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Native Australian Flora

November 10, 2008

As a result of researching Medieval Mille Fleur tapestries, which exhibit a random pattern comprised of clumps of flowering plants as a backdrop to a narrative scene, I am exploring Australian Native Flora as possible motifs for a repeat pattern in a similar, yet different way.

The Cooktown Orchid (Dendrobium phalaenopsis) has been Queensland’s Floral Emblem since 19 November 1959. In preparation for Queensland’s centenary, the government sought advice on a native species only found in Queensland which could be easily grown and was decorative, distinctive and close to the State’s colour, maroon. A public poll held by the Courier Mail newspaper voted in the Cooktown Orchid ahead of the Red Silky Oak and Poinsettia (which is Brisbane’s Floral Emblem).

The Cooktown Orchid is generally a deep pink but varies from pinkish-mauve to lavender or purple and sometimes almost white. It has a broad face and delicate presence, an attribute shared amongst the orchid family.

In my working designs, I don’t want to be literal and create yet another ‘floral wallpaper or textile’, instead, I want to draw meaning from the motif in relation to its resulting medium. I want to consider it in terms of its previous representation – whether cross-stitched, embroidered, hand drawn as a botanical study, printed on paper or fabric, dissected and reconstructed. I am particularly interested in traversing the expected with designs that are cross-stitched as wallpaper prints and large areas of block colour which look smooth and flat translated as woven textiles.

Within this though, I am keeping my focus on commercial application and the aesthetic parameters of a design such as this.

Below are several beautiful images of some of our native flora or flora which has been brought in and thrived in our climate. Most of the images were sourced here and include from L to R, top to Bottom: Blue Pincushion, Vic; Cooktown Orchid; Donkey Orchid, WA; Flannel Flower; Kangaroo Paw, WA; Grevillea Polybractea, NSW; Cooktown Orchid; Isotoma Armstrongil, NSW; and another Flannel Flower.

The coming week will see more exploration of this design series.

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