The Connective Power of Botanicals
Plants have conveyed many messages from minimalist expositions to much wilder and more expressive configurations found in rugs and tapestry. When one designer’s philosophy is to create respect for the weavers and sustainable business whilst celebrating Australian bush, it’s no surprise why Royal Botanic Garden Victoria decided to commission rugs from an internationally recognised designer Jenny Jones. Their vision and commitment for development of a sustainable organisation is the common denominator they both share. An opportunity to create licensed and branded merchandise inspired by the remarkable specimens from the State Botanical Collection, to be available through the Royal Botanic Garden Victoria’s gift shop and other retail outlets.
Aside from creating intuitively beautiful, poetic and harmonious design that feasts on the senses and thrives on colour from nature to reflecting cultural traditions and styles, Jenny’s design interacts in global connectivity, enhancing the experience of Melbourne and the Royal Botanic Garden Victoria as a vibrant, resilient city for local and international visitors.
Based on their values – creative, brave, open and remarkable, the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria put their confidence into Jenny whose curiosity and openness to create a lasting impression, allowed them to work as a team and find considered solutions to challenges. Giving her the freedom to design with full access to countless folders, books, prints, dry plants and mementos, Jenny began researching and gathering to create something commercial for the garden’s anniversary, always drawing back to the mutual values.
“As a designer I loved all the things they were giving me. The amount of material was so overwhelming, with so much beauty, I was blown away and expanded my knowledge of plants and the treasured gardens”
Faced with too many options and overwhelmed by endlessness of research at her fingertips, Jenny’s passion for Australian bush block and flowers was suddenly what she needed to free her creative mind and narrow her focus. Jenny’s urge to fight predictable merchandise sold at many other gift shops was a defining moment that led to the idea of creating cushions featuring state flowers. The vision was fastly stretching beyond the parameters of turning flowers into rugs and tapestry. Perhaps for this reason, the design of waratah, royal bluebell, pink heath and cooktown orchid – despite their unmistakable delightful forms and colours is a far bigger concept.
“Everything in your life can be flowers, their ability to soothe and vivify at the same time, brings immediate joy…I wanted to create something that people would be proud to take home and gift to friends and family. I felt I had to evoke the Aussie and bush feeling in this design by highlighting living colours that people see when walking in the gardens.”
It’s a fact that humans can perceive a million colours but only remember a fraction of them. Jenny’s use of shadow gives her pieces an auteur like quality, using the imaginative ingredient of shadowing to create three dimensional forms in her designs. Jenny’s appreciation of abstract forms and raised layers of sumptuous silk and linen is expertly balanced to create truly sophisticated design. She combines the colours of dry plants, layering their shadows with living colour to create unique tapestries that elicit strong emotional responses. It is these responses that people never forget, leaving them with a lasting emotional memory full of colour.
“All my rugs are designed by thoughts and experiences, affected by things that have happened to me. There’s pure joy in spending time in nature. My designs tend to be a little organic and open air to translate the impression from cushions to rugs. “
Through her mastery of outback colours, highest knotting quality and intricate hand carving, Jenny has opened up an entire realm of exquisite range. Every angle of her pieces is a work of art, orchestration of light, shadow, form, colour and texture that will continue to evoke recollections and emotions linked with travel, history, culture and nature, from New York to Japan to Zanzibar and Australia.
“Humans worry too much. When you’re feeling sad, seeing a flower and smelling the fragrance immediately brings joy and nothing compares to the beauty of it. Knowing there is a bigger creator, it inevitably transmits that unexplainable and mysterious feeling.”
If that doesn’t answer the question why are humans drawn to flowers, add the fact that flowers go beyond their aesthetic and scent. They give us the license to dream and immerse ourselves in the imaginary with modern research revealing their positive energy help us manage stress and facilitate our sense of happiness and well-being. In a world of daily burdens, nature has always been a pendulum that sparks our memories and heals our emotions.