Snippets. Chats with Creatives.
Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes print designers tick.
This series we are focusing on textile designers as our creatives to get into the nitty gritty of the thing we love the most, textiles and surface design! We have asked a different set of questions relative to this and as always we hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories.
Today we are chatting to Beck Ng from Fabric Drawer, a Melbourne based surface designer and maker who has a passion for pattern! She creates prints often inspired by nature and the things she has seen and done throughout her life, these are available for license or purchase. She also makes things from her printed fabrics and sells them at markets and online here
We love her style, whimsical and folk like florals that look great on our favourite thing, fabric! Her work has been featured in lots of awesome places including the Print and Pattern website, the latest Flow Calendar and she is currently a finalist in the Frankie Good Stuff Awards so you can vote for her here!
Tell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:
I’m a designer, maker, mum and pattern lover from Melbourne. My creative journey started in graphic design, but took a side step into patterns when I started a textiles course. I created the label Fabric Drawer (in 2012) to showcase my love of patterns, for licensing and also for use on my own range of products. I started out designing patterns and didn’t begin making my own products until a few years later.
Having my own business allows me to create my own style of work and turn it into a product that people can purchase and take home (or gift!). So far, I make each and every product myself and have been committed to sourcing materials locally where possible. I also enjoy the process of licensing my work, which means I work with clients to have my designs on their products. I really enjoy being involved in all facets off my creative business; it’s a never ending learning process!
Where do you call home and what is your favourite thing about where you live?
I live in Melbourne, close to the city and I enjoy the convenience of being able to walk, bike or tram to most places.
What 3 words best describe your creative style.
Inspired by nature
Tell us a bit about what kind of studio, space or practice you run? Do you sell online or license your prints, do you do commissions or lots of freelance and what do you like doing the most?
My creative business does a little bit of everything. I license my designs, make products from my work and sell at markets around Melbourne.
I started out in art licensing through an art agent in America. They represented me for almost 3 years and I was fortunate to have my work sold/licensed on products such as greeting cards, party ware, gift bags and wall art. I have learned a lot about the art licensing industry and am finding it an area I’d like to get more and more into. It’s still a big learning curve for me and it’s certainly challenging finding my own licensing opportunities without an agent.
Outside of the licensing, I have made my own collection of products from my patterns. I’ve been doing this for about three years now, starting out very small by sewing a few products and selling them at markets. Initially I didn’t sell very much, but as I kept going, I started to sell a bit more at each market and have now been able to be part of some of the larger design markets in Melbourne. I sew everything myself, which is a very time consuming process, but has been the best way to make small quantities and keep things local for now.
I find licensing and making products both a rewarding process and I think that having my own range of products has helped the licensing side of the business.
Tell us about your creative space, what are your tips for keeping a creative studio space organised? What would your dream space look like?
To be honest I don’t have much of a creative space. I have seen pictures of other creative studios, and I love the idea of a light filled space, with your computer on bare desk and pieces of your work and work that inspires you decorated around the wall and studio. In reality, I work in my bedroom, lounge room, dining room (I have a laptop) and small nook in a room (for sewing). It’s not very glamorous, but I guess I wanted to share that so people realise you don’t need the perfect set-up to get started and be creative. Sometimes constraints are needed so you can focus on creating. That said, I wouldn’t mind the type of studio space I described above!
When designing a new surface design collection or set of work what is your process and how long might you spend on this?
I keep it pretty simple and start out my patterns by drawing on regular plain white paper with a pen or pencil. It’s good to have a bit of a story or theme in mind, but I don’t always start that way. When I feel like I have sketched up enough motifs, I photograph them and bring them into my computer to start tracing them in Illustrator. I love using Illustrator because of the flexibility it allows to scale and change colours. From there I start working on the hero print, then build out the secondary and simple coordinates. I try to have a minimum of 5 patterns per collection. I have been known to put together a collection within a couple of weeks when I’m under a bit of a deadline, but it could take a month or months if I take my time.
Which part of the creative process is your favourite and why?
I really enjoy the process of piecing a surface pattern together. It’s feels a bit like a jigsaw puzzle; fitting each motif into the right space and then working on the right colour palette.
What would you say is the biggest challenge when running your own creative business, what is your favourite and least favourite part?
Time! There is never enough time. I don’t work on my business full-time and never have. I have a part-time job as a graphic designer, sometimes I freelance too and have two young girls to look after. Usually I would have to work on my creative stuff when the kids are in bed, or if I have any small snippets of time throughout the day. I would love to focus on my creative business more, but the reality is I still need some bread and butter income.
