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Today’s posting continues our Alumni series – featuring Sharnee Thorpe. 
Sharnee graduated from the BATD in 2011, and landed a role with Karolina York almost immediately afterwards, nearly missing her own degree show opening in the process!
Since then, she’s been one very busy lady, recently branching out into freelance practice. Here’s what Sharnee has to say in her own words:

Image: Sharnee Thorpe

Tell me a little bit about your background – how did you come to textiles and where has it led you?

I’m a textile designer drawn to the wild elements of nature, the mystical tales of flowers and the lifestyle of a bohemian gypsy. Growing up in Northern NSW in a surfing family I was surrounded by art, music and beach culture, this is where is first found my passion for creativity and design.

I first studied design at North Coast TAFE and realized my passion for textiles, which led me to RMIT and my move to Melbourne to make my love of painting and drawing a career. I actually fell in love with knitting and majored in knit instead of print. I did my work placement in Sydney with Romance was Born who I absolutely love and still keep in contact with, while I was there I knitted a shaggy jumper for their Winter 2012 collection.

Image: Sharnee’s Knitted jumper for Romance was Born winter 2012
After Uni I got a job with one of Sydney’s leading print studios, Karolina York and moved again! Working for Karolina York taught me a lot about the fashion industry and they really helped adapt my skills into the real world of textile design. I also lived in Los Angeles for 3 months and worked in the Karolina York LA print studio….LA is fantastic! I have now branched out and I’m currently working as a freelance textile designer….and loving every minuet of it.

How do you define your style?

I guess it’s kind of an entangled mix of hand drawn tribal markings, botanical watercolour paintings and photographic florals.

Image: Sharnee’s hand drawing and painting

Are there particular artists or designers who you admire? What is it about them that you admire?

I’m a big fan of Edwina Buckley a very talented illustrator and textile designer. Another amazing creative that just caught my eye is Byron based artist Jai Vasicek ….I would love any of his artwork for my house –  its a mix of loud colours, collage, pom poms and tassels.

What are the rewards of your job?

The rewards of my job are endless…working with amazing fashion designers to create beautiful prints for their collection, walking into a store and seeing my prints in garments…. I think seeing my print on the catwalk at New York fashion week was a huge highlight. I still love the fact that I can walk down the street and see someone wearing one of my prints. Opening a magazine is always so exciting, looking to see if one of my prints are in there.

Image: Sharnee’s print designed at Karolina York studio for Rebecca Minkoff, New York fashion week, spring 2014
Image: Print designed at Karolina York studio for Bec and Bridge

Image: Print design for Jamie Fame winter 2014

How do you stay inspired?

Staying inspired is easy with a world of design at your finger tips….people always say how do you get inspired and keep coming up with all these designs and I tell them that’s the simple part, its TIME that is always the issue….not enough hours in the day. The biggest thing that keeps me constantly inspired is instagram, there are millions of amazing blogs out there too and I have also just become seriously addicted to pinterest.

What was your career dream or goal when you graduated? Have your expectations changed?

My career dream was something along the lines of what I’m doing now…I always wanted to be a freelancer. I love the fact that everyday is different, that I can take on everything that is thrown my way. One day I’m designing for a men’s street wear label from my beach side apartment, the next day I’m off to a big fashion studio to discuss a design brief. I still think there is more to achieve in my career, I miss being surrounded by amazing creative individuals everyday. I’d like to work in a shared design space when I get sick of my little creative studio by the beach…who knows I might be offered that dream job tomorrow!
Get in touch with Sharnee:

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