Hold onto your hats ladies and gents as there is a new textile designer in town, and I LOVE her work! Karen Johnston of The Print Society launched her textile homewares business just a few months ago. Over the past few weeks we have been talking on and off as she has been making her wonderful cushions and pom pom sling bags for the State of Green store, and she is an absolute delight.
Born in Sydney to an editor and a draftsman, Karen has over ten years experience in textile printing and design. She first studied Fashion Design at East Sydney TAFE, and later returned to study Textile Design and Printing. Karen uses hemp, yak (oh yes) and organic cotton base cloths, and hand screen prints bright and punchy designs upon them.
I particularly love the different prints and colours on each side of the cushions ~ you can change the look of your decor in a simple flip of a cushion, and their inners are made from sustainable PET (recycled plastic bottles)! Coinciding today with the introduction of The Print Society’s homewares in our online store, is our interview with Karen conducted just this afternoon – so it’s straight hot off the press!:
1. What inspired you to enter the field of textile design? The inspiration to create my own fabrics came years ago when I was studying Fashion Design at East Sydney TAFE. I found that the range of textiles available in Australia was quite limited and it was almost impossible to ensure exclusivity as a younger designer. I knew the basics of screen printing so found myself playing around with different ideas. A few years later I returned to study Textile design and haven’t looked back.
2. You use hemp, yak and organic textiles in your range. Why did you decide to use these textiles? Natural fibres are so much nicer to print on! They are beautiful to handle and have qualities that synthetic fibres just can’t emulate. However, apart from reasons based around aesthetics and manufacturing, I like to use hemp and organic cottons due to the environmental and economic benefits which result primarily from the nature of the crop’s growth cycles and harvesting techniques.
3. What have been your biggest challenges starting a new fabulous business? All of The Print Society’s products are screen printed and made by hand, making production efficiency a difficult balance to strike. So my focus is on reducing time wasters and improving processes wherever possible.
4. What can we expect to see from The Print Society in the future? I’m putting a lot of work into research and experimentation at the moment. I have a strong interest in art and culture, so you’ll see the focus start to move in that direction. I’m also looking at ways to take a more ‘free-form’ approach with screen printing, meaning that there’ll be less use of the rail for repeat printing, and more random placements during the process.
5. Share with us your easy eco living tip: For me it’s all about reducing waste. At home my partner and I are committed recyclers and composters. In the studio, nothing goes to waste, and the furniture was sourced from The Bower Co-op in Marrickville whose mission is to reduce the amount of ‘hard waste’ going into landfill through reuse and resale. Yes my furniture is amazing!
Thanks Karen ~ we look forward to keeping an eye on what you come up with next, and may just have to get a sneak peek at some of those wonderful furniture finds.