Two homegrown artists launch art collections featuring Philippine flora, fauna, and herbal tea plants

From left: Alessa Lanot of lifeafterbreakfast.ph and Raxenne Maniquiz during the product launch. Behind them are the products for their 2023 Seasonal Collection.

Art is a powerful tool for raising awareness and expressing oneself. 

For surface pattern designer Alessandra “Alessa” Lanot and illustrator Raxenne Maniquiz, love and passion for nature inspired them to showcase and integrate various plants and wildlife into their artwork.

From left: Alessa Lanot of lifeafterbreakfast.ph and Raxenne Maniquiz during the product launch. Behind them are the products for their 2023 Seasonal Collection.

In partnership with International Fine Paper Exchange (IFEX) Philippines and Pulp and Pigment, these two creatives unveiled their 2023 Seasonal Collection on September 2, 2022, and spoke about their inspiration and creative process for this project. 

Alessa Lanot

Alessa Lanot, a maker of handmade watercolor tools and a creative consultant, is the woman behind Life After Breakfast PH, “a creative studio that promotes everyday creativity through watercolored pattern designs, handmade art tools, and creative workshops.” It is a documentation of her work and life after breakfast—her favorite meal of the day. 

Alessa Lanot’s work is mainly inspired by local culture, travel, and Philippine florals. Her “At Your Own Pace” collection sends a message that we all have different timelines.

“Do you also talk to yourself?” Lanot asked the audience during the product launch. Many smiled and nodded their heads in agreement while others answered with a resounding “yes.”

She agreed with them and followed it up with, “What is the tone of that voice in your head when you talk to yourself? Is it a kind voice, a voice that’s pressuring you, a voice that’s strict?”

Lanot continued, “I only realized a few years ago that the way and the tone that I would talk to myself was so tough. It was a tough tone of voice.” 

When her inner voice was already affecting her daily life, she made a conscious effort to spend more time in nature.

“I started seeking nature time; time to be in nature more consciously, whether it’s just an hour in a day or if I could have longer time outdoors. When I’m able to go on trips, that’s when I get to unplug from the system or from working, or even when working, but still grounded and connected with nature. Because it’s when I retreat back into nature that I’m reminded to slow down, be calm, and be present. It reminds me that things take time.”

This was the inspiration for her newest paper collection, “At Your Own Pace,” which is a reminder that we all have different timelines. It stresses the importance of self-care, personal growth, and appreciation for nature in everyday living. 

The collection features 12 plants and flowers that are traditionally used as teas or herbal remedies in the Philippines. 

On why she chose herbal tea plants, Lanot explained, “I think that tea is not celebrated enough in our country. There are no ceremonies or special gatherings around tea. Traditionally, in our culture, we just seek them for their herbal remedies rather than for social events.”

“It could be very much part of our everyday lives because we might have them already in our backyards or around the neighborhood. So it could be very much integrated into our lives. Some people just may be reminded to use them.”

The collection includes desk calendars, desk pad planners, gift wrappers, and dated notebook planners. 

Inside the 2023 planner, each month has a corresponding flower or a leaf that can be used for making tea. It also comes with stickers, coupons, affirmations, and journal prompts for some self-care activities. 

Alessa Lanot’s Notebook Planner from the 2023 Collection.

Some of the featured plants are guava fruit for August, blue ternate for September, camote tops for October, and marigolds for December. 

All of the products have a QR code that takes you to the Pulp and Pigment website, where you can access recipes and instructions for making teas, smoothies, cookies, and more.

All illustrations in the collection were painted by hand. The artist’s favorite medium is watercolor because according to her, “it’s as close as you can get painting with real pigment, and the pigment is made from Earth, from soil…” 

The theme, “At Your Own Pace” also aligns with the process of watercolor painting. It requires patience and teaches one to slow down and paint one layer at a time. 

