Empress Gardens: The Making of Our Elegant Floral Print

Saffron Marigold - Updated: June 18, 2023

Empress Gardens, our romantic, floral print, captivates the senses and soul. This lush print is another magical dream brought to life by Saffron Marigold’s lead designer, Anisha. She’s here today to share her inspirations for Empress Gardens. Along the way, we’ll take a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Empress Gardens in our artisan studio in Rajasthan, India to acknowledge the time, skill, and thought that goes into making our original prints.

Discover timeless romance, and lose yourself in a sun-kissed oasis flourishing with vibrant orange tulips, golden daffodils, and purple irises, the sweet scent of fragrant honeysuckle blossoms sweeping down from the verdant garden walls…Meet Empress Gardens.

Wooden blocks used to create a floral print

Decorate with Empress Gardens

Empress Gardens: a peek into our designer’s mind

Anisha, Saffron Marigold’s designer, is the heart and brain behind all of our collections. For Anisha, Empress Gardens is an attempt to capture the wonderful palace gardens of India. Marble structures surrounded by lush greenery and stately water fountains. Perfectly manicured landscapes complemented by flourishing vines on the palace walls and boldly colored, abundant blooms.

As you walk around under the warm sun to take in all the splendor, royal peacocks strut around, proudly rattling their eye-catching trains, birds chirp with joy, and fountains gurgle softly.

These royal gardens exist various states of duality: sophisticated and lush, romantic and immaculate, pristine and abundant.

Bedroom with floral print on t he bedding and curtain

Stage 1: Early sketches and light-bulb moments

Using pen and paper, Anisha begins to turn her thoughts into a tangible design.

The inspiration

Palace gardens are an orchestrated display of vibrant blooms and awe-inspiring landscapes, from sophisticated tulips to cheerful and inviting daffodils and exotic irises. Anisha’s hand-selected varieties live in harmony among rows of gurgling water fountains.

Photograph of manicured garden with tulips, daffodils, and irises

A palace garden is not complete without the sight of a magnificent peacock, proudly strutting his mesmerizing plumage. The peacock originates in India, and has come to symbolize grace, beauty, wealth, and power.

Photograph of peacock with its feathers

Anisha distills nature’s abundance into three floral bundles: irises, tulips, and daffodils. An elegant trellis pattern captures the well-kept nature of a regal palace garden.

Floral print sketch of irises tulips and daffodils

The primary print is a garden bed of bouquets, equal in size with unique color palettes.

Floral print sketch with trellis framework and flower motifs

The border blends simplicity and complexity in a scale print that symbolizes regal water fountains and peacock feathers.

Scale border for our floral print

The complementary print

The primary print in Empress Gardens conveys the immaculate aspect of a palace garden, but the complementary feels a tad bit more organic. It captures the abundant and unrestrained growth of blooming honeysuckle vines climbing palace walls, perfuming the air with a sweet, exotic scent.

Stage 2: Wood block carving, a centuries-old technique for a fresh print

Wood block printing begins with block carving, an intricate and time-intensive art form. Each element of Empress Gardens must be transferred onto wooden blocks by first tracing the pattern onto the blocks, then carving and chiseling the pattern. Everything is done by hand, and in total, our artisans used 14 blocks for the main print.

Photograph of hand carved wooden blocks on a table covered with a floral fabric
Photograph of a scale wooden block pattern

The border pattern resembles rows of stately water fountains that line palace gardens. Upon a second look, it also mimics the mesmerizing feathers on a peacock train—either way, the border pattern requires particular precision and skill.

Stage 3: Block printing

After a few iterations and adjustments, the hand carved, wooden blocks are ready, and printing begins! At last, Anisha’s palatial garden comes to life—in a gorgeous color palette!

Photograph of artisan doing wood block printing on table

Here are our artisans at work, carefully stamping down each element of Empress Gardens onto the fabric panels with their trained eye. Note the absence of machinery or automated tools—only the artisans’ years of experience can bring this garden to bloom.

Photograph of artisans using wood block printing to create floral textiles

Watching these craftsmen at work is a privilege, and we are always in awe of their attention to detail. Like with every Saffron Marigold print, each linen printing begins with the border.

Photograph of artisan stamping a border pattern for an elegant pattern

Special care must be taken to the ensure that the trellis framework is immaculately lined up.

Photograph of an artisan using wood block printing to create a trellis pattern on fabric

Every design production has its challenges. For instance, our Enchanted collection required 20 hand carved blocks to complete! The Empress Gardens colorway required a few rounds of experimentation to get the saturation just right on both cotton and cotton voile fabrics.

Photograph of artisan using wood block printing to create floral pattern on cotton fabric

We use three distinct colors for the flowers: purple for the irises, yellow for the daffodils, and orange for the tulips with the same shade of green for the foliage. With green as the color of choice for the trellis pattern and a crisp white background, Empress Gardens exudes a lush, elegant, and romantic air.

The finished product: the elegant Empress Gardens print

Once the border, main print outline, and print colors are all rendered on fabric, the linen is complete. To witness the wonderful process in motion (and all its challenges), we’ve created a short video on the work that goes into making this sophisticated design.

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