12 Years And 4 Countries Later… My Flowers Bloomed On Silk

I grew up in Warsaw, a city with many flamboyant parks. Since I can remember, I was fascinated by plants. Flowers were always at home and our balcony was full of geraniums every summer. I was intrigued by the movements of stems in search of light, the fantastic shapes of tulips while getting wilt, peonies stamen forms, the variety of wild flowers’ colours… As a child, I was collecting pieces of plants to study shapes, textures and every single detail of my organic “treasures” (so do I until now). My grandfather taught me all the latin names and the development cycle of each plant from my “collection”. I was already trying to capture these ephemeral beauties in my drawings. Unconsciously, the flora became my infinite repertoire of inspirations and the reason for my second passion - painting and textile designing

Later on, from a big city, I moved to a very picturesque French village surrounded by nature. I started to work with silk and created my first textile designs for scarves. Back then, I couldn't imagine that it would become one of the most important turning point of my life. I was amazed by the intensity of colours on this precious fabric and the way silk diffuses light. From the beginning, I had an appetite for large, organic compositions. In a small atelier in Perros Guirec by La Manche channel, I created my very first scarves entirely by hand.

After Brittany, I moved to Marseille, and later on I came back to Warsaw. While it felt good to be at home, I couldn’t find the right conditions to continue my artistic research with silk. I knew I wanted to create more, but I was not convinced by the final result of hand-painted scarves. As it is often in life, I had to go through different iterations before I started to work with silk for real… It took me 12 years.

In the meantime, I adapted silk painting techniques to Kraft paper, commonly used in packaging as a resistant and biodegradable material. Kraft paper is easy to find in rolls, like a fabric, and is incredibly thin and soft. Strongly inspired by Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts movement and Les Nabis, my decorative panels were characterised by flat surfaces of vibrant colours, sinuous, organic lines and visibly marked outlines to highlight a pure harmony of assembled shapes and colours. I replaced the gutta (a resin liner used to separate colours) with golden Japanese ink and dyes with gouaches. The subject of my creations was always the same - FLOWERS. But the idea of giving life to my organic inspirations through silk never left my mind and became an obsession. I needed to translate my hand-painted projects into living matter.

In 2016, I landed in Lisbon through a scholarship program in Art History. Portugal having one of the strongest textile industries in Europe, I naturally started to explore the different printing techniques. During my research, I become not only conscious about printing possibilities and limitations, but also aware about their impact on the environment. 

The textile industry ranks as the third most water consuming sector worldwide, while printing and dying are a big part of the problem. The digital printing technique was introduced into the fashion industry in the late ‘80s and caused a real revolution. Today, it’s the most sustainable printing technique. 

Compared to the widely used ink and water consuming screen or rotary printing, digital printing only needs the required amount of ink and saves up to 60% of water. Indeed, in analogue, each colour is printed separately. The more diversified the colours are, the more numerous screens must be prepared to become wastes later on. The digital textile printing technique doesn’t require nickel screens, neither transfer paper, as the design is made directly onto the fabric. This is why digital printing gives the opportunity to manufacture short runs and helps avoiding overproduction, while having the liberty to reproduce as many colours and shades as in the original project.

This technique was an obvious choice to give life to my organic creations. Indeed, it preserves the artistic freedom of my hand-painted patterns with all the details while being able to produce exclusive limited series. I finally selected the North of Italy instead of Portugal to manufacture our silk scarves. Como being the cradle of artistic textile printing, it is, as well, known for its fabric quality and traditional manufacturing reliability. After over a decade, my vision became a reality. I could give birth to my first collection of seasonless silk scarves with floral patterns, while respecting the source of my inspiration: our beautiful blooming nature.

Read more →

The benefits of wearing silk all year long (even in winter)

Due to its apparent delicacy and soft texture, silk is often associated with spring and summer seasons. But this light weighted material is also used in clothes and accessories in fall-winter collections. Is silk good in al weather conditions? Even when the temperature start to shrink? 

Known as « the queen of all fabrics », silk is a natural protein fibre obtained from the cocoon of mulberry silkworm larvae. When wearing silk apparels, you don’t need to choose between good looking and comfort. It spells grace and timeless elegance, but… additionally has the ability to regulate your body temperature efficiently. Silk is a perfect insulator for both - cold and hot seasons. In winter, it keeps you warm and cosy, while in summer, it protects you from the heat comfortably.

