The Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden. The dualism between good and evil. Exotic, edible fruits and berries contrasted against their poisonous and even deadly counterparts. All this seen from Eve's perspective – a heroine who chose to leave Eden, to embody her real self and forge her own version of paradise. This is the basis of the Fruits of Eden collection and the Hubris Tree print.
Sam Wilde's first encounter with Svenskt Tenn was back in 2018 when he was working towards his Masters at the Royal College of Art in London, and participated in the exhibition Ten Textile Talents on Strandvägen 5 in Stockholm. Here he created the dual prints “Sumptuous Getaway” and "Quandary Quagmire", inspired by Josef Frank's carpet no. 7 and no. 19 respectively. In 2019 he was re-invited, this time to design an entire collection. The collaboration resulted in a colourful textile print, whose imaginative fruits have been transformed into eight Christmas baubles, as well as a Christmas star inspired by Hawaiian flowers.
Ten Textile Talents exhibition, 2018.
Sam Wilde in his studio in London.
”The word Hubris refers with some irony to the decision to defy the norms of behaviour and challenge the gods.”
“The pattern is based off the Tree of Knowledge in the garden of Eden through Eve's perspective. I believe that she was a heroine. She understood that paradise was artificial, and that the only way to truly embody her real-self, to embody her humanity, was to choose autonomy and leave Eden. The word Hubris refers with some irony to the decision to defy the norms of behaviour and challenge the gods,” says Sam Wilde.
The Tree of Knowledge is described as a tree that is simultaneously both good and evil, and here, Sam Wilde saw a link to Josef Frank's timeless designs.
Hubris Tree textile print, Sam Wilde, 2019.
“This was a great opportunity to reflect the inherent dualism that recurs in Josef Frank's designs.”
Josef Frank (1885-1967).
“I realised this was a great opportunity to reflect the inherent dualism that often recurs in Josef Frank's designs. He combines and contrasts fantasy and reality, fruits, vegetables and flowers. As such, I intermixed delicious and nourishing fruits, with fruits that are poisonous and even deadly.”
“Further still, I wanted to emphasise the darker side of humanity’s hubris nature, by highlighting the ways in which we continue to spoil the paradise that surrounds us. In this instance, I’ve paid homage to Hawaii, a place today where sadly over half of the islands’ native flora has been overrun by invasive species. As such, I intermixed flora endemic to Hawaii, with flora that has been introduced by man, and in turn imbalanced Hawaii’s delicate natural ecosystems. As a whole, my pattern is a homage to Vegetable Tree and Hawai, my two favourite Josef Frank-prints.”
Hawai, Josef Frank, 1940s.
Vegetable Tree, Josef Frank, 1940s.
Giving life to selected fruits and vegetables became a way to complete the collection. With the glass baubles, the Christmas tree can be transformed into a Tree of Knowledge and thus create our own paradise this Christmas.
“Like the actual fruits of Eden, they're meant to be irresistibly sumptuous and enticing.”
Fruits of Eden designs. Photo - Bethan Wyn Williams.
“All of the eight bauble fruits can be found within the actual Hubris Tree pattern. Four of them are re-imagined versions of Frank's original fruits and the other four are based off signature fruits from Vespertine, my own creative practice. Like the actual fruits of Eden, they're meant to be irresistibly sumptuous and enticing, bright in colour and bursting with flavour.”
Fruits of Eden Christmas tree baubles, Sam Wilde, 2019.