“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”
ACT II Scene II
William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet.
It’s a beautiful, warm, sunny spring afternoon and pots of tea are flowing. Shaded by our sun umbrella, a warm breeze floats through the garden palms, birds happily tweeting and buzzing around. It is the perfect setting to be spending the afternoon with Cornwall’s very own Jess Harrington, professional plaster artist and horticulturalist.
With her carefree, natural curly hair and relaxed bohemian air, she starts to discuss her work with enthusiasm that is utterly infectious. Her passion for horticulture, the beauty and formation that lives within it, is evident. She is a true artist and creator.
Jess has found the perfect way to encapsulate her love of horticulture and the outdoors through the medium of plaster. To preserve flowers and plants in amazing detail showing their extraordinary beauty within a simple tile.
Jess’s work has evolved from years (15 to be precise) of the study and practice of gardening and horticulture. The creation of Botanical Tiles was born after much experimentation within Jess’s very own kitchen. Mrs Harrington makes plaster casts of plants and flowers that display all of their wonder, texture and delicacy in exquisite detail.
‘Each tile is a one-off’, she says. When asked if she would ever consider making moulds to mass produce, her nose wrinkles up, her shoulders drop and her enthusiasm wavers momentarily. ‘No, I couldn’t do that’, she says. ‘My work is all about individuality. I love the spontaneity of creating an individual piece. I try to create the feeling of being immersed in nature. Anyway, I don’t keep any moulds or copies, my work is unique.’
Jess offers a wonderful service, she makes beautiful tiles made from wedding floral bouquets, an idea we love here at Dotty Vintage Weddings. The first time I’ve heard of this sort of service personally. What a novel keepsake from a wedding day. Her product list rolls on, from wedding gifts, small tiles for favours, special flowers from a loved garden or even from a funeral, the possibilities are endless.
It’s clear she really notices the intricacies of plants, flowers and grasses. She is inspired by the seasons, local wildlife, the floras and fauna of our magical North Cornish coastline, selecting cultivar plant forms in her own words.
When we remark on her obvious talent and detailed eye, she modestly corrects us by outlining its Mother Nature’s truly amazing talent with the natural world that holds the secret.
Jess Harrington’s botanical creations reflect her desire to capture the ephemeral. She likes to leave parts of the plants that adhere themselves to the plaster. They take on a sepia appearance like a vintage photo, a beautiful impression in abstract form, each tile a memory of a wonderful day or a summers day in the garden.