Hi, I’m Charlotte Noar, an artist making floral silkscreen prints from my garden studio in Kent, the Garden of England. I’m thrilled to have been asked to write something here on The Rose Press Garden Blog.
As an avid gardener myself I know the connection that many of us feel to our gardens and the flowers we grow. If you’re anything like me you can become quite sentimental about the plants in your garden – especially those grown from either cuttings or seeds from a special place or person. This is really what my art is about – taking something beautiful but fleeting, and holding on to it and making it last in some way. Flowers are so much more than flowers to me – they are a connection to people and places. The seeds for sale here at The Rose Press Garden become the flowers and plants we love in the future which is something really close to my heart.
Inspired by one of the many beautiful flowers in Lizzie’s collection of seeds, I want to talk a little bit today about the forget me not – a tiny, unassuming little flower, so common in our English gardens. I won’t talk about how to grow these – I’ll leave that to Lizzie – but want to touch on how flowers inspire connections and memories for us all.
There are so many myths and stories connected to these beautiful blue flowers, and the name is so romantic. There are stories about this plant dating back to the creation story in the bible, and there are many stories originating in Germany about how this little flower got its name. In England, too, it has a long history – King Henry IV adopted it as his emblem during and after his exile, and during Victorian times this flower was commonly used as a romantic symbol of everlasting love.
What I’m more interested in when it comes to flowers is our own personal associations with them. This little flower takes me straight back to childhood, playing in the garden, and coming across these blue flowers where it had self-seeded in shady corners or in the flower borders. I love how it grows in cracks and crevices, and the flowers are just so pretty – look closely and you’ll see that there is almost a white star-shape around that ring of yellow in the middle.
I have sketchbooks full of flower drawings, and leafing through them is like turning the pages of a diary. It’s also a journey through the seasons, going from snowdrops and hellebores, to camellias and daffodils, and then to the pretty forget-me-not.
My prints are made using a silkscreen – I transfer my drawing to paper and cut out stencils by hand for each individual colour on the print. Then I pull ink through the silkscreen onto the paper through the stencil.
I love simplicity – my prints are not detailed, intricate flowers, but blocks of simple shapes and colours. They are contemporary in style, but always bright, colourful and fun, too.
More recently this flower has also been adopted as the symbol of the Alzheimers Society which is a cause very dear to my heart. Both my parents sadly suffered from Alzheimers and dementia. So much of my art is inspired by their beautiful garden, which I had to say goodbye to in 2019 when we sold their home to pay for care. I drew and drew the flowers there to keep hold of something of that special place, and the prints and homewares I sell now are the legacy of that garden. So this small plant and its pretty flowers have a personal meaning to me. I wonder what your associations they hold for you?
Whatever these pretty flowers mean to you, I love to have flowers in my home to appreciate all year round, whether this is fresh flowers, floral art or accessories. And because I am an obsessive tea drinker I have worked with a heritage pottery in Stoke on Trent to create some beautiful floral mugs made of 100% British fine bone china – perfect for that gardener’s tea break. A forget-me-not mug will be coming soon – subscribe on my website to be the first to get one.
If you’d like to find out more about my art find me on Instagram, @charlotte.noar, or head over to my website, www.charlottenoar.com for more of my floral prints and mugs.