I’ve made this series to highlight women who are starting out. They have created something out of nothing, following those whispers and are moving forward with bringing their dreams to life. I believe in the power of sharing our stories, supporting and lifting each other up. There is enough for everyone to be successful, in what ever way feels right for them.
I N T R O D U C I N G
Janae remembers the first time she played with clay in Primary School thirty years ago. While she can’t exactly remember what she made, she does remember how it felt, it was the feeling of ‘home’.
Throughout the last thirty years, Janae never stopped thinking about clay and what she wanted to create with it. After high school, Janae followed her heart and completed a degree in Visual Arts, majoring in Ceramics, with a break of five years in-between which led her around the world travelling, working and being inspired. Afterwards she went on to study and work as a Primary School teacher, where she met Chris.
In 2014 when Janae and Chris were planning to get married, they were trying to support as many local growers and businesses for their wedding as possible and finding locally grown seasonal flowers was tricky. They eventually found some lovely folks who grew flowers, but only by trade. So they traded one of their black Suffolk sheep for a van full of flowers and foliage.
When Janae saw the van door open it was filled with everything from foxgloves to the first dahlias of the season, and at that moment she knew she wanted to be a flower farmer. Over seven years ago while on maternity leave with their first baby, Janae started growing flowers, wanting to create a business from home to be with their growing family. Year after year she took over the veggie patch more and more. Now, Chris has quit his assistant principal job to work along side her. They grow just over an acre of flowers for weddings, local stores, Melbourne Farmers Markets, workshops, stylists and select florists.
A variety of seasonal flowers from classic cottage blooms to Australian natives with nature and the environment in mind, totally avoiding any chemical sprays. Recycling and regenerative practices are always forefront in the operation of their flower farm.
In July 2021 with Fleurs de Lyonville established for five years, Janae invested in a kiln, the flower shed got a face lift and became a shared space for her new ceramic studio, all nestled in the middle of the Fleurs de Lyonville flower farm. Inspired by nature and wanting to bring the joy of flowers and art into the home, Janae’s ceramic practice is slow and seasonal, she creates her ceramics during the colder months when the flower farm is well past its peak season and laying mostly dormant.
1. Would you share a little about yourself and why it is so important for you to follow those creative whispers?
I live in a little hamlet called Lyonville in central Victoria with my husband Chris, two kids, Gigi and Atticus, our two dogs, Daphne who is a Westie and Peggy who is Scottish terrier, plus a few chooks, black Suffolk sheep and alpacas. Ever since I could remember I have loved keeping busy with creative ideas, however these days those creative ideas always are related to flowers and clay. Flower farming and pottery have many differences, but also a lot of similarities, namely how they are both connected to the earth. There is something special about that.
2. Favourite time of the day?
Sunrise! I love sneaking out of bed as soon as the sun peeks through my curtains. Although, it’s very hard to sneak around without waking the two terriers who are sleeping right next to my bed, who then immediately are up in arms for brekky. The two kiddos are then never far behind… I make a cup of green tea and head out to either pick the flowers or wedge my clay depending on what time of the year it is. I like to start early and then come back in for breakfast.
3. Life is full of distractions, what keeps you focused?
A deadline, whether it’s an up-and-coming pottery exhibition or a wedding order, a deadline helps me focus.
4. What has surprised you?
Probably how I managed to juggle my kids and build up the farm mostly alone. Chris did definitely help out after work or on school holidays, but I mostly did everything myself. I gradually built up the business from a few dahlia tubers that were given to me, to the successful operation it is today. Chris came on board and now works full time with me on the flower farm. When we first started dating, we made a ‘Book of Dreams’ together and we wrote and drew all things we wanted in life, and honestly they have mostly come true- it’s pretty magical.
5. One piece of advice you would like to pass on to someone starting out?
For flower farming, it would be, hang in there. Sometimes we look back and think that our biggest success is that we are still hanging in there. Some days are long, but it’s well and truly worth it! And follow your gut, I believe if it feels right, it must be right and somehow it will fall into place. Take the first step and try not to rush too quickly (like me).
Pottery by Janae has been featured in The Design Files, Kip&Co Magazine. Exhibited at Inverell Art Gallery.
Upcoming Exhibition: Little Gallery Trentham July 14th
Stockist: Spiro @spiro.store
Follow Janae on Instagram @janae_paquinbowden_pottery and her website www.potterybyjanae.com where she updates her shop after unpacking the kiln with her vases, candlestick holders, incense burners, plates, platters, dishes, bowls and hand painted Blue and White series.
Interview Series: Janae Paquin Bowden Pottery.
May 17, 2023