Since our trip to Mexico a few months back, I've thought about, on many occasions, how I wish I'd made a few more purchases, especially of locally made items...I don't know how I just walked past that stall selling handwoven bags and colourful panama hats!..next time, I vow to buy, buy, buy!
The colours and patterns are captivating...
Oaxaca in Southern Mexico was just a little far afield from our travels this time. It is a place renowned for vibrant textiles coloured with natural dyes like cochineal made using the ancient technique of extracting pigment from the cochineal bug, a parasite that attaches to the pear cactus and when dried and crushed produces a rich blood red pigment. It's such a fascinating process; 'slow textiles' that are completely natural and handmade. Oaxaca, for now anyway remains underlined and highlighted on my bucket list of places to explore.
Back in the studio, inspiration from Mexico dominates my sketchbook...in particular the animal magic of the suzani textiles.
With a splash of vibrant colour, Otomi patterns like these make up into gorgeous bedspreads and throws perfect for guest rooms.
Samphires design by Karen Brock 2012
Samphires (saliconia bigelovii) is found in marshy areas along the Australian coast. It is currently being investigated as a potential biodiesel source as a crop which can be grown in coastal areas where conventional crops cannot be grown.
Marsh samphire ashes were used to make soap and glass hence it's other old English name 'glasswort".
Samphire is edible and has been used in English kitchens for centuries.
This versatile plant can be found in the shallow edges of Narrabeen lake and inspired my sketches and drawings of plant life resulting in the Samphires fabric design.
The design has evolved over the last few years and is now what you see below; available in charcoal, indigo blue and willow green, printed on environmentally friendly hemp and organic cotton twill and canvas fabrics; suitable for a variety of soft furnishings and upholstery in domestic interiors. Samphires is available printed on our 13oz hemp canvas fabric which is classified by AWTA as Heavy Duty Commercial and is ideal for all sustainable projects that require eco friendly upholstery fabric.
|Sample1. as a papercut screenprint|
Lichen design by Karen Brock 2012
The story behind this design is set in Nundle, NSW in the New England countryside. We travelled the scenic inland road en route to Queensland a few years ago.
Aside from a little fossicking for gold and gems, we foraged in the rain forests of Nundle taking in the general splendour of the different wildflowers, wild grasses, the damp ground and backdrop of the woods of very tall Eucalypt trees. Inspiration was all around and I took many images to refer to at a later time back in the studio.
Lichen softens the hard edges of the Eucalypt bark...'the fluffy bits' with fine wisps spread along the length of the tree.
Back in the studio I played with the image of Lichen in Illustrator, using live trace at various settings and liked the effect of the design in large scale to spread across the width of the fabric.