Crafting Tranquillity with Carrie Santana Da Silva

25 Mar 2024

Even as a teenager, photographer and blogger Carrie Santana Da Silva understood a paradoxical truth about the digital age: that amid a hyper-connected landscape, faithfully sharing the beauty of one’s small corner of the earth has the power to open up the whole world. As she recalls, ‘It all began for me when I started my blog in 2008. I was a teenager in Somerset and spent all my free time connecting with people in online communities to make my world feel that bit bigger. This led me to create a website of my own to share my thoughts, pictures and anything else that came to mind.’ 

That website, in turn, led to her Instagram platform, where she is known as @wishwishwish to her legion of appreciative of followers. The abiding atmosphere that seeps through her quietly ravishing tableaux is one of warmth; to enter into Carrie’s world is to feel enveloped by outstretched soul-soothing arms.

Lali Mini Terracotta Pot featured left. Inky Painted Tableware and Vintage Satin Cutlery featured right.

‘I photograph the things I’m drawn to and edit my images in a way that speaks to me, which is usually soft and warm’ she explains. ‘I’ve been lucky enough to hear my images described as cosy and nostalgic. It’s not something I’m ever consciously aiming for, but the way my eyes see the world, I suppose. I don’t think I’m able to do things any other way but every time I hear somebody tell me that they know an image is mine before they even see my name, I feel vindicated.’

One vantage point from which she forms her world view is from her perch around the table, a naturally rich seam of inspiration thanks to the comfort and conviviality inherent to the setting, as well as the window it offers into lives well-lived. To sit at a well-dressed table, whether alone, a deux or in raucous company, is a moment that holds both sustenance and pleasure.

I don’t think there is any harm in romanticising the mundane moments. Why not set the table for a fancy breakfast at the weekend, put on an outfit that you feel great in to pop to town, or create a slow moment around making your afternoon cup of tea?’

Lumley Stem Vase and Mala Terracotta Pot featured left. Inky Painted Side Plate featured right.

As we slip appreciatively into the long Easter weekend, it is precisely the kind of scene that Carrie plans to inhabit, the slow, the conscious and the considered edging out the freneticism of daily life.

 When it comes to setting the table, Carrie counsels having fun above all things. ‘I don’t set any rules, per se,’ she says. ‘I’ll try to involve flowers, usually picked haphazardly from whatever is available in the garden, and always a candle or two. In the past I’ve made my own tablecloths from stretches of fabric I’ve bought on a whim, and napkins that I’ve embroidered or added a ruffled edge to. It’s a nice feeling to use things you’ve created yourself to make your tablescape all the more unique. I’m beginning to realise I’m going to need a cabinet dedicated to my dining table and its paraphernalia as it’s an ever-growing collection.'

Handwoven Cotton Mattress, Faded Peach and Grace Hand Embroidered Square Cushion, Honey Yellow featured left.

In line with that, a long weekend of pleasurable pottering calls as Easter, that trumpeting herald of spring with its warmer, longer days, invites idle hours spent around the table and industrious ones in the garden – and, with luck, a beautiful coming together of the two.

Should we be so lucky weather-wise, Carrie’s feasts will be taken al fresco amidst an oasis of spring flowers, a plot to which tends with devotion. ‘I’ve currently got narcissi and tulips sprouting up from their bulbs, as well as ranunculus. We have a beautiful mature wisteria that winds its way over the top of the garden table and around the courtyard. Its buds are getting bigger by the day and I’m counting down until it blooms, making the entire space smell beautiful with cascading purple flowers. We look forward to seeing them cast into images that cheer, soothe and drench our souls with all the sunshine of spring.

Eden Terracotta Pot featured above

Interview by Nancy Alsop.

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