Jesse Breytenbach is a talented freelance illustrator and printmaker, working in Cape Town. Plants are her favourite source of inspiration and she returns to them time and again. The prints I've chosen for this collection feature borage leaves, the indigenous South African protea and the beautifully layered block flowers.
I love these relief prints, which Jesse creates by hand, using wooden blocks and rollers. Block printing isn't a process that can be rushed and you can see the care and consideration which has gone into each piece. Her two colour prints involve layering carefully placed prints to build up the design.
Observatory, where Jesse works, has a long tradition of textile and clothing production. Known affectionately as 'Obs' by the locals, this area has a character all of its own; it's studenty and alternative, with vibrant restaurants and bars, set amidst quiet streets of historical houses with wrought iron railings and restful 'stoops' (verandahs to you and me). Jesse's studio is nestled in one such street. She shares her work space with an illustrator and the whole building buzzes with creativity.
When I met Jesse, I was struck by how immaculate her studio was (it seriously puts my own office to shame), but I could see that such order is required to keep the fabrics pristine during the printing process. It was great to spend some time with her and get a sense of the effort involving in making her beautiful prints.
Jesse's textiles are printed using water-based ink, and cured to be permanent. Fabrics are locally sourced in South Africa; the one used for the cushions and lampshades is a blend of 45% hemp and 55% cotton.