creative chit-chat

Carol Montpart

Art Director at The Plant

We’ve got a thing with plants. Every time we have to make a gift, we give plants and our friends do the same with us. Plants bring people together and there’s a whole community of creatives from all over the world who love sharing their perceptions and experiences around plants. Carol Montpart, co-founder and co-art director of The Plant Journal, was so smart to turn this renewed interest in nature and plants into a new engaging magazine focusing on ‘ordinary plants and other greenery’. “It’s true that plants seem to have become a new trend and I think that without realizing it we started our project at the same time as the trend began. But I’m not saying we have anything to do with the trend, but it’s good timing I guess.” We went to North London to exchange cuttings and to discuss Carol’s love for plants. 

The Plant Journal is not only you, it’s a collective project, isn’t it?

We are four to put together the whole magazine. I started The Plant with Cristina and Isabel Merino and Kate O’Brien has joined us recently. The team is now split between Barcelona and London and I think it’s a step forward. I left Barcelona because I needed a change on a professional level and also the economic climate in Spain isn’t very positive at the moment. I talked to the girls and they told me there was no need for us all to be located in the same city and that the magazine was going to survive if I ever decided to move. So I left Barcelona and came to London and now we are doing everything through Skype and email.

How did you come up with the concept of starting a magazine dedicated to plants?

Isa and me worked together at Folch Studio for a long time with a special focus on artist books and magazines. We shared this idea to start our own publication and then we got into plants. It was Isa who said: “We’re all obviously into plants, so why don’t we do an issue involving plants?” The idea started as a fanzine, but when we emailed people and told them about our concept, we realized there was so much to tell about plants. So that’s when we decided to create a journal about plants.

Plants and everything related to the botanical and the organic is so trendy at the moment. Why do you think that is?

People love having plants and flowers in their home, but there’s also a need to return to nature, to go back to the beginning. The other time I went to the cinema and I saw this girl knitting. People are tired of the fast pace and the hectic rush of the city and they go for things they really enjoy, like knitting, plants, gardening. People go back to basics and I guess we came up with the Plant at the right moment.

You’re really into plants aren’t you? Your tiny apartment is filled with greenery. It’s lush, cozy and lovely!

You should have seen my place in Barcelona. I had so many plants, but I couldn’t bring to London. Shame. But hey, new life new plants. Most of what you see here are cuttings from friends and every plant has a story to tell. A friend of mine is now living in the apartment of the assistant of Wolfgang Tillmans - German photographer- and he asked me if I wanted a cutting from Tillmans’ plant. Of course I said yes! Exchanging cuttings between creatives is so nice, isn’t it? Whenever friends visit our flat, they say it looks like we’ve been living here forever, for all cuttings have exploded and have grown so fast. Our downstairs’ neighbor says it’s a bird house up here because the flat is so green and it’s always warm up here.

If you compare Barcelona to London, do people have a different relationship towards greenery?

Yes, most definitely. In London people have gardens, whereas in Barcelona people have balconies, where they do their bit of urban gardening. In London in summer, you go to the park. In Barcelona you head to the beach. In Barcelona we don’t have a history of allotment, which is quite popular in London. Basically an allotment is a community garden where people tend to grow their own vegetables, fruit and herbs. It’s really fantastic. Moreover, the plant life in both cities is very different. In London the sky is often grey, but in spring and summer flowers blossom and it gets really colorful. It’s quite impressive! I’ve never seen anything like it. My boyfriend always says: “Come on, you’re from Barcelona where the weather is so much better than here.” That may be true. But Spring is so exciting in London, especially because the winter season is so harsh and it seems to last forever. London also has a special kind of light. It’s kind of white, whereas in Barcelona the light is warmer. I love the light here, especially when it’s cloudy. In each issue we try not to have too many stories from one place because then everything might have the same light and feeling. The idea is to have more variation.

Did your perception about plants changed whilst working on the magazine?

I’ve learnt so much about plants and I keep on learning every day. I also got to know so many gardeners. With every new issue, we put the focus on one plant and then we learned so much about that plant, which is really good.


When do you have the time to work on The Plant? You also work full time job as a graphic designer at Art Review, no?

Yes, but with a project like this, it’s really important to be proud of what you’re working on. It’s quite time-consuming and I think of the plant constantly. Right now we’re working hard on getting advertising because we would like to be able to pay our contributors. We’re working on it. It’s very challenging to work this way. You know your limits and you know you have to work things out. It’s difficult, but you know it will work out at the end. All people in London do it like this. They all have their own jobs and work on their personal projects on the side. It’s difficult for everybody I guess. You just do it.



The Plant Journal


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Plant Loving Creatives and their Homes

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Coffeeklatch stands for ‘Slow journalism using a fast medium.’ Magali Elali and Bart Kiggen created the blog as a creative chitchat featuring creative entrepreneurs in their homes over coffee, including interesting people telling intriguing stories. It celebrates storytelling and creativity in all its forms, from fashion design to architecture. Read More


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