heirloom |ˈɛːluːm| a family possession handed down from generation to generation
We all have heirlooms. Perhaps a special piece of jewellery inherited from our grandmother, or a piece of furniture passed down through the generations. The heirlooms that mean the most to me are the memories and stories from my life. They are the anthologies of my cultural heritage and the curated recollections that have the ability to take me instantly back to a moment in time.
The story behind the design, is for me, the most exciting part of a print. It gives a real sense of depth to a pattern and tells a tale beyond the surface of a textile print.
The Heirloom Collection is a curation of my memories, some old some new, created into textile prints – a design diary down memory lane.
Find out a little more about each print below
Growing up in the countryside of Kwa-Zulu Natal, I would always come back from playing outside with Blackjack seeds stuck to my socks. They would take forever to pick off, their spiky little bristles gripping tight onto anything that brushed past them. This print is named after that wearisome weed with its tenacious offspring, forever stuck in my childhood memory.
After a trip to India to learn about the traditional art of block-printing, I was impressed by the skill and proficiency of the local artisans as they placed the carved wooden block in exactly the right place, with exactly the correct amount of pressure, creating a perfect print. A job that I found out was actually quite challenging after giving it a try! My Blockout print began as a sketch in my notebook and became the very below par version of how I would compare to the master block printers of Jaipur…overlapping and going in opposite directions! Perfect imperfection.
Granny’s Beads is one of those patterns that began from the memory of when I was a little girl. My granny would let me rummage through her dressing-table drawers, packed with her sparkly brooches & colourful beaded necklaces. I loved the feel of the smooth, cool beads sliding through my fingers. This print is a nostalgic memory of my Granny and her beads, captured on cloth in a simple and stylised way.
My favourite flower is the Pincushion Protea. I love its dainty yet sculptural beauty. We have a protea flower seller that sells cut stems from the back of his old truck nearby our home. He plays his guitar while waiting for customers. I will seldom drive past without stopping for a chat and to pick up a bunch of my favourite pincushions. This design is a traditional polka dot print, but imagine you were looking at the top of the pincushion protea flower instead. That’s Pincushion Polka.
The French word for grapefruit is pamplemousse. Such an endearing word. I adore the citrus scent of grapefruit, their pretty pink orbs of sweet bitterness. This print reminds me of my favourite scent, the circular patterns illustrating the whole and halved shapes of the Pamplemousse.
It’s fun using scraps of paper to create patterns. I was often asked by my young boys to do the tedious cutting out part of their school notes. Boys generally don’t like to do that kind of stuff. It’s boring. I had the paper scraps still on my desk and used them to make Tip Over. It was one of the first prints I created, the irregular geometric cut-out shapes making a tipping over grid-like arrangement which I quite like.
Another print that began on paper. This time as a stencil cut out from paper during a cold winter day in my studio. I was in the mood to design a stripe of some sort, and noticed the shadow created on the floor from a vase of Billy Buttons on my desk. You know those cheerful little yellow pompom flowers that sit perched on their stem like a sunny lollypop? The shadow from the stems and roundish flower head made the perfect stripe…peppered with a button-like spot.