In celebration of the beginning of spring, we're taking a close look into the creative process behind some of the stunning floral-inspired designs in the Fabric Collective . . .
Floral prints and motifs in textiles can be traced all the way back to ancient times and over the ages, the countless interpretations of natural life in design and textiles have led to some of the most beautiful prints and patterns in history.
From enchanted forests and mysterious jungles to manicured gardens and underwater reefs, these designers find inspiration in Mother Nature's creations and take them through their own, individual artistic processes to create unique and spectacular textiles that bring the great outdoors inside.
It starts with a sketch . . .
Experiences with plant and nature are one of Alexis Hartman's (founder and designer of Lake August) biggest sources of inspiration. When an idea for a new design or pattern strikes her, the process always begins with sketching.
Images above: Development sketches for the Agave Americana Big Leaf fabric (pictured in the bottom two images).
Images above: Development sketches for Channel Islands wallpaper design
Always look up . . .
Brook Perdigon's Canopy fabric design captures the scenes of a forest canopy. Starting with loose hand watercolour drawings, the design was then hand-carved by Brook into block prints then adapted into the final design. The branches and birds featured reference miniature Indian paintings and the pattern of hand-drawn dots add a whimsical touch to the textile.
Images above: Development watercolour drawing by Brook Perdigon for the Canopy Indigo Fabric
Under the Jacaranda Trees . . .
A tribute to a street that she used to live on, the Aurora design by Lake August features hummingbirds and butterflies enjoying the delights of the jacaranda trees that used to line this street.
Images above: Development paintings of the Aurora design available in four colourways (pictured above left to right, top to bottom): Aurora Midnight Wallpaper, Aurora Stone Wallpaper, Aurora Eden Wallpaper, Aurora Dawn Wallpaper
A Vision Emerges: The importance of concept and mood boards
For some designers such as Parker & Jules and Serena Dugan, concept and mood boards are a crucial part of the creative process, a stage when the vision for a pattern or design can really start to emerge.
Images above: Blooming Chintz – Taking inspiration from Chintz designs in fashion and throughout history, this mood board guided the direction and vision for Parker & Jules's spectacular Chintz design, featured in Crimson Aqua in the curtains and sofa upholstery of the image above.
Images above: Save the Bees – Currently in development, this is the mood board for the stunning Save the Bees design by Parker & Jules: a profusion of much- loved flowers from the garden with darting bugs and of course, bees. A percentage of profits from the sale of this fabric will go to local charities striving to save and support bee populations across the country.
Image above: The concept board for Serena Dugan's Cassis designs (available as fabric and wallpaper), a pattern inspired by the natural beauty in the coastal town of Cassis, in Southern France. The loose and painterly hand gives this design an old-world, artistic charm.
By Hand . . .
For founder and designer of Nine Muses Textiles Tigger Hall, hand painting each of her designs is important to create the charming imperfections and colour variations that feel true to traditional textile processes.
Part of the Travels from Sweden collection, Joseph's Floral takes its inspiration from the artisanal craftsmanship of the applied decorative arts in the Swedish museum
Image right: Vendange from the Indiennes collection (top right), Trefoile Lily of the Valley from the Petit La Gamme collection (bottom) | Image left: Magnolia from the A Country Garden collection, Hatch from the Petit La Gamme collection (bottom right)
The Transformative Power of Nature
For Debby Tenquist, owner and designer of Botanica Trading, botanicals are a special source of inspiration. She explains, "In the overly industrial and industrious world we live in, the harmony and beauty found in nature have a vital role to play in our wellbeing. Experiencing nature is transformative but it is also wonderful to bring the colour and designs into our homes and mirror the creativity of nature in a closer interaction." When it comes to finding inspiration for her floral designs, Debby turns to her in-depth experience and knowledge of decorative arts, history of art and architecture. She is often inspired by what she sees in botanical gardens, plant collections, art collections and archival designs from museums around the world.
Part of the Incredible India collection, Floral Scroll (image right) is inspired by an Indian chintz textile from an exhibition at the V&A. Debby played with the colours and scale to give the design an updated, fresh appeal.
Also part of of the Incredible India collection, Mughal Meadow (above image right) and Mughal Meadow Mini were initially inspired by the floral dress worn by Flora in Sandro Botticelli's La Primavera (above image left). To adhere to Indian themed designs, Debby combined this source of inspiration with two stunning works, one being a towering lily illustration from the V&A (below image right) and the other, a depiction of dianthus which was on exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum (below image centre). Bringing these three sources of inspiration together, Debby played with colour, scale and tonality and produced a rhythmic design that echoes the meadow in Flora's dress.