Guests of On Board Expeditions will now be reclining into exquisite Deborah WACE luxury designer cushions as they cruise Tasmania’s Southwest World Heritage area aboard Odalisque III. The cushions, from the ‘The Sartorial Naturalist’ collection, feature intricate wild and endangered Tasmania flora designs.
The state-of-the-art 24 metre catamaran Odalisque III was launched at the beginning of 2023, in a public ceremony at Hobart’s Constitution Dock.
On Board’s custom-built expedition cruiser has been designed for comfort, style, safety and an intimate wilderness experience in Tasmanian waters. The cruiser is essentially a floating luxury lodge, purpose-built for minimal impact tourism within Tasmania’s precious World Heritage wilderness.
Catering to intimate travel groups of just 12 guests, a small environmental footprint is maintained when exploring sensitive Tasmanian wilderness areas. Before setting sail, all guests are inducted by expert guides and made familiar with biosecurity practices to protect the fragile areas they visit. Food miles are kept to a minimum, using only the freshest of local ingredients and suppliers.
‘With our expeditions designed to inspire a greater appreciation for the natural world, we aim to educate and excite our guests about conserving the wild places that we love for future generations,’ explained Pieter van der Woude, founder and CEO of On Board.
Art that echoes the plight of Tasmania’s flora
Sharing the same values that On Board takes with tourism in a remote wild landscape, Deborah uses her art to magnify botanical elements and educate about threatened plants; many endemic to a particular part of the island. With the exoticism of a Turkish harem odalisque!
Deborah’s work echoes the earlier sterling efforts of Deny King[i] (1909-1991), iconic tin miner and naturalist who lived for fifty-five years in Port Davey in Southwest Tasmania. He made an incredible difference for habitat preservation, including that of the orange-bellied parrot, and discovered Lomatia tasmanica or King’s Holly in 1937, which is one of the plant specimens woven into the luxury designer cushions made for Odalisque III.
Thanks to the On Board Tasmanian Expedition Cruises team
Deborah would like to specially thank Pieter and Alice van der Woude from On Board Tasmanian Expedition Cruises for inclusion in this exceptional project; Dick Smith AC, who launched the boat; friend and expert boat guide Peter Marmion; and interior designer Rebecca Kirkland for incorporating Deborah’s botanical designs so beautifully into the boat fitout.
‘I am proud to be included in the production of an “all Tasmanian” showcase that is the Odalisque III.’
Luxury designer cushions and designs created by Deborah
Deborah WACE produces luxury designer cushions featuring botanical imagery of Fagus leaves, orchids, giant kelp forests, mosses, seed pods and other endangered flora are captured on swathes of luxurious silks, European flax linens, crinkle silk chiffons and high-quality paper and wallpaper.
Each piece created by Deborah is saturated with the warmth and richness of chartreuse greens, antique golds, seaweed pinks, lichen blues, burnt umbers and a myriad of other colours inspired by nature.
The Odalisque III guest rooms are decorated with ‘Giant Kelp Forest’ and ‘Lomatia tasmanica (in blue)’, which are just two of the designs in the Deborah WACE ‘The Sartorial Naturalist’ collection – a collection that is inspired by the wild and often raw Tasmanian environment.
‘Giant Kelp Forest’ cushion design
Giant Australian Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is a magnificent plant can grow to 30 metres from the sea floor to the water’s surface, creating dense forests along the exposed coasts and deep water reefs of Tasmania.
These giant forests support an incredible range of species and are at dire risk of extinction from the rising sea temperatures created by human-induced climate change.
The Giant Kelp Forest have now been classified as a ‘Threatened Ecological Community’ because of the vast number of other species which rely on a healthy marine ecosystem.
‘The whole ecosystem is under threat from sea temperature rise, and the kelp, a massive underwater forest system which supports a whole ecology, is collapsing. I want to let people know of the giant kelp’s imminent peril, through the lens of my designs,’ says Deborah.
‘Lomatia tasmanica (in blue)’ cushion design
Lomatia tasmanica or King’s Holly is a critically endangered plant, surviving in just one location in Southwest Tasmania. It has sterile flowers and regenerates by root suckering and coppice, due to its inability to produce seeds.
There are thought to be only 500 plant stems clustered around 1.2 kilometres of rainforest gully, meaning one catastrophic bushfire could eradicate it forever. It may be one of the oldest plants on earth.
Deborah comments that ‘The story of Lomatia tasmanica is one of resilience and survival. There is hope however, as the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens is successfully propagating it to ensure its survival.’
How designs are created
Deborah Wace uses time-honoured print techniques. Her inspiration is drawn from her extensive botanical specimen library. She combines pressed plant images with drypoint (scribing onto an acrylic printmaking plate) and monoprint original artwork and etchings, which she digitally layers to create rich, complex botanical designs.
These mirror the type specimen sheets held in herbarium collections internationally, where the pressed plant specimens and accompanying field notes provide direct inspiration for detailed engravings published in botanical reference books.
Storytelling through art
Through her visually rich and flowing artistry, Deborah tells stories of her connection to landscape, history and her passion for the flora of the beautiful island, Tasmania. She weaves a narrative through her designs of plant collectors and early French naturalists, the palawa people of lutruwita and of her deep connection to flora and botany. This historical foundation builds a greater understanding of the significance of these early botanical collections, our interconnection with nature, and fosters greater respect for our flora.
The French connection
Tasmania’s history is rich with French connections from the early European voyages of discovery. In the 1790s, the French d’Entrecasteaux scientific expedition explored, documented and named Recherche Bay on the extreme south-east corner of Tasmania. They gathered important pioneering botanical specimens that are now held in the great Herbaria of Europe and the United Kingdom.
Deborah Wace’s 2018 Churchill Fellowship took her to Europe to study the botanical records of this and other Tasmania French expeditions to Tasmania. She studied botanical specimens located in herbarium collections in Paris, Florence, and Kew from the d’Entrecasteaux expeditions to Tasmania in 1792-93, and the Baudin expedition from 1800-1803.
Original, contemporary cultural motifs born from this experience are woven into Deborah WACE art and fabric designs.
Designs gifted by nature but inspired by You
Deborah WACE provides a range of bespoke services for Australian and international private clients and businesses. Her design services are perfect for restaurants, hotel chains, fashion designers and clients seeking an authentic, exclusive and one-of-a-kind work of art or design for their home or business. Sustainability across the whole supply chain is sought wherever possible by the Deborah WACE brand. All plant specimens are collected sustainably and with permissions.
Deborah can work with you and your team to create a custom designed piece inspired by you, which embodies the signature Deborah WACE style using her designs, prints, etchings and botanical assets.
Bespoke pieces include but are not limited to:
- Limited edition fabrics featuring one-off designs in a range of sustainably produced fabrics
- Unique, one-of-a-kind interior designs across a range of architectural substrates such as glass panels and shower screens
- Art commissions
- Limited-edition botanical and art prints
If you are interested in taking a once-in-a-lifetime Tasmanian trip aboard the Odalisque III, contact On Board Tasmanian Expedition Cruises. If you are interested in the creation of a bespoke piece that is truly unique, contact Deborah WACE to discuss your idea.
[i] ‘The Kings of Melaleuca’. The Australian Women’s Weekly. National Library of Australia. 5 May 1971, p.17.