Thanks to its breathability, lightweight and smoothness, it is ideal to be worn directly on the skin, including by people with very sensitive or allergy prone skin types. Unlike synthetics fabrics, silk fully allows your skin to breathe and help to maintain your body temperature at the right level. It is smooth, delicate in touch, but not slippery as polyester satin (often used in the production of inexpensive silk-like scarves). As a natural material, silk produces and retain moisture on its own and tricks the nervous system into relaxing mode.

Estação Suave editorial for Lisboeta Magazine, photo: Alex Tome (Atome)

 

With its versatility, a silk scarf is a perfect companion, all year long, finding its place in a casual setting, as an accessory for special occasions or as a shiny touch in a business meetings. Moreover, silk is very durable and, thanks to the length of its fibres, one of the strongest natural fabrics. If you take care of your silk scarves and cloths properly, they can last for years or even be passed down from generation to generation. 

Silk scarves, neckerchiefs and twilly from our last season-less collection combine beautiful, bold colours with timeless, floral prints designed by hand. Designed with the modern women in mind, the accessories are versatile and easy to wear, to light up daily apparel and add an effortless chic touch.

 

Estação Suave editorial for Lisboeta Magazine, photo: Alex Tome (Atome)

 

Special note for people with sensitive skin:

The silk, we use to create our scarves and accessories, is certified as GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) and OEKO‑TEX® STANDARD 100, which guarantee the organic origin of our silk and the absence of harmful substance for your skin. 

 

 

Read more →

Floral motifs in textile design through centuries


Floral patterns have appeared in decorative arts since ancient times and play a vital role in the creative processes of fabric production. Inspired by the shapes, colours, and textures of the botanical world, artists and craftsmen from around the globe have copied and interpreted the flora through centuries. 


Brocade, 18th c., Fondazione Antonio Ratti collection

 

Thanks to the scientific expeditions and development of the trade of exotic plants in 17th c., lavishly illustrated herbaria were created and became models for hand embroidery. At this time, we can observe a significant development of gardening and rapidly growing consideration of flowers. Floral still lifes became a popular genre in painting and imitation of natural blooms were applied as the major motifs on fabrics. 

In the 18th c. the flowers remain the main inspiration for patterns and motifs. Designers competed and inspired one another with imaginative combinations of flowers, branches, seedlings, crowns or bouquets creating diversified compositions. All the fabrics that I have seen in the most famous stores in Paris were superb and magnificent for their [...] simplicity, a beautiful selection and a great verisimilitude of the flowers, wrote Nicolas Joubert de l'Hiberderie, author of a handbook for the textile designers. In that period, a flower also means a new fabric. This shared terminology shows that the fashion and flowers were henceforth joined in the textile industry. 

Italian brocade, 1749 – 1760, Fondazione Antonio Ratti collection

 

Towards the half of the century, the exuberance of the 1730s gave ways to more calligraphic forms and delicate colours. The characteristic curves of nature define the stylised floral shapes and become compositional standards in the so-called meander drawings. Meawhile, advances in chemical knowledge of the process of dyeing (summarised in 1763 in Art de teinture en soie), provided the textile industry with new colours, enhancing the ability to simulate the chromatic variety of the vegetal kingdom.  

In the second half of the 19th c. the Industrial Revolution had led to high levels of standardisation with mass production, considered by many to be of low quality and dubious aesthetic value. The floral decoration was wide-spread in Western Europe, following a new romantic model of femininity. The spread of printed floral illustrations and advances in technology allowed a wide variety of decorative solutions in the textile industry.

Project of floral motif, 1895-96, Chavent Père & Fils, Fondazione Antonio Ratti collection

 

The Arts&Crafts movement and Art Nouveau rejected the growing mechanisation and aimed to preserve the beauty of art and handicraft. In both tendencies the flowers are a predominant element.

Through the centuries, the patterns were strongly influenced by the limitations of textile ennobling, dyeing and printing. The first successful method of transferring designs to textiles was that of wood-block printing, introduced in Europe in 17th c. This could produce detailed designs, but required the preparation of individual blocks to print each colour separately. Smaller areas of colour were often hand-painted. The introduction of manual screen printing in 1930s rapidly occupied a prominent place in the production of printed textiles. But a revolutionary transformation came with the Digital Textile Printing introduced to the fashion industry in the late 1980s.

Project of floral motif, 1924, Chavent Père & Fils, Fondazione Antonio Ratti collection
While we have seen big trends come and go, floral applications and prints were always timeless. Until today, the kingdom of flowers, with its diversity of colours and shapes, continues to inspire fashion designers and textile creators.

