Angie shares some insight into the world of Materialistic with FK.
Tell us about Materialistic and what inspired you to create it.
Materialistic creates original hand screen printed pieces for the home in bright graphic colours. The range includes teatowels, napkins, table cloths, wall canvases, cushions, canvas bags, T-shirts, scarves and a soft toy for kids called ‘Scrappy’. All products are made using only the best quality natural fibres (100% cotton and 100% linen) with each item individually screen printed by me in my Sydney studio.
Screen printing was initially just an indulgent hobby, an escapism to long hours as a branding graphic designer (nine years here and nine years in London). Then after years in the graphics industry, I was hankering to create something tactile and long standing not just ‘disposable design’ (which corporate graphics can be at times). I had lots of ideas for prints and textile designs, scrap books of inspiration and Materialistic was born from that. We spend so much of our life working, and I really didn’t want to waste it not doing something that I really loved. I also knew that if I didn’t give this idea a go I would be kicking myself with my zimmer frame when I was 80.
I design things I would like to see in my own home. Create designs that made an impact, were so lovely or interesting that people just had to buy it. Basically, “Lovely stuff you just have to have”.
What is your background in design and what lead you to textiles?
As I mentioned, years in graphic design with a backlog of ideas that weren’t going to leave my sketch books unless I did something about it. I was taught by my Mum from a very early age the value of quality fabrics and how they sew, fall and sit better. But I haven’t always worked with textiles being more paper based for the bulk of my career. I have always collected wonderful fabrics from all over the place: Morrocan rugs, Irish linen, Greek embroideries from my travelling days, plus I have drawers and drawers full of inspiration: vintage japanese silks, american quilting samplers, and cottons from great locals like Publisher Textiles.
Another huge attraction to fabric was simply it’s versatility – a piece of fabric has so much potential – it could be a skirt, a wall hanging, a cushion, a teatowel, a bag… Then add screen printing to that equation and you have limitless possibilities for textile designs.
How has the journey been since starting your label?
The past two and half years have been spent getting the business off the ground: setting up a studio space with all the equipment, designing a profusion of patterns, sourcing and trialing fabrics, working my pink (no less!) sewing machine into the early hours, learning the hard way about fabric inks on hots days, developing and expanding the product range and launching an online shop.
In December 2007 I launched the first range at Paddington markets which went really well – was very encouraging to have people respond so well to my products and my online shop is going great. It is hard work, juggling all the roles – designer, worker bee, fabric sourcer, administrator, accountant but its great (and so satisfying) being your own boss, working on your own instinct and experience.
What inspires your work?
My designs are all quite personal, inspired by what is going on my life at the time and what I am excited by. Colour definitely excites me – that vibrant mood altering colour. Colour that uplifts your mood and makes you feel good. Whether its in new bright patent leather shoes from Melbourne, bird feathers, tram and telephone lines against startling blue sky, the bloom-filled Magnolia tree I drove past last week, the veggie shop, the beach.
I love the diversity and variety that you find when you go looking. Whether its travelling or just reading something new. Indian colour, Scandinavia simplicity, Japanese fabrics from the 20s, groovy 70s Finnish ceramics.
What do you think is most unique about Materialistic.
I think what the most unique thing is my colour palette – it’s very vibrant and eye catching. I print on great quality fabrics with completely original designs so there is real uniqueness and character to the pieces.
I like stuff that isn’t just decoration – it may look fabulous but there’s also something else going on. I try to include that element in my designs – I have a new design which at first glance is just a lovely circle of Monarch butterflies, but look closer and the pattern on its wing pattern is actually fish, shells and leaves. Or like the ‘Good Homemaker’ teatowel – at first glance is just nice pretty swirls and then you actually read what it says.
I also hand screen print everything myself whilst that is not unique, customers really respond to – ‘meeting the maker’ and buying not just a teatowel but piece of art and craft.
Where would you like to see Materialistic?
Generally, in more homes – brighten up people’s kitchens and lounges. I would liked to be stocked in some top of the line design shops like Collect (Object Gallery). Design fabric for Akira and Paul Smith.
Expand my studio space, get a bigger printing table, employ someone to help me with the admin, accounts and deliveries, so I have more time to focus on designing. And eventually my own shop: big open space with loads of character, ceiling-high book shelves and big drawers filled with goodies. Where I also serve really amazing coffee. Oh and finally get a dog who comes to work with me. Bit of cliché possibly but hey ho.