My favourite thing about having my own business is that I can create whatever I like. As a graphic designer, you’re bound by what the client wants, so having my own work gives me the freedom to express myself creatively.
My least favourite part is social media. I feel like it’s a bit of a time suck, and am spending more time on it then I’d like. I do try to post regularly to share my work (because opportunities can come out of social media) and build my brand, but I kinda wish I didn’t have to.
What advice would you give an aspiring textile designer in today’s challenging and competitive environment? Are there any resources you would recommend or websites that you couldn’t live without?
I feel like being a creative is a bit of a labour of love, so you need to be passionate about what you do, because it’s not a huge money maker for most. Persistence and consistency is important. Keep creating consistently and by the end of the year you’ll have a good body of work. With licensing and collaborations, it can be a disheartening process, because it’s not that easy to sell or license your work, especially when you are starting out. Often you’ll contact companies and they don’t even respond! But keep persisting and asking around, while continuing to build up a stronger folio of work and through this hard work, things can start to happen.
Facebook groups can be immensely helpful connecting with other surface designers. I’m in a few surface pattern / licensing groups and it’s great way to get some advice. I’m part of a meet-up group of other designers who are specifically interested in licensing their art. Skillshare is a great resource for doing some short courses at a reasonable price. I did the Make It In Design Module 3 course, and I felt that was helpful to get me started. There are quite a few online courses, but they can be costly. I’d probably recommend starting with free or low cost options first and see where that takes you, before investing in an expensive course.
What projects or collaborations from last year stuck out, good or bad and what is coming up over this year that you would like to plug!
I loved being involved in some of the bigger design markets, such as Markit, Finders Keepers and Makers and Shakers market last year. It’s great to be amongst other creatives and interact with customers directly, even though I’m quite an introverted person. It’s a lot of work though, preparing for markets when you make everything yourself, so I haven’t planned any markets for this year so far.
I also really enjoyed working with Apiary Made on their range of beeswax wrap designs. It’s been great to work with a local business whose values sustainability and ethically made products. I have collaborated with another couple of brands, but I will share the details when the product comes out as I’m not sure when this will be happening. Licensing can be a bit of a tough road, but I’m hoping I get to work with more clients in the future.
Where would you like to see your work featured?
I would love to have my own range of fabric one day. I love the idea of seeing what people would make with my own fabric.
You can find out what Beck from Fabric Drawer is upto: Website, Facebook, Instagram
We have another very exciting addition to our fabric range which we are dying to introduce. Please meet our newest polyester fabric, the Chevy! We think this will be a particularly exciting launch for those with budding summer fashion projects!
Chevy is a polyester / spandex blend (92% polyester / 8% spandex) which provides the fabric with a little stretch. The small amount of stretch provides the fabric with some give, making it a really comfortable fabric to wear.
The fabric has an off-white base, with a chevron weave and a matte finish. The fabric’s composition and finish, results in strong colour reproduction when printed, making it an excellent choice for projects with bright and deep colours.
Chevy is a mid-weight 170 GSM fabric that is both durable and smooth to touch. Chevy is ideal for fashion garments designed to have structure to their form, whilst still being super comfortable to wear. We think the Chevy will be perfect for light suit jackets and blazers, bomber jackets, pants, culottes, shorts, skirts and dresses.
Whilst we think this fabric is most suitable for fashion applications, it’s durability, printed colour results and resistance to creasing would also make it a great choice for some interiors and events projects, such as tablecloths and banners.
Sample swatches of Chevy are available now through our Sample Pack Order Form. Get in touch with any projects you think our Chevy would be great for!
Snippets’. Chats with Creatives. We are back with series two! Here at Digital Fabrics we love everything print, pattern and colour and we love to know what makes designers tick. This second series is all about asking some fun and different questions and learning about the inspirations and ideas behind the artist and their work. We hope to inspire others by sharing snippets of these creative stories. We gave the artists and designers featured a varied and different set from series one list of questions to choose from so we will learn something new from everyone involved, should be fun!
