Art Meets Science

Kew Gardens has to be one of my most favourite places in the world. I've exhibited, visited and painted in the gardens but up until this point I have never stepped foot inside the Library. However the Arts Council supported project 'Botanical Bentley' has provided the perfect excuse to delve into the archive! This week I had the great pleasure of browsing Kew's Art Collection

Below is a sample of some of the exquisite botanical illustrations that I cam across during my visit. All by women artists from the late 18th / early 19th century, these detailed drawings and annotations have been beautifully painted in ink and watercolour. It must have required great concentration to create such accurate illustrations - the detail is completely fantastic. And I can only imagine how exciting it would have been to study a species entirely new to man! This was the time, of course, when the world was discovering exotic plants from around the world and 'Britain was in the full grip of a plant obsession'. These artists were responsible for capturing essential information that ensured that the each plant was categorised correctly, which was such an important role and easily be forgotten when admiring the beauty of these works of art.

Images reproduced with kind permission of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Arts council supports Bryony&Bloom project

In February I received the wonderful news that Arts Council England had decided to fund my project 'Botanical Bentley' through their Grants in Aid scheme. Since then I have been working very closely with Bentley Priory Museum to deliver the creative project, delving into their collection and exploring the building to discover botanical symbols and floral motifs that form part of the site's heritage. Whilst the Museum primarily tells the story of the Battle of Britain, the building and surrounding grounds have a rich history beyond World War Two. Through 'Botanical Bentley', I shine a spotlight on how the landscape gardens changed according to fashions of the 18th and 19th century. I also examine the use of floral symbols in military uniform and medals.

I absolutely adore researching new projects! It gives me an excuse to focus on intriguing details often overlooked and it can be a very inspiring to re-examine the familiar with fresh eyes. Here are just a few snaps from my first site visit:

Exhibiting at Heimtextil 2016

Thanks to Bryony’s designs I think I have created one of the most beautiful exhibition stands.”
— Elke Fabian, Head of Events at Epson Europe

2016 got off to a brilliant start here, kicking off with a major collaboration with digital print technology giants Epson Europe at Heimtextil. As the biggest international trade fair for home and contract textiles, Heimtextil sets the global benchmark for quality textiles of design and innovative functionality, so it was extremely exciting to be there for a second year running with Epson! The project brief was to create a collection of designs that would work across multiple surfaces, demonstrating the high quality, incredible detail and vast number of ways in which the latest range of Epson printers are able to capture works of art designed for interior spaces.

The resulting designs were created from the oil painting {COWPARSELY HEDGEROW} before being transformed into fresh, inviting textiles, wallpapers, lighting, table ware and furniture. It certainly brought a burst of Spring to the trade show!

Studying Magnolias

Magnolias are one of my favourite plants, providing one of the first flashes of colour each Spring without fail. I adore their sculptural blooms and the creamy whites, soft pinks and rich purples of their petals. The branches, too, create beautiful arching shapes that are wonderful to draw.

I spent a lovely afternoon over Easter sketching at Kew Gardens with fellow artist Jess Biggs, and we spent a large portion of that time studying the magnolias in Kew's arboretum. The next step now is to prep some canvases and start painting from these images and my sketches... 

Apparently, magnolias are one of the oldest flowering plants on their planet. Or so says The Plant Man. They're also pretty easy to grow, even if you're not particularly green fingered, so I would encourage anyone with the space to plant at least one in the garden. They never fail to inspire! It's my dream one day to create a magnolia walk in my garden, how wonderful would that be?



Heimtextil with Epson Europe

In January 2015 I exhibited a collection of my designs throughout the Epson Europe stand. Wallpapers, curtains, seating, lighting, cushions and tote bags were adorned with designs from the Woodland Stag, Hemsted Catkins and Lichen Blue collections. It was an extraordinary experience - Heimtextil is incredible! - and the response to my oil painting surface pattern designs was brilliant. Thanks for having me Epson!