From the moment it launched, artist Anne Lemanski’s wallpaper pattern for Peg Norriss, Queen’s Flight, has struck a chord with the design community. Its irresistibly intense swirl of birds and insects and deeply saturated hues blur the lines between fine art and decoration.
Perhaps that’s in part because the pattern emerged from a show-stopping, one-of-a-kind installation that Lemanski created for an exhibition of her work at Charlotte, North Carolina’s SOCO Gallery. The installation was titled “Queen Alexandra’s Flight,” for the Queen Alexandra butterfly, which with its wing span of 12 inches is the largest butterfly in the world. Lemanski imagined the work as an epic mid-flight battle scene between butterflies and swooping, carnivorous birds, and spent weeks hand cutting the more than 600 individual bird and insect pieces with a scroll saw.
When the piece was installed at the gallery, sprawling across an entire wall, it immediately captivated designer Barrie Benson, who recognized its potential as a deliciously off-kilter and arresting pattern.
Not able to shake the idea, Benson enlisted Lemanski as well as friend and SOCO Gallery owner Chandra Johnson to experiment on a few concepts with her. Soon after, the extraordinary Queen’s Flight wallpaper pattern was born (as was Benson and Johnson’s chic new brand, Peg Norriss).
But the story doesn’t end there. Just as Benson was influenced by Lemanski’s artistic vision, Lemanski was influenced by the process of making the wallpaper. Working with pattern and thinking in repeats is now integral to her creative practice. Let’s just hope we’re lucky enough that one day that translates into more goods for the home.