Today on snippets we are talking to Stacey from Kalaii Creations who is an artist and designer who loves working with watercolour, creating textile art, and helping creative brands with their surface pattern and design needs as well as teaching workshops! She has a flair for colour and a style that is elegant, playful and enchanting.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your brand/label name what your creative practice is, how and when you began:
My name is Stacey and I established Kalaii Creations in 2016 when I was on maternity leave with my second baby. I needed a little bit of me time, and participated in a creative workshop and from there I was hooked! My creative streak was reignited. I was always very interested in drawing in my school years, and did art through high school, but lost track of it all during my later years. I am so glad to have found it again! I started by making an Instagram page, and sharing some of my artwork, and soon had orders coming in for custom pieces and I just decided to explore it all, and it has opened up a lot of doors for me. Now I host creative workshops with Workshop Brisbane, The Craft Parlour on the Gold Coast, in shopping centres, and I am soon to help teach a textile design workshop, with you here at Digital Fabrics which I am very excited about! Currently I focus on watercolour art, graphic design, textile design and creative workshops ranging from knitting, watercolour art and textiles. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future.
Where do you call home?
I have been based in South Brisbane, Queensland, for most of my life (I moved from NSW when I was just a baby).
What 3 words best describe your creative style.
Feminine, Boho inspired, Vibrant
Which part of the creative process is your favourite and why?
I love the initial stages of creating, when a client comes to you with their vision, and their inspiration, and you get a rush of exciting ideas and ways in which you can help them. I love being able to see what I will paint in my mind, and then how I can manipulate that in Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator and then still always be pleasantly surprised at the finished result.
What does a typical creative day look like for you? How do you stay on plan and organised?
A typical day for me is a little bit of a hot mess actually! I have two kiddies under 5, and I also work at a Brisbane based university for 3 days a week and thus arrange my creative design work at varying stages around this. Mostly I work at night, once the kiddies are asleep and I host my creative workshops on the weekends. I stay on top of my workload by completing little bits every day, and stay organized by using a Passion Planner. I write down all my clients needs and deadlines, and I also write down all the personal designs, and tasks I want to achieve within my business, which keeps me focused!
What would your dream creative project look like? Who or what is your dream project, client or job? Tell us about why you would love to collaborate with them and what you find inspiring about their work.
I would love to further explore the possibilities of having my designs feature more on active wear and swimwear out in the market place. I would love to be custom creating designs for people left right and centre! I find it so exhilarating when you see your artwork making a product pop! I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with Sarah from @saltysparrowbikini on her new line release coming later in the year. I would also love to work with @midoribikinis. I love their designs and aesthetics and feel my designs would fit well with this brand.
Which other artists/ designers/ makers, artists or creative people are you enjoying at the moment?
I am currently in love with @jessswan_art I love the colours she uses, the shapes, tones everything! It is mesmerizing watching her work!
Tell us about your creative space, what are your tips for keeping a creative studio space organised?
It is my dream to soon create a creative space. Currently I work from my dining table (I know there are many of you out there just like me) and I also have a very small old fashioned house which does not leave a lot of room for arts and crafts and product storage. I use a combination of storage draws and desk space to stay on top of my organisation at home. I am hoping soon to extend our house for multiple reasons, and I may just sneak in a little studio while I am at it!
What has been your proudest creative business achievement to date?
My proudest creative business achievement to date and a dream come true is an upcoming swimwear design project I have been able to assist with. Sarah from Salty Sparrow Bikini (@saltysparrowbikini), has chosen my designs to feature on her first swimwear line which I am over the moon about! I am also super excited to be working with Jemma from Newymummyblogger on the designs for an upcoming project she will be releasing soon. But I will keep that hush hush for now Another major achievement for me is being able to work so closerly with Digital Fabrics to help teach textile design classes. I keep pinching myself about this amazing opportunity!
Tell us about how you get your creative juices flowing, what is your process?
I love speaking with new clients about their design ideas and inspirations, as often their ideas require me to push my artistic and creative boundaries each time. They make me think outside the box and think of ideas/combinations that I would not have ventured into, if it was not for their influence! This is my favourite part! Then I usually research their inspiration and competitors to get a vibe for the type of project I am working on and then I get to creating. I usually see the end product first, and then work towards creating the elements to bring this to reality.
What projects or collaborations from last year stuck out, good or bad and what is coming up this year that you would like to plug!
I have loved working with Workshop Brisbane, The Craft Parlour, Sarah and Jemma, and also Lauren from @cocokini_ (another bikini designer who has also featured my designs)
I am super excited to further develop my relationship with Digital Fabrics and help by teaching textile design class for beginners, and I look forward to printing some more fabrics for some special pieces I have in mind. Watch this space! My next venture is the release of a cute little day clutch, great for the beach, where I have collaborated with Kate from @blue_eyed_girl_creations who has helped to sew the clutches for me. I can’t wait to see what people think of them.
