For far too long, carnations have been relegated to the bargain bin, often considered a cheap or tacky choice for a bouquet. But thanks to a new wave of floral artists and now, The Carnation zine, the bloom is having its biggest revival since the ’80s and is enjoying its rightful place in the sun.
The Carnation zine celebrates flowers and travel
Locally, the flower has inspired the name of a zine self-published by Cape Town creatives Jade Paton and Cynthia Fan. Inspired equally by flowers and by travel, The Carnation’s first issue is themed ‘Japan’. In it, Jade’s film photographs from a recent trip are suitably paired with floral compositions taking their cue from ikebana, the Japanese art of floral arranging.
Cynthia studies ikebana with the Ohara Chapter in Cape Town and counts the discipline as the strongest influence on her work as a florist. She has been working at Lush Flowers for the past year since completing her Master’s degree in plant molecular biology. It was here that she met Jade, whose florist parents (and owners of Lush Flowers) stoked her love for blooms growing up. The Carnation is just one of Jade’s various creative projects, her main focus being House of Grace, a macrame homeware and furniture company that she started.
Although Jade and Cynthia both work in creative industries, The Carnation fulfils their needs for greater creative freedom. ‘With our zine,’ they say, ‘we took on almost all aspects of the process ourselves, to ensure that our vision was as undiluted as possible.’
The pair aim to release new issues of The Carnation quarterly and are currently working on their second issue in collaboration with photographer Ané Strydom. Each issue will feature the work of a different artist, which will influence the floral compositions they create.
The Carnation launches at the AKJP Collective concept store at 73 Kloof Street, Cape Town, on 2 February at 6pm. Alongside the first issue of the zine, there will be The Carnation x AKJP printed T-shirts and a limited number of photo prints available. Jade and Cynthia will also be taking over the AKJP window with a new flower installation every day for the first 10 days of February.
The layout of the zine is designed by Chocolate Studio.
How did the idea for The Carnation come about?
We started by playing around with still-life compositions and realised that we shared a similar aesthetic. The compositions had a strong oriental influence, which led us to pair them up with Jade’s film photos taken during her trip to Japan. The process was very organic and through collaboration, one thing quickly led to another. Working with someone that totally gets your ideas is great, as we are able to enhance and clarify them.
What can we expect in the first issue?
In the first issue, we have paired Jade’s travel photographs with floral still lifes. Jade was inspired by the serene aspect of everyday life in Japan: the buildings, suburban streets and homes. Japanese culture has a sense of order and the people are very reserved and calm. Naturally, the practice of ikebana suited this.
How is contemporary floral design evolving?
We are inspired by a movement in the younger generation of florists to embrace and reinvent what are considered to be kitsch and dated floral styles. Flowers such as carnations and babies’ breath have made a comeback and what was seen as ‘bad taste’ is now celebrated. Floristry is going beyond the commercial realm and we are seeing a lot of contemporary and innovative work.
Where do you find inspiration for your floral designs?
The primary source of our inspiration is social media, as well as retro-floristry books. Often, natural elements that we come across influence the direction of our compositions.
Contact The Carnation via Instagram to arrange to have a copy mailed to you locally or internationally.