Tuesday, 22 March 2005

A passion for paper!

I used to make handmade paper as a hobby, then started making paper products, which resulted in me moving from Johannesurg and starting my own Handmade Paper & Product Design business in Cape Town, which I had for 5 years. I loved it. I employed ladies from informal settlements close by, taught them the necessary skills required in paper, cracker and card making and this humanitarian part of my business was a huge boon for me. In employing 15 people, one supports about 100 mouths! I felt very privileged to be able to be in the position to help others.

We recycled waste paper to make handmade paper in various colours and sizes and used recycled supplies to make our handmade products. I have a screenprinted range of designs, mostly of animal designs in an ethnic styalised flavour, plus have a natural range of cards, which makes use of natural elements only - wheat, lavender, shells, grasses, seeds, tea bags, feathers etc.

- Screenprinted elephant ~ Jenniflower
Screenprinted elephant ~ Jenniflower

We supplied curio shops, corporate events, galleries, a national retail chain etc. with greeting cards - ranging from wildlife, to wire, to natural -, plus designed wedding stationery, made wine bags and boxes, ethnic Christmas crackers for safari lodges and hotels and of course, handmade paper.... lots and lots of it!!! Using onion skins, natural dyes, husks of mealies etc. one can create the most incredible papers. We made different weights and sizes, all with a deckle-edge.

- Wire pram greeting card ~ Jenniflower
Wire pram greeting card ~ Jenniflower

- Leaf card ~ Jenniflower
Leaf card ~ Jenniflower

I make all kinds of designs in wire... from dolphins to elephants to prams to ships. It's a versatile and tactile medium. I love making them.. albeit the hand cramp I get after the 1000th one or so ;)

- Greeting card ~ Jenniflower
Greeting card ~ Jenniflower

This invitation was our own. It is essentially a three-fold handmade paper (with wheat as texture) invite, with the text printed straight onto it, tied with some raffia, a stem of wheat popped on for effect, and sealed with a wax paw :)

Making wedding stationery is very personal, and I am unlike wedding shops that just churn them out. I take an avid interest in the bride and groom (especially the bride), and make invites that mirror their personalities and theme of their big day. The invite sets the tone for the upcoming wedding.

- Our own wedding invite ~ Jenniflower
Our own wedding invite ~ Jenniflower

- Wedding invite ~ Jenniflower
Wedding invite for friends, Valerie and Moise ~ Jenniflower

This photo shows the type of bead earrings I make ~ I really enjoy making jewellery, generally ethnic in style, using wooden and metal beads.

- Bead earrings ~ Jenniflower
Bead earrings ~ Jenniflower

Remember, EVERYTHING starts with a dream, an idea... so never underestimate your capabilities. You CAN touch your dream, and make it a reality :)

Art in my life

- Wire flower ~ Jenniflower
Wire flower ~ Jenniflower
Ever since I was a bolshy little tomboy of a girl, I have wanted to paint. Create with my hands from my heart. I always said that when I grew up I wanted to be an art teacher or a full-time artist. I have fulfilled both those dreams, and am still dreaming...

I don't believe we are given our specific talents and desires (whether it's artistic, musical, mathematical, being a farmer or an astronaut!) for no reason. We are meant to use them productively, and if we can use them to benefit others in some way, all the better! :) I have always loved to express myself through my art and I hope to continue to do so the rest of my life.

- The African Boy ~ Jenniflower
The African Boy ~ Jenniflower


Born and bred in sunny and turbulent South Africa, I have a deep love and respect for her diverse cultures and fascinating heritage. She is a fundamental part of my life, and I try to encounter her in all her beauty, tragedy, glory and stark reality in my work, whether with a paintbrush, pliers or my bare hands.

The African Boy is an all-time favourite painting. I was a young sprite when I did it. I photographed a young boy at my mum's nursery school, and added in the sugarcane and the styalised birds etc. He speaks of pain and uncertainty, and is questioning what's going on around him. This is symbolic of what was going on in South Africa at the time (early 1990's) ~ young kids couldnt understand what was essentially an unanswerable question.

I qualified as a Graphic Designer at Wits Technikon, Johannesburg (now called the University of Johannesburg), in 1995. I studied Art History, Marketing, Illustration, Drawing, Black & White Photography, Advertising, Conceptual Studies, Technical Drawing and Printing. My art and designs are of varying styles, themes and genre.

- The Roman Man ~ Jenniflower
The Roman Man ~ Jenniflower

I thoroughly enjoy painting and drawing... most often starting off with an inspiration and not being too sure of what the finished product will look like! I like to get my hands messy and get 100% involved. ie: The phone's taken off the hook / turned OFF! lol I think all artists do! :) I have a drawing of the head of this leopard too.

- The leopard ~ Jenniflower
The leopard ~ Jenniflower

I enjoy painting layer over thick layer of oil paint, combined with found objects. One painting I did in 1997 took ONE whole year to dry... I had literally used the tube of paint as the paintbrush, and used alot of 'found' objects, things that people throw away... It was brilliant. I loved the whole process.