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What do you get when you cross nostalgia with Australiana?

What do you get when you cross nostalgia with Australiana?

By Linda Emslie on 8 August 2016
What do you get when you cross nostalgia with Australiana?

May Gibbs, I guess!

I was searching for an image to use on my newsletter for Australia Day. I wasn’t overly engaged by the images my web search produced. And then, for no apparent reason, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie leapt into my head. What the hey?

So, I keyed them into the search box and came up with a number of May Gibb’s gorgeous old illustrations. The one above, I found particularly appealing.

There are a number of reasons why:

  • May Gibbs drew her inspiration from the Australia bush (if you’ll pardon the pun)
  • I can remember reading the Gumnut Babies when I was a kid
  • I still have my grandmother’s copy of the Gumnut Babies

What really appeals to me in this picture is May’s interpretation of Flannel Flowers. She’s drawn sweet little faces of cute little flower elementals lovingly wrapped in the soft petals of these open star-shaped flowers.

Even more meaningful for me is her inscription about the Flannel Flower babies. They "grow in Australia..." and "... they bring love."

This is so significant because Flannel Flower is one of the Australian Bush Flower Essences developed by Ian White. Bush Flower essences are one of the tools I use in clinic to restore balance and wellbeing.

As the name implies, and as May Gibbs so rightly states, the essence from this flower is soft and nurturing and enhances trust, openness and gentleness. It helps you overcome the fear and distaste of physical closeness and touch, and helps develop better ability to express feelings. The Flannel Flower is a beautiful velvety white, with each petal tipped in soft olive-green. The entire plant is covered in a soft, silky down that feels like flannel. This plant usually grows in rocky and sandy areas along the coast in NSW and up into Central QLD, and with the exception of one species (found in NZ) Flannel Flowers are found only in Australia.

I love the resonance of the spirit of the Flannel Flower sending a similar message to the artistic soul of May Gibbs, as it did to the man who still devotes much time and passion in sharing the healing vibrations of the Australian Bush.