My name is Miranda van Dijk, and I live in lhe Netherlands with my husband and son. I’m the designer and maker of Puur Anders (which means ‘pure different’ in Dutch). I create fabric flowers and leaves with vintage photographs.
The idea for the photographic leaves came together when I got a small photo album of my deceased grandmother. The photos were so unique, but I would never get to hear her tell the stories behind them. Her memories were hidden from me – they were gone, like leaves in the fall. I started combining techniques, and my Hidden Memories collection was born. My photographic leaves tell the story of a girl raised by Mother Nature who finds hidden places in the woods. The connection between humankind and nature that forms when she discovers her human side inspired me to make leaves and flowers with her photographs. Recently, I’ve been making up new stories inspired by vintage photographs I’ve found on Etsy or at flea markets.
Before I make a collection, I create a conceptual story with photographs and lyrics. This storyboard becomes my inspiration. I do everything myself, from making the stems to cutting the leaves and fixing them on a brooch pin. I also find it important to deliver a leaf or flower in a beautiful box, so it looks like a little treasure found in your grandmother’s chest of drawers.
Much of the work I do is made to order with personal photographs. I started creating custom pieces after a blogger contacted me about making some leaves from pictures of her mother who had passed away. It was an emotional assignment. The photos of her mother were beautiful – they showed so much love and energy. I love working on personal pieces, but sometimes it’s hard. When I receive a photo of a mother my own age who passed away, it gets me.
Of course, I create leaves for happy moments as well, with pictures of newborns, mothers and daughters, and weddings. They have all one thing in common: they are precious to my customers. That’s what makes my work worthwhile.
I used to work for a bank as an adviser in PR and marketing. I liked it, but I always had the feeling I was missing something. When I found an academy in styling, I thought, “This is it.” I quit my job and have never regretted it – not for a single moment. Although being a stylist didn’t turn out to be my dream job, I found what I was looking for – a way to visualize my ideas and the stories in my head. After that, it was easy to start creating and I was finally happy. I still am.
Etsy made it easy to go out there and sell my products to an international audience without losing personal contact with buyers. It is an inspirational community. I love seeing all the wonderful products and shops – my favorites list never stops growing. And I love treasuries. It lets me see my work in a different way, and makes me proud. I check my circle every day with a cup of coffee or tea. It’s great way to start the day.
All photographs by Puur Anders.