Homegirl London pays homage to Blooming Bryony Designs (has since changed company name to Byrony & Bloom). This business was set up by oil painter Bryony who transforms her art onto joyful homeware to brighten up our environment. She digitally prints her paintings onto cushions, drum lampshades, limited edition wall prints, bone china mugs, stationery notebooks, cards and gift wrap. Her work captures and celebrates wild nature which she finds in locations from Tobago to Zanzibar, Greece and back home in Britain. She’s drawn to flowers pushing through concrete, pavement weeds, road side verges and lichen on trees alongside lush tropical plants found overgrowing on abandoned buildings. Her style plays with the juxtaposition of formal patterns with organic shapes, bold colours and delicate lines. Aside from her home accessories, Bryony is known for her hand painted wall murals and also offers a bespoke furnishing service for clients. I caught up with this artist to find out more about Blooming Bryony Designs.
Woodland Stag Cushion
Meet the Blooming Bryony Designs Owner
The person behind this brand is Bryony Benge-Abbott who is a one woman business – “I wear all the hats at the moment. I’m the artist, director, designer, project manager, administrator, you name it and I do it all!” Before launching her business in August 2013, Bryony undertook a foundation course at the Kent Institute of Art and Design in 2002. The next stop was studying Fine Art at undergraduate level at Bath Spa University in 2003 where the magic started to happen. Bryony explains – “I really began to develop my own style, finding that I was particularly drawn to working with oil paints and playing with the layering of botanical patterns. I was very much inspired by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement.”
Aside from the art education, Bryony also has an MA in Museology from the University of East Anglia. She tells me – “This has enabled me to work across the museum sector on a variety of temporary exhibition projects. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with organisations such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Trust, the Wellcome Collection, The Women’s Library, the William Morris Gallery and the Black Cultural Archives. These roles have helped to hone strong project management, curatorial and creative design skills that are now benefiting my work in a holistic way.”
Lichen Dreams Lampshades
Bryony explains how the business venture came about – “The ‘Blooming Bryony seed’ was planted whilst I was travelling in Kenya during 2011. I was actually on a work placement at the Nairobi National Museum but I also explored smaller museums along the coast and next to the Ugandan border. The visit itself was fascinating but what struck me the most was the diversity of plant life across the different landscapes. I was mesmerised by the colours, abundance and variety of African flora and kicked myself for not packing any pencils or paints! I was also inspired by the work of Kenyan environmental activist, Wangari Maathai, who passed away in the first week of my placement. The country entered a state of mourning and it was through her obituaries that I learned about her passion for and commitment to the environment; I was completely bowled over by her achievements.”
Prague Peacocks Greeting Cards
On return to the UK Bryony became focused on painting nature, she elaborates – “I was interested in finding a way to celebrate the wilderness around me. I found myself drawn to abandoned meadows, flowers pushing through concrete, lichen on trees and road side verges. These were all things I had previously taken for granted or overlooked. Around the same time I discovered the saying ‘bloom where you’re planted’ which influenced the company name. It was during my trip to Kenya that I discovered my desire to celebrate the abundance and diversity of wild nature and the urge to share it with others.”
Tobagan Hummingbird Drum Lampshades
To kick start the business, Bryony took out a School for Startups loan to get her company up and running in Kent with a relocation to London a bit later. She reveals – “I used the loan to take my first collection to Top Drawer London (trade exhibition) where I won the ‘Best Selected Exhibitor’ award. This was my first trade show so I was greatly encouraged to bloom!”
Blooming Bryony Designs Collection
Bryony’s design focus is all about bringing the outside inside. She elaborates – “I believe that home accessories should create a statement and that joyful homeware can lift and transform environments. My work begins life as an original oil painting and my style plays with the juxtaposition of formal patterns with organic shapes, bold colours and delicate lines. Each product starts life as a piece of art which involves numerous layers of oil paints so sometimes the process can last for months. It really is a labour of love!”
Ithacan Mountainside Stationery Notebooks
The oil paintings are then applied to surfaces to make home accessories. Bryony explains – “I work with British manufacturers who offer the latest in digital print technology to bring my work alive on homeware products and stationery. At the moment, my collection includes cushions, drum lampshades, gift wrap, greeting cards and limited edition prints. I’m just about to add wall covering and furnishing fabrics very soon so watch this space!”
Ithacan Mountainside Gift Wrap
The key to Bryony’s work is her love of wild and untamed nature. What’s apparent, is that she is very much an outdoor person who is lucky enough to explore new places around the globe. Her work celebrates the world’s flora and fauna for you to enjoy in your own home. From Britain, to Greece and from Tobago to Zanzibar, she captures the magic with an oil painting.
Paradise Flower Cushion
Here’s a snapshot of Bryony’s exquisite designs. Tobagan Hummingbird captures the beautiful bird zipping between exotic flowers. Stone Town Colours is based on a visit to the East African island of Zanzibar which includes the vibrant flora and a weathered building which was overtaken by tropical plants. Ithacan Mountainside focuses on a meadow growing on the tiny Greek island. The Prague Peacock range features peacocks Bryony watched roaming around the grounds of a 17th-century palace in Prague. Woodland Stag celebrates the deer spotted at the grounds of Hampton Court Palace on an atmospheric cold and misty morning.
Buy Blooming Bryony Designs Products
You can buy all the products from bryonyandbloom.com. To give you an idea about price points for the products – Cushions £49, Drum Lampshades £65-129, Limited Edition Prints £65-129 and Stationery is £2.50-9. The new wallpapers will be £120 per roll and the fabric £70 per metre. Products can be shipped overseas. Bryony also offers a bespoke furnishing service for clients looking for one-off statement pieces or whole room concepts. This involves creating a collection of unique oil paintings, which are then transformed into a bespoke design that can be applied to a multitude of surfaces. These could be anything from wall coverings to mosaics, furnishing fabrics to glass panels, lighting and even tableware. This service involves sourcing the materials, overseeing manufacturing and undertaking final installation.
Author: Homegirl London. Photographs: BBD. Thanks: Bryony.