Having rediscovered her love of painting during the 2020 lockdown, Nancybird Founder Emily Wright returns, bringing Wildflower, our latest stunning feature print, to life.
The local wildflowers of early summer in South Gippsland are Emily's muse as she explored mixing inks and acrylics in a loose, harmonious style that translates onto the fabric of soft, wearable styles to be worn in comfort all summer long. Explore the abundance of late spring in South Gippsland with Emily as she shares her inspiration for painting and making time to create.
What are your first memories of creating?
I remember loving making books as a little kid – I loved stapling the pages together and drawing the front cover… Later on, at uni, I learnt bookbinding, and my daughter now loves making books too!
You have been creating more of the textiles for Nancybird lately. How does that feel?
It has been a bit of a revelation, actually! In 2020 with a bit of space from the day to day of the studio, I nurtured and revisited an art practice, which led to the new home collection and this new summer capsule, Wildflower.
I find the juggle of small business where you need to be across most things, managing staff and the constant solving of issues to be quite a different headspace from painting, which is perhaps why I put it aside for so long! We worked for a long time with the talented illustrator and textile designer Sarah Strickland, who created our textile designs for a number of years.
I have to say I love this aspect of creating and have many other works in progress for future collections.
Can you explain your style of work and how has it developed over the years?
I’m drawn to nature, so that is always what I’m painting. I love the space of landscapes and the detail of florals. I’m not sure how to describe my style! I’ve been working in acrylics, watercolours and inks, and I like using references as a point of “truth” and being expressive at the same time.
When you create for Nancybird do you set yourself a brief?
I have a rough brief in my head, but it’s nice when it’s a bit loose and free!
I’m always thinking of the context – where it’s sitting in the season, the colour palette.
With a collection that has multiple prints, like the HOME collection, it’s a bit like a jigsaw puzzle – there needs to be balance and harmony of the different works. That can get a little more complex - in a fun way!
Can you share your process with us?
I might do some quick planning, especially if there are some constraints around the work – like it needs to be a repeat or bedlinen where placement is important. I’ll work on one at a time, maybe after I’ve worked on a range plan using photos, references, colour palettes.
What is something you do that inspires your creativity?
Going for walks and taking photos. In Northcote it’s the beautiful front gardens and the Merri Creek or Yarra, and in Walkerville in South Gippsland where we have a little place it’s along the coast or in the heathland. I revisit these photos and paint from them. Other creative sources are, especially during lockdowns, online - where Pinterest and Flickr are amazing! So much excellent photography – if I didn’t have good enough detail on my phone photos of a particular flower or plant, Flickr will always be able to fill in the gaps!
Can you share your inspiration behind the Wildflower?
This work to me is the abundance of late spring to early summer in South Gippsland – everything is wet after the winter rains and the warming sun means everything just bursts out. It’s a beautiful time. In the art work there are grevilleas, wattle, banksias, everlasting daisies, lilly pillies, and egg and bacon flowers!
I’ve used inks in this work, which I enjoy – that transparent colour and the tonal washiness I love and translate so beautifully onto textiles.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just started designing the leather and canvas range for next Spring Summer! We’re adding more and more canvas pieces which I’m really liking – I love well made leather but I think using a little less leather is an excellent change.
And have just finished the new home collection prints – the strike offs (the first prints we see from the printers, to check colour and scale) are starting to come in, which is very exciting.