You can follow what Stacey is upto: Website, Instagram, Facebook
Flowers and lemons and popsicles oh my!
During winter it’s just so easy to find yourself drawn to a neutral colour palette and minimal prints. To help unshackle you from the unlikely effects of the cold we’ve launched a new range of playful textile prints which are anything but drab. Introducing our Garden Party collection!
For this range we wanted to use sweeter than pie motifs, a mixture of neutral and bold colours and a consistently light-hearted theme.The quirky designs all began on paper, using pens, pencils and watercolours to create a variety of textures and lines. The artwork was then manipulated, edited and layered digitally to resolve and polish the designs.
Figurative designs can sometimes feel a bit too kitsch. To avoid this we combined bold colours with softer hues and mixed both textural and minimal elements within the same design. Negative space was also played around with, and as a result is varied across the designs, as they range from heavily detailed to simplistic.
The collection delivers a series of grown up novelty prints for the young at heart with whimsical designs and a statement colour palette! Designs are available in our Fabric Shop now! We’ll be keeping a keen eye on what you create with these prints, so get in touch if you have a project in mind!
We’ve been really committed of late to sourcing gorgeous new fabrics to offer all of our customers, and are very pleased to introduce the second NEW addition to Digital Fabric’s polyester range – the Whisper. If you’ve been dreaming of a fantastic alternative to silk, with a hint of stretch and zero sheen, then this dreamy fabric’s for you!
Whisper is a light-weight fabric with a matte finish and a bright white base, which provides excellent colour reproduction when printed. The fabric’s smooth textured surface makes visible the fine details of designs making it perfect for prints with lots of elements and / or texture.
The fabric is a polyester / spandex blend with a good amount of stretch, and has an ultra-fine surface. Whisper’s feel and flexibility makes it a perfect choice for fashion garments and accessories as it is really comfortable to wear, and soft to touch. Whisper’s slinky, liquid-like drape makes it a great matte substitute for silk, and is most similar to our Dilly fabric. We think this fabric will be just perfect for scarves, skirts, dresses, blouses, lounge-wear, undergarments and soft accessories.
Sample swatches of Whisper are available now through our Sample Pack Order Form. Get in touch with any projects you feel the Whisper would be fabulous for!
Lately we’ve been committed to finding gorgeous new fabrics that we can offer to all of our customers! After plenty of research, sourcing and testing we are very excited to announce that we have a NEW fabric! Introducing Digital Fabrics’ newest polyester fabric – the Oliver. For those looking for a new fashion fabric the Oliver is definitely something you’ll be interested in.
The Oliver is a lightweight, 127 GSM Polyester Spandex blend (95% Polyester / 5% Spandex), which provides the fabric with a little stretch, making it a really comfortable option for fashion garments. Oliver has a bright white base with a matte surface, which results in strong colour reproduction when printing! The fabric is breathable, super-soft to touch and has an excellent drape.
This fabric is ideal for fashion applications, especially for those designing easy to wear, relaxed garments. Oliver is perfect for dresses, skirts, tops, soft accessories and loose-fitting Activewear.
Sample swatches of the Oliver are available now through our Sample Pack Order Form. If you’ve got an idea you think the Oliver might be perfect for, we’d love to hear from you!
We’re very pleased to announce that we can finally share the new prints that we’ve been working on. Introducing our latest designs: Hand Dyed and Green Lily! For these new prints we’ve drawn inspiration from the ‘wearable art’ trend! Whilst the term can be used broadly, when it comes to print design think heavily textured dry brush strokes, pools of inky watercolours, emotive gestures of line and colour and scratchy pencil illustrations.
To create our first print we experimented with tie-dying techniques to create a watercolour effect. To steer away from the ultra-colourful, psychedelic designs that tie-dye is often associated with, we wanted to create a print that felt more abstract.
The final design chosen was one with sporadic ink blots, plenty of negative space and a softer colour palette of denim blues and muted corals. The design’s organic feel and chosen colours gives the print a contemporary feel that we think would work beautifully for both fashion and interiors.
With the success of using tie-dyed fabric as a way of creating a repeat pattern we then tried painting directly onto silk using batik techniques. For this print we wanted to create floral motifs that felt looser in their form than those used in our other floral designs.
