The Rock's 'Mein' Course The Rock's 'Mein' Course

Sunday, August 05, 2018

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Incredibly, six years have passed since Style Observer (SO) first sat down with Jamaican-born UK resident Jenny Mein at the private club Summer Place, London. Mein is the woman who honed her china-painting skills at the Hobbyceram International School of Decorative Arts founded in Milan, Italy, which specialises in botanical painting on porcelain. “In 1992, I started working as a food editor for an international lifestyle and travel magazine, which focused on the Caribbean islands,” she explained. “I cooked and styled the food for photographic shoots. One day I could not find any pretty china with tropical motifs for the food photography and decided then and there that I would produce my own china using motifs of Caribbean fruit and flowers inspired by my childhood family garden. I have always sketched and took botanical painting courses to develop my art.”

Her decision to use her hand paintings of the ackee as motifs on the china, (the ackee being the national fruit of Jamaica) proved fortuitous. She's not looked back! Indeed, the Jenny Mein Designs (JMD) China Collections continues. “I have been beavering away designing and promoting the china on my own,” shared Mein in between packing for vacation. “I have recently taken on a UK marketing company to handle social media which has been tremendous. Now I have time to work on future designs. It has been a great learning experience trying to do everything: from sketching, designing, producing in Stoke-on-Trent, England, the traditional home of British china, through selling and promoting and slowly building up a nice database of clients not only in the UK but especially Jamaicans who live in Canada, USA and Europe. Obviously, the shipping costs to these countries are tremendous but there are always friends and family travelling to the UK who purchase an item for their family and friends or, some purchase from afar!”

Informed by her friend Barbara Blake Hannah, consultant at the Ministry of Culture, that the focus for Jamaica Independence celebrations this year is the ackee, a set of the china has been dispatched for display at the Jamaica House reception. “I think it is a brilliant idea to celebrate the humble ackee which is the national fruit of Jamaica, after all, and much revered by Jamaicans, rich and poor. It has been a staple in our diet since the 18th century and a great many of us Jamaicans grew up with an ackee tree in the back garden and always look forward to a delicious meal of ackee and salt fish. The ackee is an important part of our heritage and must therefore be preserved and celebrated,” she opined.

— NMW

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