There are many aspects to running our company Tradition Textiles where skills continually need to be developed: in production, marketing, quality control and sales to name a few. But what always gives me the greatest joy is the creative side of the business designing fabric prints. At the beginning of each year I start to think about design ideas for new fabric prints for Tradition’s range of summer clothing. Inspiration may come from exhibitions I visit or architecture I wander through but mainly I am influenced by the environment around me; my garden in Sydney, plants I see on walks and sea life where I swim.
Photographs are often the beginning of designs that I then develop using Photoshop or Illustrator on the computer. But I am only part of the design process. My generated repeat patterns remain only that – patterns until printed onto fabric. In collaboration with skilled artisans that I work with in India silk screens are made or woodblocks carved ready for printing. Sometimes designs are modified resulting from suggestions made the artisans who know the technical scope of their craft.
To complete the finished printed metres of fabric many specialist artisans are involved, each with their own skill set. Those who mix the print colours are the artisans I most admire and who are well respected within their field. I of course have planned the colour combinations for each fabric print and delight how the colour mixers know exactly how to get the colour right.
We only use natural fibres at Tradition Textiles so time is spent finding the best quality of cotton, merino wool or silk. Colour variations again can occur depending upon the fabric used so adjustments need to be made. There is considerable time spent sampling and getting things right. A collaborative time not without a little creative tension. But worth it when the fabric printing is complete and metres of designs that began as an idea are ready to be transformed into our new range of products. Deborah Emmett Print Designs showcases a portfolio of my fabric print designs so far with always more designs being developed.