Written by

As promised, to follow is a sneak preview of the Araluen Phase 1 project prior to next week’s launch – we would love to see you there, details at the bottom of post.

This BIG project was initiated by our very own Luise Adams who successfully secured funding from the Government Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources as part of the future designers program in order to facilitate our collaboration with Araluen and Frankie & Swiss.

Araluen is a not-for-profit centre that provides accommodation and day services to individuals with disabilities across Melbourne’s north-eastern suburbs. Their well established Art at Araluen program provides clients with the opportunity to express themselves and build self confidence through the visual arts.

The Art Connects sponsor an artist initiative “furthers the goals and aspirations of Araluen’s Artists. Positive reaction to the work produced at Araluen led to the recognition that our artists have a role to play within the broader mainstream Arts community. “Art Connects” seeks funding from businesses of all sizes and individuals to ensure that artists with a high standard of skill receive the same opportunities and exposure as any other artist” (araluen.org).

Frankie & Swiss is a local boutique textile printing and design studio founded by sisters Michelle and Jacqui. With the help of their 2 tonne stainless steel digital textile printers – Florence and Florence the second, they can custom print onto a range of natural fabrics. They regularly collaborate with artists and designers and are committed to running a low impact sustainable practice that uses natural fabrics, non-toxic inks and engineered print processes that minimise waste. Our very own alumni Rachel McCarthy is the resident textile designer responsible for engineering artwork, repeat development and general design expertise.

In keeping with Frankie & Swiss’ mission to minimise waste, BATD and communication design students were asked to develop a product pitch using principles of zero waste patternmaking.  Students looked to contemporary fashion designers Holly McQuillan and Timo Rissanen for ideas and methods to develop their own product solutions.  The Helping Hand bag (aka bin bag) seen below, demonstrates the simple but effective layout of pattern pieces to eliminate textile waste.


zero waste


Bin Bag product solution designed and developed by BATD students Xenia Alexander and Zoe Baulch and communication design student Annie Armstrong.  The concept was a unanimous choice by the industry judges and taken through to artwork placement, prototyping and production.


The original Florence in action, printing prototypes for the Helping Hand Bag.  Artwork above (red, orange and black) by Araluen Artist Tony Allan and BATD student Carol-Joy Pirie. The blue and white spot combination by Araluen Artist David Cotton and BATD student Nabila Kamarudin.


The BATD program has actively engaged with Industry for a very long time and more recently with the social enterprise sector. The ‘future designers program’ funding model seemed like an ideal opportunity to work with students from other disciplines, specifically; Bachelor of design (communication design) and Bachelor of business Intrapreneurship.

Students were presented with the first design challenge Phase 1: The immediate need – to develop products for Araluen to sell in the lead up to Christmas 2015. Students worked closely with Araluen to develop a range of designed artefacts and promotional collateral for both the artists (clients) and the broader organisation. The co-design approach and multidisciplinary studio resulted in a rich and varied collection of outcomes that both surprised and delighted staff and industry alike.

“At the beginning of the collaboration Araluen welcomed 40 BA Textile Design students to their Diamond Creek studio where students collaborated one-to-one with Araluen artists on art pieces that were re-worked into engineered prints and yardage repeats for digital print outcomes.  Branding strategy and an entire suite of supporting packaging and promotional materials were created by BD Communication students whilst BB Intrapreneurship students undertook the task of devising a plan to advise on the best route to market” (Bright Sparks Catalogue)  using the Big Issue ‘Big Idea’ competition to support their thinking.


Abby and Kylie
Abbey Rich and Kylie Gentle collaborating on artwork engineered by Supinthorn Saengsukyen for the Happy Moment bag.



mia and david

David Waterhouse and Mia Musset (our trusty project management representative) working in achromatic paint. This artwork was scanned and manipulated by Mia in Adobe Photoshop to create yardage, available to purchase via the Frankie & Swiss design library in early December.


 Left: The Happy Moment bag featuring artwork by Huw McCredie (pictured) and Lien Tran, modelled by the lovely Lauren Miller.  Right: Kylie Gentle is off the races with her Happy Moment bag featuring artwork developed by Supinthorn Saengsukyen, Abbey Rich and Kylie herself.  Image Credit: Lara Hynes.


If you are free next Thursday, join us for the Bright Sparks launch, details in invite below, we would love to see you there!


araluen_invite_blue_for web
Hero image: BATD students visit Araluen Artists for a collaborative art making workshop.


Add your comments