Having reviewed the artist website before going to the exhibition I had a fairly good idea of what I expected to see: lengths of fabric with big bold designs in muted colours suitable for furnishings came to mind, and some of that was on show. However, I was impressed by the way the pieces were grouped, the layout of each design and the colour variations and how the fabrics had been used. They were displayed to very good effect.
What particularly appeals to me are the variety of outcomes she has achieved from this design idea. At the fully printed and ready-to-sell stage the design comprises of a maximum of three print layers but is equally successful with only one or two layers which, of course, produce a completely different cloth.
The colour ranges she has worked with whilst building the detail are close to each other on the colour wheel or are variations in saturation and strength of a single colour. She is working with enough variety to bring life and dynamism to the pieces.
Most of the cloths on display were hemp but a few were linen. Whilst they have a woven look to them the prints are smooth and solid allowing the fabric textures to come through.
Above it is possible to differentiate between single layer prints which have been produced both in the positive (bottom left) and in the negative – by printing the background instead (top and side left).
Moving along the top row there are four colour schemes when printing the design as two layers. Each of the base colours has been strengthened (more saturation and a darker hue) and applied as the gumnut detail.
Bottom right and inset is a full three layer print. Here the background has been included and the subject matter has been offset giving the single side white edging. Without this flash of plain fabric throughout, the design threatens to appear overwhelming with a contradictory colour application that strains the eye instead of drawing the viewer (or purchaser) in.
Samples of her other designs:
I was particularly interested to see a lightly applied print, not one which is solid and an all over even pattern, but rather something that looks aged and wearing thin.
Just goes to remind me that not all prints have to be exact, solid and deeply visual. Scratching and light application of print to fabric has an appeal of its own.
Photographs by myself with permission from the gallery – The Australian Design Centre.