You might remember some of my blog posts from South Africa in 2015 where I was stunned by the unique plant life surrounding me at every turn. Cape town hillsides along the coast were covered by the South African Fynbos, a floral kingdom with a staggering amount of endemic plant species and a higher level of biodiversity than the Amazon rainforest. Parts of the Fynbos had been decimated by bush fires before I arrived and although the charred and blackened shrubs were shocking to see at first, it was fascinating to learn that this type of plant actually benefits from a regular burning, with the fires recycling nutrients back into the soil to feed the dormant seeds and allow them to grow.
The light was so interesting in South Africa, highlighting the texture of the spiky stems in silhouette.
Aside from the many, many photographs I took away from walks in the Fynbos, we also spent some time on the beach where there was a wide variety of tangled beaded seaweeds washed up on the shore to snap away at. Here’s my son Leo, beach-combing!
Back to 2017 and it’s easy to see how long it takes from the moment of inspiration to a design coming to fruition – many of these plant images were used as the basis for the new Indigo Patchwork bed linen. I decided to try a new technique to create the original artwork for these designs – instead of screen-printing pigment onto fabric or paper, I printed using a type of solution that, when exposed, creates these beautiful bleached out effects.
We also played around with watercolours on a pale ground. The inks bled out onto the paper and fabric pieces below creating different tones from deep midnight through denim blue down to the palest stone.
After days of experimentation, I carefully stitched selected patches together and found that the result had an organic beauty to it. By using so many different types of fabric to create the patches, the bed linen is rich in texture and shade. Open-weaved linens that were bleached took on a thatched effect, and I used my signature ombre dyes to add an extra dimension.
Come and see the final product here!