Molly Cave is the maker behind Frondescence

What’s the story behind your brand?

I started my business last autumn, and spent the winter developing my ideas. Unfortunately, due to the Covid outbreak I was made redundant just as I was getting ready to open my Etsy shop. I was disappointed, but I decided to make the most of the situation and really push Frondescence.

What do you make?

I create very realistic fabric houseplants from fabric, old clothes or bits and scraps of material. They are really lovely and very realistic, perfect for those people who struggle to grow plants, or do not have enough natural light in areas of their homes to grow plants. I also make leafy wall hangings, decorative cushions, jewellery and accessories. Lots of different ways to make the home a fuss-free urban jungle.

The National:

How do you make them?

To make my plants I first pin together the material and use free-machine embroidery to draw the leaf shape and the veins details. Then I stitch individual stems for each leaf, from fabric-wrapped wire and I pot them up by recycling used plastic plant pots. I then stuff all the excess fabric scraps that I can’t reuse inside the pot to keep it stable, before sealing it and stitching on the black cover for the base. This means that not only am I reusing the fabrics, used plastic pots, but I also create no textile waste at all.

What was your inspiration?

My own collection of houseplants in my home. I do really love my indoor plants, but I’m also a busy lady, and most indoor plants do need a lot of attention and specific conditions. I also wanted to have plants in my hall and bathroom but with no natural light it was impossible.

I looked at faux plants – but only found plastic plants which just seemed wrong – using more plastic to create an imitation of nature. I was inspired to find a more creative and eco solution.

I’ve always enjoyed sewing, but a couple of years ago I studied for a year in foundation art and design, and I was introduced to textiles in art. It really opened

my eyes to the idea that textiles isn’t just arts and crafts, or repairing jeans; it can be an art form itself. After that year, I worked in a tailor’s and with the skills I learnt in both my education and my job, I started to form an idea of my business.

What sets you apart from other makers?

I think it’s what I make, using textiles in such an unusual way. I feel that my products are an amalgamation of both the horticulture and houseplant trend. It’s both my passions together, and I think that shows in the details.

What are your most popular products?

My leaf decorative cushions, and the Monstera Adansonii leaf wall hangings; I can never seem to make enough! They sell out so quickly every time. The plants are really popular too, and I think the most popular plant I have created was the Anthurium (Arthur) Veitchii, which is my favourite too.