Natalie Gerber Studio Residency
This summer I took part in the first ever residency offered with Natalie Gerber and her textile design and printing studio. From May to September I helped her print full widths of fabric with her beautiful designs and learned how to register, mix ink, and develop a repeat pattern. It was way harder than I thought! my original idea, like most, turned out terrible and confusing. I was trying to fit way too much into something that I wanted to be graffic and impactful. For my design I began with a series of ink drawings of Oriental Poppies in my backyard. I don't draw as much as I would like, but when I do I seem to default to dipping pen in ink and following the delicate, complex and unique contours of flowers. Drawing the same flower (or type of flower) over and over from different angles can teach you a lot about linework and composition. I have always been happy with the results and I was really excited to turn my drawings into a repeating pattern.
Printing Natalie's patterns was really helpful and very inspiring for me during this time. I really admire the way her patterns read well both up close and from a distance. In particular her pattern CHEV1. Up close it is a gorgeous chevron, but when you can see it across three metres of fabric it looks like some sort of snakeskin. I love it.
I took this into account when I was developing my Poppy print and I ended up using just one of the flowers instead of all six. I think it was a good call. Natalie made my fabric into cushions using her simple and elegant pattern and they were for sale as a limited edition on her website in both Deep Coral and Danish Red. We are hoping to do a second print run in the spring in a new colour-way, so stay tuned!
I am so happy with how this residency turned out. It has been really beneficial to immerse myself in a completely different creative mindset from my painting practice. Not only did I learn a new technique, I learned a new way of thinking about colour, composition, and scale. I am already seeing a change in my own work that reflects this. For Natalie's take on this experience and to view more of her work, check out her website at www.nataliegerber.ca