The Burning Rose & Phoenix Chair.
You know, I get the impression that risk taking and being brave has been substituted for accessibility and safety. In this day and age, I think one must fall into one of two categories, brave and courageous, or play it safe. There is an argument for both but I am going to be brave, I am going to rescue the imagination and have a love affair with pattern.
Sometimes, in order to be new, you must destroy what has gone before. So,
as an act of cleansing I decided to set a design on fire.
I took three different scarlet roses. Some were double, some single, but I specifically chose a two-tone rose that is white on the reverse, mainly because it is unusual. Carefully I arranged the roses into a climbing filigree of fresh green leaves on red-tinged stems with precise thorns. Love thorns.
Now to add the flames. Luckily enough I was able to get some great shots
of fire from my log burner! I darkened and scorched the roses where the
flames were, and to create more drama I placed falling petals, both
charred and fresh, at the edges of the design. I particularly enjoyed
digitally painting in orange embers onto these petals.
The entire design is set against ash black that fades to bleached white.
It is incredible how nature will return from devastation with new life and vigour. Since this design is about bravery, I placed over a dozen Clipper butterflies from Asia into a cluster formation. They were all photographed from reality. There are also Gold Finches and Ladybirds. Deep in the design there is a pretty snail, like a little yellow opal. It’s hidden and waiting to be discovered.
Jodie and the Phoenix Chair.
I had the design printed onto a plush cotton velvet, and it looks
fantastic. It’s vivid in colour, the detail is terrific as is the
movement and atmosphere.
Pleased with the design, I realised I needed to have it used for upholstery.
I connected with Jodie McQueen of McQueen Heritage Upholstery in Frome. It is the beginning of a beautiful relationship! Jodie did an incredible job of upholstering a vintage chair frame. Firm and tight, just how I like it.
I was quite specific with Jodie and asked her to make the chair two tone,
like the rose. I had made the design fade from one colour to another.
Jodie did this expertly and seamlessly.
The white arm fades into the rich botanical seat, which fades back into the white arm.
We called it the ‘Phoenix Chair’ because it is about re-birth and metamorphosis.
Deborah & the Phoenix Chair
I like to think I can do anything, but photography is beyond me. There is nothing better than a perfect picture, so there is only one place to go, and that is Deborah Husk. I have never come across a photographer who can deal with both natural and studio light the way Deborah does. What’s more, she is meticulous, and this I really like.
Deborah took really clean shots of the ‘Phoenix Chair’ in white space.
She captured the brilliance of the chair in various positions and
I also wanted some pictures outside of the studio in natural light. We took the chair and found the most incredible open barn nearby in Alton Barnes. The barn was full of vintage machinery and had a floor of dried leaves, but the architecture of the barn was perfect next to the chair and is a great foil.