Art is a powerful tool for awareness and expression.
For surface pattern designer Alessandra “Alessa” Lanot and illustrator Raxenne Maniquiz, love and passion for nature inspired them to feature and incorporate various wild plants and animals into their artwork.
In partnership with International Fine Paper Exchange (IFEX) Philippines and Pulp and Pigment, these two designers unveiled their 2023 seasonal collection on September 2, 2022 and talked about their inspiration and creative process for this project.
Alessa Lanot, maker of handmade watercolor tools and creative consultant, is the woman behind Life After Breakfast PH, “a creative studio that promotes everyday creativity through watercolor patterns, creative tools ‘handmade art and creative workshops’. It is a documentation of his work and his life after breakfast – his favorite meal of the day.
“Do you talk to yourself too?” Lanot asked the public during the product launch. Many smiled and nodded in agreement while others responded with a resounding “yes”.
She agreed with them and went on to say, “What is the tone of that voice in your head when you talk to yourself? Is it a kind voice, a pressure voice, a strict voice? »
Lanot continued, “I only realized a few years ago that the way and tone that I spoke to myself was so difficult. It was a harsh tone of voice.
While her inner voice was already affecting her daily life, she made a conscious effort to spend more time in nature.
“I started looking for time in nature; time to be more consciously in nature, whether it’s just an hour a day or if I could spend more time outdoors. When I’m able to go on a trip, that’s when I can disconnect from the system or from work, or even when I’m working, but still grounded and connected to nature. Because it’s when I retreat into nature that I’m reminded to slow down, be calm, and be present. It reminds me that things take time.
This was the inspiration for her new paper collection, “At Your Own Pace”, which reminds us that we all have different deadlines. It emphasizes the importance of self-care, personal growth and appreciation of nature in everyday life.
The collection includes 12 plants and flowers that are traditionally used as teas or herbal remedies in the Philippines.
On why she chose herbal teas, Lanot explained, “I think tea is not celebrated enough in our country. There are no special tea ceremonies or gatherings. Traditionally, in our culture, we simply seek them out for their herbal remedies rather than social events.
“It could be an integral part of our daily lives, as we may already have some in our backyards or around the neighborhood. It could therefore be very well integrated into our lives. Some people may simply be reminded to use them.
The collection includes desk calendars, desk pad planners, gift wrap and dated notebook planners.
Inside the 2023 planner, each month has a corresponding flower or leaf that can be used to make tea. It also comes with stickers, coupons, affirmations, and journal prompts for some self-care activities.
Some of the plants featured are Guava Fruits for August, Blue Ternates for September, Camote Tops for October, and Marigolds for December.
All products have a QR code that takes you to the Pulp and Pigment website, where you can access recipes and instructions for making teas, smoothies, cookies, and more.
All illustrations in the collection have been hand painted. The artist’s favorite medium is watercolor because according to her, “it’s as close as possible to painting with real pigment, and the pigment is made of earth, earth…”
The “At Your Own Pace” theme also aligns with the watercolor painting process. It takes patience and learning to slow down and paint one layer at a time.
“Every stroke is like a decision-making exercise, so it’s a nice activity to get to know yourself better – how fast or how fast you need to go. It reminds you of the daily process,” Lanot remarked.
His creative process goes like this: “The illustrations are transformed into patterns. We have 12 templates here, which are the monthly planner interiors. I started with watercolor illustrations, turned them into patterns, and we [printed] them on paper. So it goes from painting to paper, to pattern, to printing.
Lanot said in conclusion, “Inspired by the way nature quietly develops, we engage in our own personal growth. We want to be able to appreciate the gifts of nature, continue to become better people, improve our relationships with ourselves and with others, and in turn be more respectful of the Earth. 2023 depends only on you, I hope you will continue to move forward and at your own pace.
Raxenne Maniquiz is a Bulacan-based graphic designer and illustrator whose work often depicts native and endemic flora and fauna found throughout the country.
Through his collaborations with various brands, Maniquiz has been able to explore and learn more about the plants and wildlife of the Philippines.
Among them is a famous Filipino chocolate brand, Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates, who first piqued his curiosity about the native and endemic flora and fauna of the Philippines. It was one of her favorite projects, and she credited it with teaching her a lot of things, like what the term “endemic” means.
She was also able to showcase Filipino flora and fauna outside the Philippine borders when she collaborated with MAC Cosmetics in 2021 for the design and packaging of her Wander.Lust. City collection.
For this project, she drew illustrations “unique to each of the 29 locations in 10 Asian countries that inspired the lipsticks in the limited-edition set.”
Preserving Filipino culture and rich biodiversity through visual arts
The Flora & Fauna of the Philippines 2023 collection by Maniquiz is made up of desk pads, desk calendars, gift packaging and dated planners.
“I always start drawing rough vignettes on paper. It’s kind of a test of how I’m going to draw these works. When I draw, I always get several reference photos for [better] capture the essence of flowers. Maniquiz added, “I started with the main pattern. The pattern already features all the flora and fauna.
The limited-edition planner features 12 flora and fauna native and endemic to the Philippines, along with brief species information and a distribution map on the side.
This includes the following in chronological order: Phalaenopsis schilleriana, kapa-kapa or pink grape (Medinilla magnifica), Magellanic bird’s wing (Magellanic Troides), tayabak (Strongylodon macrobotrys), Hoya bicolensis, three species of rafflesia, namely Rafflesia speciosa, Rafflesia leonardi and Rafflesia schadenbergiana, spotted wood kingfisher (Actenoides lindsayi), kiyaw or Isabela’s oriole (Isabella Oriolus), salingbobog(Crateva religiosa), Dacalana treadawayi, Paphiopedilum acmodontumand waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana).
These illustrations of Philippine flora and fauna have been designed to promote and preserve the country’s unique biodiversity.
Learn more about the Maniquiz raffle distribution map here: Nearly 12 years after the murder of an esteemed botanist, justice remains out of reach
The Philippines is home to talented artists who produce world-class works of art, and these two Philippines who have made a name for themselves in the local arts and culture scene set an example for people who can witness their work and their story.
Photos courtesy of International Fine Paper Exchange
For more information, visit International Fine Paper Exchange
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