Sanne van Steensel

Eco Designer and Artist

Sanne van Steensel grew up on an organic farm in Wairarapa, New Zealand. As a child, this way of life allowed Sanne to learn how to perceive nature as it is. This learned perception is now embedded in Sanne’s creative process.


Drawing and painting is a way of self-expression that comes more naturally than speaking to Sanne, describing it as a “place of being”. 


High school is where Sanne discovered her love for art, as well as physics, and at the time she had hoped architecture would be the perfect marriage of these two subjects. One year of architecture turned out to be enough, Sanne felt too much time was spent indoors, on the computer, and it did not meet her romanticized expectations.


Sanne went back to her roots, realising just how much she needed a connection with the earth and plants. She learned far more in one year working on the farm than she had in one year at university.

“I don’t think one can ever stop learning from nature, she has so much to offer.”

Currently, she is in her 6th year of working on the Wairarapa Eco Farm. Doing everything from managing and designing the gardens and packing shed, to the weeding and harvesting of the fruit and vegetables. 

In the last year, she expanded her “plant path” by starting an Alchemical Herbalism course with the School of Evolutionary Herbalism, learning to use the whole of the plant to treat the whole person. To complement these teachings, Sanne is also studying Reiki, deepening her connection with plants, earth and people. These teachings assist Sanne in her creative journey; constantly sparking new inspiration and ideas for her to incorporate into her artistic practice. Sanne is currently working on a series of twelve panels each with a different flower, based on photographs she took at Wellington Botanic Gardens (Paekākā).