“Each stroke is like a practice in decision-making so it’s a nice activity to get to know yourself better–how slow or how fast you should go. It reminds you of the everyday process,” Lanot remarked.

Her creative process goes like this: “Illustrations are turned into patterns. We have 12 patterns here, which are the monthly insides of the planner. I started with watercolor illustrations, I turned them into pattern designs, and we [printed] them on paper. So it goes from paint, to paper, to pattern, to print.” 

Lanot said as she concluded, “Inspired by how nature calmly grows, we make a commitment to our own personal growth. We want to be able to appreciate the gifts of nature, continue to become better people, improve our relationships with ourselves and others, and in turn, be kinder to the Earth. 2023 is all up to you, I hope you keep moving forward and at your own pace.”

Raxenne Maniquiz

Raxenne Maniquiz is a Bulacan-based graphic designer and illustrator whose work often depicts native and endemic flora and fauna found throughout the country. 

Through her collaborations with various brands, Maniquiz was able to explore and learn more about Philippine plants and wildlife.

Among them is a Filipino-owned renowned chocolate brand, Theo & Philo Artisan Chocolates, which first piqued her curiosity about Philippine native and endemic flora and fauna. That was one of her favorite projects, and she credited this with teaching her a lot of things, like what the term “endemic” means.

She was also able to showcase the Philippine flora and fauna outside the Philippine borders when she collaborated with MAC Cosmetics in 2021 for the design and packaging of its Wander.Lust. City Collection. 

For this project, she drew illustrations that were “unique to each of the 29 places from 10 Asian countries that inspired the lipsticks in the limited edition set.”

Keeping Philippine culture and rich biodiversity alive through visual art

Maniquiz’s Flora & Fauna of the Philippines 2023 collection is composed of desk pad planners, desk calendars, gift wrappers, and dated planners.

Illustrator Raxenne Maniquiz showcasing her “Flora & Fauna of the Philippines” 2023 Collection.

“I always start sketching rough thumbnails on paper. It’s kind of a test of how I’m going to draw these artworks. When drawing, I always get multiple reference photos to [better] grasp the essence of the flowers.” Maniquiz added, “I started with the main pattern. The pattern already features all the flora and fauna altogether.”

The limited-edition planner features 12 flora and fauna native and endemic to the Philippines, accompanied by brief information about the species, and a distribution map on the side. 

Raxenne Maniquiz’s Flora & Fauna of the Philippines 2023 collection includes this notebook planner that comes in different background colors and covers. Other products in the collection are desk pad planners, desk calendars, gift wrappers, and dated planners.

This includes the following in chronological order: Phalaenopsis schilleriana, kapa-kapa or rose grape (Medinilla magnifica), Magellan birdwing (Troides magellanus), tayabak (Strongylodon macrobotrys), Hoya bicolensis, three rafflesia species, namely Rafflesia speciosa, Rafflesia leonardi, and Rafflesia schadenbergiana, spotted wood kingfisher (Actenoides lindsayi), kiyaw or Isabela oriole (Oriolus isabellae), salingbobog (Crateva religiosa), Dacalana treadawayi, Paphiopedilum acmodontum, and waling-waling (Vanda sanderiana).

These illustrations of Philippine flora and fauna were designed to promote and preserve the country’s unique biodiversity.  

Read more about Maniquiz’s rafflesia distribution map here: Nearly 12 years after esteemed botanist’s killing, justice remains out of reach

The Philippines is home to talented artists who produce world-class artworks, and these two Filipinas who have built a name for themselves in the local arts and culture scene are setting an example to individuals who get to witness their work and their story.

Photos courtesy of International Fine Paper Exchange 

For more information, visit International Fine Paper Exchange

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Vina Medenilla
Vina Medenilla is a content producer for Agriculture Monthly magazine. She is a graduate from Miriam College with a bachelor’s degree in Communication. Fashion, photography, and travel are some of the things she loves. For her, connection with nature is essential to one’s life.

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