The Making of Moonlit Garden: A 2019 Calendar, pt. 1
I'm so excited to finally share with you all a project that has been in the works for the past several months and even years:
a 2019 Wall Calendar:
Here's a description of this calendar's theme, as told on the back cover:
A late-night stroll through the moonlit garden reveals lush and mysterious flowers whose beauty is most fully displayed long after the sun sets. Some blooms, including the exotic cereus, only open at night. Others, like the Japanese wisteria, are known for their intoxicating fragrance which only grows stronger during the evening hours. These romantic florals celebrate the mysterious beauty of a garden under the moonlight.
To tell the story of this calendar, I have to include a bit of my own personal story, because the two are intertwined. If you're interested, pull up a chair and have a read.
The Making of our 2019 Calendar
I first became intrigued by the idea of night gardens and night-blooming flowers back in January of 2015. I had just finished an incredibly grueling semester studying and teaching, and found myself completely burned out, both creatively and emotionally. Because of my busy schedule I hadn't had time to properly explore my creative ideas, and as a result, I started feeling like these ideas were slipping away from me. An entire semester without space to pursue my art left me feeling drained, purposeless, resentful, and stuck. A bad combo, indeed!
In January and February, Chinese New Year came and brought with it several weeks of break from my normal schedule, allowing me to rest a bit and finally get back into drawing. As any creative knows, the process of making things is like an exercise: you need to flex that muscle in order to keep it strong. Without any creative practice over the last few months, I'd found that my work didn't come as easily as it once had. Producing a drawing was frustrating, it felt less like leisure and more like work. Despite the frustration, I felt a new resolve stirring up in me, a determination to create, to make it happen. I promised myself I would never again lose sight of my creative goals.
It was during this time that I started researching various flowers to draw, and I came across the night-blooming cereus. It was the first night-blooming flower I'd studied and I was entranced.
There seemed to me something especially poetic about a flower that opens at night, spreads its aroma, attracts moths and hummingbirds, and reflects the moon's glow, but then closes up in the wee hours of the morning. I felt a certain connection to the resilience of the night-blooming flower and the mental and creative process I found myself walking through. All flowers inspire me in the way they share their simple beauty with the world, but these flowers spoke to me of determination, steadfastness. They spoke to me of making it work in an unorthodox way. They gave me the boost I needed to fight for my dreams as an artist even when I felt like they were out of reach.
During those few weeks of rest, before launching into a new semester, I sketched the night-blooming cereus, the Japanese wisteria, the night gladiolus, the midnight primrose and the night phlox, among others. I read articles from gardening experts about the fascinating properties of these flowers. I collected photos and botanical illustrations, creating a huge folder of resources about these plants.
Moving ahead to 2018: the determination I learned several years ago regarding my creative goals has stuck with me. It is what led me to re-brand and launch Root & Branch Paper Co. in February of 2018. Some of the illustrations I created during those months have actually made their way into my first collection of greeting cards! I reworked two illustrations to create our Hey Thanks! and our With Love cards, which are both still available in our shop.
Creating the Moonlit Garden
In the late spring of this year, I started thinking ahead about themes for a 2019 calendar. I came up with several ideas until I suddenly remembered my night blooming flowers series. And in that moment, it seemed obvious what our calendar theme would be.
Starting in May, I began to dig back through my old sketchbooks to find my early drawings in the very first days of researching night-bloomers. I used these drawings as a point of departure for the pages, and included several more flowers (as well as a few insects!) that I discovered along the way.
Creating this calendar truly has been a labor of love. I'm so thrilled to be able to share it with you today. In the second part of this blog, I'm going a bit more in-depth about the production of these calendars, and I'll be sharing a big mistake I made along the way. I hope you can take the time to read it! Find Pt. 2 here
Moonlit Garden: a 2019 Calendar is available for purchase now!
These calendars are also available for wholesale, so if you're a retailer interested in carrying these in your shop or boutique, please let me know.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to catch the rest of the story in Part 2 of this blog, here.