“From the very first time I saw Trade the Mark ceramics, I imagined it as a fabric print,” says Milk & Thistle label founder/designer Danielle Atkinson of her collaboration with ceramicist ‘mark-maker’ Christina Mclean. “Christina’s love of raw materials and dedication to slow craftsmanship was the perfect match for our product and we are delighted to work with such a true artisan.”
Milk & Thistle’s latest collaboration presents the designs of ceramicist ‘mark-maker’ Christina Mclean on suitably raw and organic materials – using hand-printing on 100% natural linen. The design explores the juxtaposition of negative space and pattern and perfectly complements the relaxed silhouettes of Milk & Thistle’s summer range. “I knew the hand-drawn etchings would translate perfectly onto fabric and create a beautiful, wearable art range,” says Atkinson.
If the Woven Grafik collection presents as the most organic print Milk & Thistle has showcased to date, that’s not just down to its genesis – as patterns etched in clay thrown and detailed by hand in Mclean’s nearby studios. It’s also reflective of a collaboration that could only have come about via slow percolation in the creative scene of Sydney’s inner west, where both artists work.
“I’ve lived in the inner west for over 20 years now, and I’d noticed Milk and Thistle on King St,” Mclean recalls. “I remember the first time she came to one of my Open Studios – we hit it off immediately. I loved that her store was up the road from my studio, that we are both inner west locals and are dogged about our passions.”
The local connection also extends to the production of the garments – which are all made locally in inner west Sydney. It’s an important distinction for Mclean, whose ethos is the opposite of fast fashion and disposability. “I believe Vivienne Westwood says it best – Buy less, choose well, make it last,” she says. “The transparency in Milk & Thistle’s supply chain is transparent, and here!!”
For Mclean, this range brings together her two creative streams in satisfying resolution. She developed prints in her other guise Christina McLean Design for the fashion industry for over 10 years, this collaboration brings both passions together. “To see one of my ceramic pieces translated onto linen and with Dan’s styling, well it’s come full circle,” she says. “It’s a wonderful process, that makes completes sense.”