Today, we proudly feature on the blog another of our fabulous alumni who’s going from strength to strength (even The Design Files agrees!) – we’re profiling Edith Barrett.
Textile Designer Edith Barrett – all images courtesy the designer
Previously featured on the blog whilst still a student for her Pinkey Square collaborations and other extra curricular activities, Edith has certainly carved out a niche for herself in the couple of years since she officially joined the Australian textile and fashion industry. Joining the team at Longina Phillips in Sydney soon after graduating in 2013, Edith has managed to balance her individual creative practice with the demands of working in one of the industry’s most prolific and high profile studios.
Edith very kindly took time out from an increasingly busy schedule to share her story with us:
Textile designer, Illustrator and fossicker. Stirred by all things botanical and Australian. Sydney based, with one toe in Hobart and the other in Melbourne.
What is your current role?
I am currently a Textile Designer at Sydney print design studio, Longina Phillips. I have also been working on some personal design projects outside of work also including a new range of silk headscarves, Fossick. A project that developed from collecting and sketching in the Blue Mountains and Sydney surrounds to create little wearable head museums!
Tell me a little bit about your background – how did you come to textiles and where has it led you?
I have had an interest in the natural world, collecting and drawing specimens from when I was a little tacker. Excited by the new life and purpose illustrations have when transferred to fabric I studied Textile Design at RMIT in Melbourne, majoring in screen printed textiles. I travelled to Estonia for a study exchange where I completed hands-on field studies at the EKA Art Academy. Secluded in an unfamiliar and exciting new world, I had more time and greater freedom to explore my own style there. Post- graduation I moved to Sydney to work at Longina Phillips and relished weekend opportunities to scout the abundance of new flora for me around Sydney.
What does a typical working day involve?
Part one, a bike ride to work, painting/drawing/designing textile prints at Longina, a ride home. Part two, a night of drawing and pottering on personal projects at home with jazz in my ears and mint slice in easy reach!
Are there particular artists or designers you admire? What is it about them that you admire?
A huge point of inspiration for me is the intrepid paintings and etchings commissioned by explorers and naturalists way back in the day. I have always been drawn to cabinets of curiosities and the more scientific side of botanical illustrations – The life work and dedication of Margeret Flockton, Marianne North and the vast collections of Albertus Seba. I also admire people that are still alive! The work of Sydney artist Caitlin Shearer, banksia veteran Celia Rosser and Russian designer Lesia Paramonova.
How do you stay inspired?
I am constantly inspired, its more having the time to get all my bits and pieces out of my head and into something real. Physical place is what inspires me the most, and a change in scene or a landscape full of new treats to draw always gets my pen twitching!
What are you looking forward to?
There are lots of exciting collaborations on the way. I am teaming up with an talented bunch of textile designers mostly RMIT graduates also, for an exhibition called Sans Souci – An abstract and humorous reimagining of classic travel souvenirs & iconic Australian products. I am also looking forward to a project with emerging label Collie Park Design, Club of Odd Volumes and to finalizing the installation some Australiana wallpapers I have designed. And then…more explorations prints, scarves, and hopefully, some time to work on building The Bush Museum.