Listen up all – A new Australian sustainable textile brand named smith+purton has launched, and we are very happy to be sharing their range and an interview with the designers themselves with you. And if that isn’t enough, they are ALSO offering up a giveaway too. I do love it when we have the complete package!
Working from their somewhat chilly outdoor home studio north of Hobart, is illustrator and graphic designer Zoë Smith and her partner, print maker and furniture designer Daniel Purton. Zoë previously worked as a graphic artist in the garment industry, designing sleepwear for women and children. But it was after having two small pre-schoolers and seeking a better work life balance, they decided to pool their talents and launch a small screen printed textile range. In Zoë’s words, “things can sometimes seem to be simultaneously frantic and running in slow-motion”. Their children do however provide inspiration in the design process and proving useful sounding boards ~ ! (“Mum, why doesn’t this apron have any pockets?”….right, back to the drawing board!).
1.What inspired you to launch smith+purton? We started smith+purton because we wanted to work together, to have creative control over our work, and to make a contribution to the world of which we could be proud. We personally aspire to our home environment being a clean, pared-back space, with carefully selected, designed and made items that we intend to live with for the long haul. With this in mind, we design and make with the hope that others will want to include our products in their own catalogue of long-term treasured possessions.
2. How do you describe smith+purton’s style? We’re still developing our style as we go, but there is a strong illustrative quality to our work so far, and certainly for many of the ideas we have in the pipeline. Zoë comes from an illustration and graphic design background, and these two strands of design are what come through. There will be much more of the hand-drawn look in our upcoming products, but we still love bold slabs of colour and shape as well, and whilst we want to develop a signature style we are also wary of limiting ourselves. The hand-drawn pieces so far we would probably describe as fairly fun and light-hearted: a forest of cake servers and cooking utensils, a city of retro food canisters and drink cartons. We’d like to think of our current cushion designs as bold and funky, a great way to add splashes of colour and geometric shape to a seat. As much as possible we try to design in such a way that gives the viewer a few layers to delve into: a cushion of floating blocks that reveals an abstracted cityscape, a spray of squares that resemble an exploding brick wall.
3. Why is it important to you to use natural hemp base cloths/solvent free inks for your range? We’ve chosen to work predominantly with hemp or hemp-cotton blends because we love that hemp is generally grown without the use of pesticides, as it has few natural insect predators, and requires less water and acreage than a crop of cotton. We use solvent-free, water-based ink with excellent toxicity ratings and hemp-organic cotton, mostly unbleached, to try and minimise the impact of our making new things. It also means healthier working conditions for us! We also love the performance of these materials. The inks give a lovely soft hand feel, rather than sitting on the surface of the fabric like plastic-based inks, and the hemp-organic cotton blend gives you the sturdiness of hemp with the satiny softness of cotton.
4. What can we expect to see from smith+purton in the future? Our current, and indeed first, range consists of printed hemp/organic cotton tea towels in four designs and printed hemp/organic cotton cushion covers (filled with recycled PET inserts when sold in retail outlets) in three designs. We’re also working on printed children’s aprons, adult aprons in a hemp-cotton denim, tote bags, crafter’s fat quarters printed with our own yardage designs, make-your-own crafter’s kits…these are just the current works at prototype and design stage. We’ll also be branching into paper prints on recycled stock, both larger art prints and postcard sets to either send or frame as mini-prints.
5. Share with us your easy eco living tip: Our easy eco living tip would have to be: shop conscientiously. This can be as simple as evaluating how you buy your weekly groceries, such as aiming to bring home as little excess packaging as possible. You can also carry this ethos through to bigger ticket purchases, considering factors such as durability and quality of workmanship. We try and buy things which are well made and designed to last, so that we don’t throw out as often. This is one of our aims as designers as well, to create products that will last both structurally and stylistically, as well as being constructed from materials that have good green credentials. We use recycled card stock for our business cards and swing tickets, and aim to have as minimal packaging as possible for our products.
Thanks to Zoe and Daniel for sharing their beautiful new eco textile range with us. Can’t wait to see where you takeyour business ~ we’ll be watching!
++ GIVEAWAY DETAILS ++
smith+purton are kindly offering up a pair of their hand screen printed tea towels (Kitchen city and Forest)to one of our readers. To be in the running to win, simply leave a comment below by 7pm on Wednesday 27 June AEST! We will advise the lucky winner by email – Goodluck!