The Meet the Collection series is back! This week we are profiling the intricate hydrangea pattern called Flora.
Since moving to Colombia I have lived in both Medellín and Bogotá and traveled all over the place. If there is one constant, it is the hydrangea flower. They grow everywhere! There are pinks, blues, purples, whites and greens. It's no wonder they developed a pattern in El Carmen to commemorate this gorgeous mainstay that is so present in Colombian gardens and backyards.
I had the opportunity to sit down with the artist who designed it, the famed José Ignacio Vélez, of El Carmen de Viboral, who told me a bit about the inspiration and how the final design came into being. Below we have a few photos and a video (so cool!).
Flora is inspired by hydrangeas, which are found all over Colombia. And of all the eight patterns Azulina currently sells, it takes the artisans the longest to paint: up to 10 times longer than the mono-color patterns we carry, like Clásico and Rojo.
José Ignacio has been living in El Carmen for over 25 years and he considers developing new patterns as a high priority, remarking that it "is a responsibility that I have taken on in order to create new opportunities for the development of this high-valued cultural experience." He is inspired to revolutionize the local pottery industry so that the modern world will recognize their art and culture.
José Ignacio chose to create a hydrangea pattern, of all the thousands of species of flowers that are in Colombia, because "hydrangeas hold a special place in the hearts of the people from eastern Antioquia [where El Carmen is located]. Colombia is a country that cultivates flowers, and hydrangeas are some of our favorites. They grow easily in our orchards and are a strong part of our memories."
The painting process involves four different painting steps, starting with the application of the light blue flower petals. Each petal is painted, one by one, free-hand. Once the first application has dried the darker blue is then applied, with the brush starting its stroke at the outer part of the flower and moving inwards, to create dimension. The video details this step (scroll all the way to the bottom of the post).
As José Ignacio puts it, "there is a superposition of color and multiple random, expressive brushstrokes that eventually create the subtle, vital expression of the [hydrangea] flower."
Next are the green leaves and the darkened center of the flower...the pistil/stigma/stamen. Let's just call it the center of the flower. The centers of the flowers are then painted, in each and every flower, followed by the green leaf accents.
During each step the painter quickly brushes a new contrasting color on top of another, and after finalizing these mini details you can start to see the hydrangea flowers come to life. The end product is a beautiful blue-purple color that is lush and delicate at the same time.
A big thank you to José Ignacio for sharing a bit of his time with us! Muchas, muchas gracias!
To see our entire Flora collection and to place an order, please visit our online store: Flora Collection
Con Mucho Amor,
Founder, Azulina Ceramics