in my opinion it should all start with a dream, at least if it has any chance on changing reality. as much as it all sounds très cliché, i have visited monet’s waterlilies in the orangerie almost every time i visited paris, often imagining how it would be if i could surround myself with it’s peaceful pond-scapes permanently without having to face the hordes that come to do the same; the idea of curtaining and upholstery was obviously first on my mind; i often translate artworks through their alternate lives - this is axioma to my analytical mind.
this type of reinterpretation of artwork made the latest art fabric project with bbellamy & bbellamy such a rewarding adventure. some believe starting with the artwork rather than the product is unorthodox but i find it infinitely more interesting than merely transferring an image. it gives opportunity for more creative development and widens the scope of possibilities. in this case the original artwork ‘the legs of your tears’ by ruan hoffmann, executed at warren editions in 2011 went through a long and arduous journey to reach the point of refinement it has achieved as a textile design, and through the capable hands and tastes of textile aficionado david bellamy it was transformed into a limited edition hand printed fabric, of which some is printed on a (found-rather-than-sourced) pale lilac sanderson linen. like with most collaborative projects it needed the right balance between personality, passion, application and accident. the creative process is never simply linear, it requires both like-mindedness and opposing visions; it requires spontaneity and opportunity. so many fabric designs become sterile market decisions with little or no staying power beyond the latest fad. working from hoffmann’s original etching combined with a hands-on process resulted in a fabric with greater dimension and depth. it is a proud example of how artistry and craftmanship can combine to produce a product that captures those aforementioned dreamscapes and become a dynamic part of life; that to me is the essence of living with art… allowing it to do things to you.
although the design had it’s roots in a teal palette and sixties patterning, it has gained a new life through the introduction of gold and a vivid watermelon pink colour way. the combination is counterpoint to the simplified imagery; the linen texture removes the preciousness to allow for a less pretentious angle, not unlike those fabulous vintage gp & j baker fabrics. it has a powerfully nostalgic yet contemporary feel which is dominated by a mid-century aesthetic without being too self conscious or stylistic. the graphic-meets-organic design provides a great deal of movement and texture that makes it a natural match for the more progressively minded designer set.
photos by henrique wilding