay for college for my kids!
There is so much I want to do in the future. I’d like to take a road trip to the desert in my in-laws’ VW camper, explore more landscapes, and incorporate them into my collection. I’m also playing with ways to include other home decor items in my line. More than anything, I want to continue making a product that brings the outdoors in and gives people the feeling of a rejuvenating walk through nature.
Maker and studio photographs by Erik Auerbach and Plantillo.