Does residual material from the carpentry workshop have to go into the waste bin or fireplace? According to Bianca Pouw, that’s not necessary at all. Pouw proves how you can deal with residual material differently by looking at it creatively. With her company ‘Botanique Art,’ she gives a different life to natural residual materials that are both sustainable and beautiful.
Why Botanique Art?
In Bianca’s social workshop, they make bee hotels from natural materials. While this is great for biodiversity, it also creates residual materials. “Quite a lot of leftover material actually,” says Bianca. “I wanted to do more with it than throw it away or use it for firewood. This is how Botanique Art was born. It is an artistic and creative way to give this natural residual material a new and artistic function. I have always been creative. I love art and culture and like to think out of the box. With Botanique Art, I can fully express my creativity by looking at residual material in a different way.”
What does green do?
One of Bianca’s main motivations for being creative with natural art is the psychological effect of nature on human mental health. “Why do we feel good in nature? When you look at nature – why do we feel good? Why do you experience less pain when you are in the hospital when you look out over a beautiful green atrium? Or feel more relaxed when you have a view of a beautiful flower garden instead of a concrete courtyard?” This pushed her to look for the cause behind the effect of natural beauty. “A lot of research has been done on this subject. Even from Harvard University. We have already discovered that by introducing more green inside company buildings, employees are up to 7% more productive. Integrating more nature into the construction of a hospital can reduce the pain experience of patients by 5%. My mission is to see if I can bring in this same vibe into my art.
In nature, you see many repetitive patterns. These patterns can repeat endlessly, and therefore, they are called fractal patterns. “Consider broccoli, for example. If you break off a rose, you essentially have a mini broccoli. You also see a lot of repetition of structures such as the scales of a pinecone,” says Bianca. “These fractal patterns have a beneficial effect on the mind. I try to incorporate these types of patterns into my art.”
From the toolbox
“I collect residual materials as well as natural materials from my social workshop and various other sources. I work with a vision in which I combine nature and fractal patterns. All elements for my artworks are cut to size one by one by hand before I glue them in place. The finished project is not varnished. Instead, I use natural oil to give each part a protective layer. This also gives the wood a beautiful dark shade that blends well with the golden tones I use in my designs.”
The biggest challenge
“A new company is great fun. My biggest challenge is that I am in a sector that is unfamiliar to me. This means that absolutely everything is a first. Building a new customer base, establishing new contacts and networks, and so on. What I like is that I can watch it grow. In 2024, Botanique Art can be seen during an exhibition at Atelier Néerlandais in Paris. That is something to be proud of.”