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This latest collaboration between florals and wax enlightens our senses

Floral stylist Lana Fredericks and candle makers Erik and Michelle Rust came together in this collaboration to push the boundaries of their artistic expression

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By House & Garden South Africa | September 20, 2022 | Art

Every once in a while, a collaboration comes along that so effortlessly fuses the talents of two brands that it is a wonder why they never got together sooner. Michelle Rust, co-founder of Okra Candle, and Lana Fredericks, floral stylist and founder of Myuzu, are one such match. Individually, Lana and Michelle have elevated their respective crafts to heights beyond many of their contemporaries and expanded the expectations - and artistic credentials - of floral design and candle making.

Their description of how they came to work together is somewhat whimsical, reminiscent of the work they create. In their own words, it was ‘in-between secateurs and slangbos’ that they were introduced to each other. One of Okra Candle’s original designs, the ‘Trident’, was even inspired by Lana’s travels. Over time, custom requests have grown into unique events curated by Myuzu and Okra Candle.

Okra founders Erik & Michelle Rust and Myuzu founder Lana Fredericks

The motivation to collaborate was born of the desire to elevate and curate, as they put it. ‘We cannot master every skill, but tapping into other like-minded creatives and crafters results in a much more refined look and execution to a project that only years of mastery can bring.’ The blending of their two crafts may not seem so apparent to some, but they see it as something with a long and established history, citing the Dutch and Victorian art movement as evidence of flora and wax’s shared heritage.

In a previous installation title Death Row Dinner, hosted by The Fourth earlier this year, heritage turned to innovation. The pair used new wax manipulation techniques that were more in line with their artistic expression, which allowed them to ‘push the boundaries of floral and wax.’ And this has been a year of continued success, with exhibitions at Decorex Africa in Cape Town ad Joburg - the ideal place to showcase their collective creativity and a boon for the profile of both mediums.

‘We have adored showing the versatility of wax and letting the public know that exploring an ordinary medium, one that has been around for centuries, can evoke a child-like joy and still yield innovative and novel results,’ says Lana of their recent exhibitions and the experience of seeing the growth of both of their brands.

While floral styling will always be at the core of what Lana does, she would like to focus more on prop styling, set design and curation going forward. And for Michelle, her focus is helping to grow Okra Candle’s accessories range while creating classic designs and offering a variety of new products at more affordable prices - ‘We work to ensure that our consumers can enjoy their flaming delights in abundance.’

The round vessel is by Jade Ceramics with a sprig of kalanchoe resting on a ceramic table by Eve Ceramics with the wax plinth by Okra Candles behind, Photograph: Greg Cox

Originally written by Tshiamo Seape and featured in the latest issue of House and Garden South Africa September 2022