 

Bibliography:

The Metropolitan Museum of Arthttps://www.metmuseum.org

Victoria & Albert Museum, https://www.vam.ac.uk

Fondazione Antonio Ratti, https://fondazioneratti.org

The Mint Museum, https://mintmuseum.org/

Drusilla Cole, Un siècle de motifs (2009)

Giardini de Seta, tessuti, abiti e botanica del territorio lariano, Fondazione Antonio Ratti (2015)

Images:

All the presented textiles are from the FAR collection.

 

Read more →

Blooming Wallpapers & Tondi by Weronika Anna Rosa

Weronika Anna Rosa has always been inspired by Japanese aesthetics, Art Nouveau and the Italian Renaissance. In her works, she combines gold and bold colours seen in the streets of Lisbon.

[article translated from "Weranda" magazine]

Floral pattern designing by Weronika Anna Rosa in her art studio in Lisbon

It started…

...in my childhood. I grew up in a family with traditions related to natural science and art. From an early age, I have been observing nature with my grandparents and preparing herbariums with dry plants. My parents used to take me to museums, theaters, and operas. For as long as I can remember, I have been painting.

After graduating from high school, I went to France. In Marseille, I attended classes at the Academy of Fine Arts, and in Brittany, I studied the Japanese art of silk painting. Strongly marked outlines that can be found in my works come from this experience. I paint the contours with golden Japanese ink - this technique is inspired by the guta, a resin liner used in painting on silk to separate colours.

Gold…

...it is strongly present in Japanese aesthetics. It's a way to play between the visible and the invisible. Gold is rich and noble, but it is used in a minimised way. The golden elements are not strongly accentuated. They remain in the shadow until they magically appear through light rays, glowing differently through different angles. This is not the only Japanese inspiration in my works. In the last wallpapers collection - Tondi Fiori, I used the circle shape. When creating the collection, I was inspired by the Italian Renaissance tondo (a painting or a bas-relief in the shape of a circle), but also by the aesthetics of the Land of the Rising Sun, where the circle symbolises harmony. The central point is a golden semi-matte medallion with a floral composition inscribed in it. For half a year I was looking for a manufacture that would have a golden substrate with a refined texture of fine sand, shimmering only when the light shines on it, bringing a lively theatrical effect.

Golden art wallpaper with white flowers - wall decor

I paint plants...

...because I have been always fascinated with their natural beauty. Plants are patient and do not get tired like a living model. You can watch them for hours, touch them. One of my favorite flowers are tulips. They fade beautifully - their petals and stalks bend, as if they were dancing. Flemish still lifes from the 17th and 18th centuries show it wonderfully. But there are plenty other flowers I love, especially anemones and lilacs - that I fondly miss in Lisbon.

Lisbon…

I have been living here for over four years and this city constantly inspires me. It is extremely luminous and full of colour thanks to the azulejos, the tiles that surround the facades of the houses. It dared me to use stronger colours that people in Poland or France are not used to. I mainly paint flowers, and here there is always something blooming all year round, even in winter almonds or camellias.

I came to Portugal thanks to a scholarship in art history and Lisbon completely charmed me. This is also where my adventure with serious painting began. During my first individual exhibition, I nearly sold every painting I hung. It was a true reality check and a good reason to devote myself to painting, completely.

Tulips decorative painting by polish botanical artist Weronika Anna Rosa

The idea to design wallpapers ...

...matured in my head for a long time. The format of my paintings (high and narrow panels) refers to wall decorations from the Art Nouveau period. But only in Lisbon the idea became a reality. During one of the exhibitions, I met Xavier Bellot, today my business partner, with who I developed my textile and wallpaper collections.
I am deeply inspired by the artistic trends of the late 19th century, especially the Arts & Crafts movement and Art Nouveau. Their purpose was to create functional, but also beautiful objects. Beyond utility, I want my wallpapers, murals and tondi to bring a visual delight. Recently, I have taken another step towards applied art by creating patterns for my silk scarves.
Artful wall decor with flowers water lilies, golden wallcovering, circular wallpaper for modern interiors

All my works ...

...are designed by hand. First, I sketch the entire composition on paper, fill it with colours using gouache, and then scan it. Next, the drawings are cleaned on a computer. But not too much, because I want to keep the handicraft aspect of my projects. I edit all my wallapapers under limited editions only. I care to retain their artistic character and uniqueness.

Conversation with Weronika Anna Rosa by Agnieszka Wójcińska

Weronika Anna Rosa working on floral botanical painting
Read more →