We believe in sharing joy and happiness wherever we can and our newest design, One Hundred Birds One Hundred Flowers, is so uplifting, we can’t help thinking she will make everyone who sees her feel a little bit lighter and happier.
Inspired by a beautiful pair of hanging scrolls by Japanese painter Suzuki Kiitsu (1796-1858), called One Hundred Animals; One Hundred Birds, an artwork composed of numerous animals and birds, some imaginary, some from far-off lands and some native species, all co-existing in harmony. The bird and animal life are set against a dense blue-green backdrop surrounded by beautiful flowers and foliage.
The bird scroll is in the tradition of China’s Ming Dynasty bird-themed imagery, in which the bird represents divinity, rank, power and beauty. The scroll shows a phoenix with its usual plant partner the Royal Paulownia, a pairing that signifies good luck.
‘How could you not be inspired by this magnificent artwork,’ Wendy says. ‘It is full of colour, meaning, elegance and beauty. Alongside the glorious phoenix are peacocks and pheasants, both of which are combined with specific plants and flowers.
‘The animal scroll seems to be a prayer for good fortune and peace, symbolising a Buddhist paradise. The themes in each, the importance of the natural world, living in harmony, a connection with nature, are all key elements in my designs,’ she explains.
One Hundred Birds One Hundred Flowers’ design is full of life, joy, hope and vitality. A phoenix, symbol of good luck, harmony, peace, balance and prosperity swoops elegantly above a pair of cranes nestled in foliage. Cranes symbolise beauty, harmony and grace, they represent positive change, and the need for balance and living in harmony, while a pair of cranes represents longevity, a happy union and good fortune.
The playful colours, ranging from reds, pinks, orange and lilacs through to aqua, greens, blues, yellow and gold, are beautifully balanced in elegant motifs of swooping and perched exotic birds, slim tree branches, gently waving foliage, and delicate flowers reaching full bloom. There is a sense of stepping into a peaceful, fragrant garden; a place that inspires and at the same time soothes the soul and lifts the spirits.
‘I was working on this design in February last year, and clearly longing for spring and new beginnings,’ Wendy explains. ‘One Hundred Birds One Hundred Flowers is very much a part of our Joyous design story, which we spoke about in our previous journal Looking Ahead. She celebrates playfulness and a story of human optimism, an escape from a digital world, she is full of life.
‘The increased colour palette - I’ve added new blues, lilacs and purples - sit nicely with the fresh greens and gold highlights here, and enhance a sense of life and joy. She is a hand-knotted design composed of an off-white wool base with details in silk, which gives her a beautiful shimmer,’ Wendy says.
‘I added new birds to this design, alongside a few old favourites. I think One Hundred Birds One Hundred Flowers would be perfect in a bright lounge that could showcase her colourful, shimmering silk details. In my mind, the room would be built up with rich, colourful tactile textiles, creating a wonderful escape, somewhere to feel happy and inspired.’
Hand-knotting is a labour-intensive process – you can read about it in more detail in our previous journal Journey of a Hand-knotted - but the results are very special indeed. Our highly skilled artisan workers bring Wendy’s ideas to life, enabling each and every glorious shade to be seen, every motif to stand out and a story of joyful life, a connection with nature and the importance of harmonious living to be told.
Full of colour, a sense of balance is always there, a light and airy feel in the way birds’ wings stretch, leaves sway and petals dance in the breeze. An intricate, expressive design, One Hundred Birds One Hundred Flowers is full of a sense of life new beginnings, but there is a feeling of peace, calm and solace about her, a gentle nurturing of mind and body. We really feel she epitomises our idea of quiet luxury that is made to last - an heirloom rug with a message of hope and positivity designed to span generations. We hope she inspires a sense of optimism and brings joy to you too.