Sian Power’s wallpaper design story

May 15, 2008 § 8 Comments

We are delighted that Sian Power, the winner of the Living Edge Travelling Scholorship has agreed to be our guest blogger and share with us the story behind her wallpaper that we posted about here previously. If you haven’t seen the Object’s graduate exhibition Design Now, hurry as it finishes June 15. Here’s Sian’s story in her own words.

The human relationship with the natural environment has always interested me. It’s strange how we seesaw between seeking to dominate nature & being at it’s mercy. Our survivals are interlinked, yet we seek to control nature & she is forced to remind us of her power. For me, Nature is very much the one in control. A strict mistress: powerful, deceptively beautiful, often dangerous & sometimes cruel.

Hidden Nature: The resulting series of three wallpapers urge you to forget pretty wallflowers & look closely as nature reveals to you her hidden side, a seedy, intriguing underworld. A world of wicked fruit & deadly flowers.

The wallpaper designs grew from three main stories, those of the tree, the poppy & the apple

Detail of Tree

The story of the tree is the story of life, death and regeneration. The Ancient Egyptians often depicted man between the tree of life and the tree of death, holding a twig of both, symbolising the transience of human life & the enduring presence of nature. (Detail of Tree, above)

Sketches of cabbages for ‘Tree’

Sketches of cabbages for ‘Tree’ (above). I draw everything in pencil on tracing film, as it stands up to the rubber test, I finalise everything in pen. The film allows me to layer elements physically to see how they work before scanning into CS3.

Skeletol hand and branch drawing

Branches (above) the skeletal hand & branch drawing was one of my first.

The story of the poppy is one of seductive beauty and a flower forever linked with tragedy. The poppy is a symbol of war: loss, death, remembrance and is also linked with the seedy world of opium: addiction, seduction, destruction. (Detail of Poppy, below)

Detail of Poppy

The story of the apple is rich in symbolism, filled with lust & temptation. The apple, a wicked fruit, will be forever associated with the Garden of Eden & the story of original sin. (Detail of Apple, below)

Detail of Apple

The resulting graphics are a mix of hand drawings, images & photos. I was inspired by a range of sources including traditional works such as those by Ernst Haekel, Carl Linnaeus & Da Vinci’s drawings to contemporary influences such as the work of American painter Tiffany Bozic, graphic collective Rinzen, textile designers Timorous Beasties & old school tattoos, among others.

An example of Poppy insitu

An example of Poppy in situ (above)

An example of Apple insitu

An example of Apple in situ (above)

Thank you Sian! To see more images of Sian’s wallpaper, check out our  previous post here.

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§ 8 Responses to Sian Power’s wallpaper design story

  • Gaye Wellington says:

    Hi Sian

    I would like to purchase some of the Poppy design wallpaper, please tell me how.

    best regards, Gaye Wellington

  • Lucy says:

    Hi Living Edge and Sian… I have just seen this beautiful work at the Design Now! show at Melbourne Museum… I just love the Poppy print in particular. Sian, you are very deserving of your award! I have just posted a little review and some images on my own design blog… ( would love you to take a look :) thanks – Lucy (ps there’s also some Living Edge shots in my Saturday in Design coverage posted about a week ago….)

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