The dyes allowed not only for the creation of flowing motifs, but also an inky, spontaneous feeling background. The final design has a free-flowing, tropical quality, and is desperate to be made into gorgeous wardrobe staples such as dresses, trousers and head scarves.
Both designs were resolved as repeat patterns by scanning the original dyed fabric, and then manipulating the artwork digitally. These photographs show the repeats designs digitally printed onto our silk-like fabric Dilly, which beautifully maintains the hand-painted quality of the original artworks.
Whether you like prints that are crisp and minimal, or big, bold and colourful, the wearable art trend is certainly one to try! These prints are now available for purchase in our Design Library.
Have you been dreaming up projects or designs that would be just perfect for a super soft linen? Now you can bring those ideas to life as we have a very exciting new fabric to introduce to our Natural Fabrics selection – the new Linen Deluxe!
Not to be confused with our very popular Cotton Linen fabric, the Linen Deluxe is a mid-weight 220GSM fabric that is 100% linen. It has a bright white base making it perfect for optimum colour reproduction when printing. We just can’t get enough of how our test print designs look on the fabric’s surface.
The texture and drape of the Linen Deluxe perfectly embodies simplicity and elegance, whilst its softness makes it ideal for both furnishings and apparel. We think it would be ideal for shirts, blouses, pants, cushion covers, curtains, tablecloths and napkins.
Sample swatches of the Linen Deluxe are available now using our Sample Pack Order Form. We can’t wait to see what you print on this gorgeous addition to the Digital Fabrics family.
We’re launching a new range of prints at Digital Fabrics! It’s been a little while since we brought you our last set of designs and this time we took a different approach to bringing you new prints. Rather than focus on one cohesive collection, we’ve had three artists create three different prints for you just in time for Mother’s Day!
The collection of prints range from flirty to psychedelic to sophisticated, and feature both hand-painted illustration and digital manipulation. With three very different styles represented, we’re sure there’s something for everyone.
If you’re needing fresh ideas on what to spoil mum with this Mother’s Day, we’ve got you covered and have put together a few DIY ideas that we just know you’ll both love. A custom made gift speaks volumes, and is guaranteed to be a winner with mum this year!
Got accessories in mind for a mum who always looks fabulous? How about making a gorgeous and versatile scarf? For something bold or bright you might want to use either our Roxy or Dilly fabrics. If you were thinking of something a little more sheer we would recommend our super soft Chiffon.
If you think home-wares might be better suited, how about a tablecloth? Our Cotton Linen is an absolute dream for a decadent feeling table setting and our Waratah and Panama fabrics are excellent polyester options for durability. You could also make napkins to match! And we can’t forget the ever perfect gift of a stunning, custom-made cushion! It could be the perfect opportunity to try out our new Organic Cotton Canvas that we’re very excited to introduce! Of course our Cotton Linen, Waratah and Panama fabrics are also perfect for cushion covers too.
So whatever your, or your mum’s style, there’ something here to get you started on any handmade Mother’s Day gifts you might have been thinking about. Let us know how we can help you realise your next DIY textile project!
These prints are now available for purchase in our Design Library!
Exciting news from us at Digital Fabrics, we have launched a new textile collection! This time we dove head first into a private collection of vintage European textiles and found just the inspiration we needed! The Boho-Chic trend is one that pops up time and time again, and it’s for good reason. We just can’t get enough of bohemian patchwork, colours and textures, and have designed a range of prints heavily inspired by collected embroidery treasures.
Whilst the boho design aesthetic is undoubtedly fabulous, the statement style can be a little overwhelming for some. We wanted to create timeless re-imaginings that pared-back the heavily embellished designs typical of bohemian textiles, resulting in versatile and accessible designs.
Elements of vintage textiles were scanned, redrawn and redesigned to create the Babushka collection. Finding the balance between streamlined design and textured details was key in maintaining the essence of folk embroidered pieces whilst still giving them a more contemporary feel, and negative space became as important a feature to focus on as the motifs and designs themselves.
The collection features both flirty, feminine motifs and minimal, geometric design elements, whilst using bold contrasting colours to maintain a crisp aesthetic throughout the range. The range revamps vintage embroidered textiles, resulting in elegant, graphic designs that can be used for so much more than the blouses and table-wear that we so often associate with the bohemian style. We cannot wait to see what you create with these prints!
The Babushka Collection is available for purchase in our Design Library!