Meet The Author Juliana Frances
Born in Melbourne with the name Juliana and married to Tony for over forty years, I am the proud Australian mother of two sons.
Since a very early age I have had a passion for roses and felt the importance of bringing nostalgia back into a contemporary art form using these beautiful flowers.
My favourite flower is the rose. Roses always had pride of place in each house I lived. My first memory of roses was around the age of ten. I can still recall our garden when growing up that had standard roses. These roses my father Fred had planted grew right along the front fence.
The day Tony and I got married was in June in the southern hemisphere, when roses aren’t in bloom. I carried two white roses as my bridal bouquet. I didn’t know then that in 'The Old Farmer's Almanac', June is the month of roses.
Life On The Dairy Farm
In 1980 we managed the conversion and running of a large Bio-dynamic dairy farm, where healing modalities were used on the land and on the animals.
Our dairy farm featured around twenty roses growing in our island garden along our front driveway. In the wee hours of the night (on a number of occasions), I could hear the cows munching and creating havoc outside our bedroom window. I immediately knew what was in store. If I didn't hastily jump out of bed to chase them back to their paddock mayhem would have been created. Must have been those fairies that left the gate open!
Seventeen years on our farm was sold to an organic daily company who continue to manufacture organic yoghurt.
Evolving My Consciousness
Then for four years I immersed myself in building our new home. It was a dream house made of rammed earth, including planting lots of fruit trees, vegetables, and of course roses. Many moments during this time allowed myself to recognise that I was no longer the same person: rather moving towards being the person I wanted to be - evolving my consciousness and to nurture my spirituality. The transformation that occurred, included using aka Morning Clouds as my name.
Since moving close to Mt Warning (a repository of energy in Northern New South Wales), I focused my attention on Alchemy; to be at peace, and in harmony with my surrounds. Hence was the beginning of a new chapter of my life; to introduce to the world, the Living Threads. The emergence of a revolutionary extensive non-invasive modality ahead of its time.
With eight acres, and in a sub-tropical region was deluged with huge amounts of seasonal rain. So different coming from a dry region that relies on irrigation, created the perfect growing environment for plants and trees. Impressive retaining walls were also built. And of course roses.
How These Books Came To Life
This was when I brainstormed the idea for the rose project. It was like a seed waiting to germinate. Then it wasn’t until one Sunday five years ago, after attending a business meeting, I attended the Royal Melbourne Garden Show at the exhibition buildings. Meeting Gary Matuschka, the manager of Treloar Roses in Portland, rekindled the collection of ideas of matching a specific rose to a verse of writing. Gary had now spark developed this new venture into action.
The fun had started. I had found a new passion. This involved choosing the names of some favourite roses and initially researching English poetry that would match the name of each individual rose to tell a tale. This then called my attention to song lyrics that fostered the messages of peace and equality. The list just expanded new horizons from so many countries and diversities with countless authors and the messages each wanted to convey. Sometimes it was the rose that cried out for attention, being either its form of shape, colour or fragrance.
I contacted the Gold Coast Rose Society and spoke of the prospective book. The committee graciously allowed me to use the specific roses that I had chosen to birth the process of capturing the essence of the rose on camera at the show. A photographer attending offered to take the pictures of these stunning roses. After viewing these first stills with my son Wood, we acknowledged we were such novices to the photography world. So many faux pas made. My son Wood said "Mum we work really well together, why don’t I buy a camera!"
Now this was no mean feat. Momentarily all the negative daunting thoughts were racing through my mind; "he had never had a camera nor had ever taken a photo, how is he going to maneuver his wheelchair, all the what if's."
Wood was born with Spina Bifida and had over twenty major operations, the first when he was only five hours old. He was brought up to be independent from an early age. Nothing was going to hold him back! He held several Australian and world records in swimming. His final year at school he was presented with the Sports Star of the Year award and also made "Junior Citizen of the Year". So a camera to suit our budget was purchased.
Our next planned trip was to Bundaberg. However seven weeks prior to the first photo shoot for the book I broke my ankle! This felt like a major obstacle on the path which turned into an interesting series of events! My cast had been removed but driving 600 km's when I was still learning to walk was daunting. We decided to put a bed in the back of my husband's Sprinter van so I was able to elevate my leg. This was an opportunity for my husband to come along and share in the experience of our creation.
Upon reaching Trewallyn's Nursery, with secateurs in hand and trekking up and down the rose beds was becoming difficult with my walking stick. So the walking stick was thrown away and I was free to roam amongst the rows of magnificent roses! The roses now freshly picked from the fields, brought into the home and given a voice.
My Retreat In Brazil
Shortly after returning home a dear friend whom I met at a retreat in Brazil had come to visit. With his extra large suitcase included was professional photography equipment he intended to sell on eBay. So we bought the whole contents. Everything we needed just seemed to just turn up.
He was so supportive in clarifying my ideas for Romancing the Rose. Ideas about how to use props or vases to match a theme and tell a story. For example the story of the Holy Toledo rose to capture the feeling of going downhill on a bicycle that’s got no breaks and you thinking '…..holy toledo’!
We choose wheel spokes as a prop but also needed to create movement. This is how the name of the rose, the poetry and the photo marry up. It allows feeling and emotions to come to the surface to bring inspiration to the viewer.
Even though there was a lot of work to do I trusted that all things would fall into place. My love of roses has led to this exciting book project with my son Wood as photographer. Everything and everyone I needed just seemed to turn up.
Then followed three road trips to South Australia and Victoria; each trip around 5000 km's. Our car had to be packed ever so methodically to fit clothes, camera gear and props including Wood’s wheelchair.
I learned how specific roses needed are not always open at the time. Cannot count how many times I heard either "just in bud or just finished flowering". The art of catching the perfect rose when it opens was also a skill to be learned. So many growers were kind enough to accommodate us in setting up a makeshift studio and assist us in picking the perfect roses for us to work with.
Little did we know in the beginning that an idea of one rose book would turn into multiple books! The joy and fulfilment of meeting such wonderful rose growers from Queensland, NSW, Adelaide and Victoria and Rose Societies (both here in Australia and overseas) who lovingly gave their time & generosity in helping us, I am ever so grateful.
We have now scaled down to a townhouse in Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia overlooking the Tweed River with lots of roses planted.
Roses convey so much. They are a message from the heart and almost everyone chooses roses when asked about their favourite flower. They are the typical flowers of funerals, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and Valentine's day. When you look at white roses they convey purity, the red rose says 'I love you" and the yellow rose says "remember me". There are no pure blue or black roses as yet.
The cycle of the rose is like the cyclic journey of our own lives. To survive we need soil, sun, air, water, that are also the components of the rose. Their beauty flows outwards, then once pruned becomes latent through its rest period. Sprouting of fresh leaves is the next cycle of its existence. They also need to be handled with care, just like ourselves. The rose is also symbolic because they have thorns. I don’t know how many times I have been scratched by those thorns on my arms and legs! So there is also a dark side to the roses, they’re prickly little beasts.
‘Romancing the Rose’ allows the viewer to experience the roses to reminiscence, a fantasy and a safe place for people to go to. A nostalgic rose book with poetry creates an awareness connecting the form and purpose of the words expressed, felt, and sensed as flowing harmony. These blooms shown alongside poetry create a playful synergy.