the making of material magic
Posted: 23 September 2016
Image courtesy of Anatomy Design The blue and white armchair that Anatomy Design conceptualised for the 2013 Southern Guild exhibition is a breath-taking statement piece that we've long had our eyes on. Aside from the simple lines, impressive size and sleek American walnut and brass frame of the chair, its most eye-catching feature is the fabric design that covers it. Textile designer and fine artist Nicole Levenberg of Aureum Design is the creative responsible for the pattern that adorns this chair, and she's become quite renowned for her limited edition fabrics prints that evolve from her detailed original drawings. The process behind her products is nothing short of fascinating, so we caught up with her to learn more about what goes into making the Mountain print, as it's called, for the Anatomy Design Southern Chair, which is still a top seller.
1. hand-drawing the designFirstly the detailed initial design, which is based on a rocky mountain landscape, is meticulously hand drawn with pen on paper using intricate line work - it exists as an artwork on paper in its own right.
2. creating the repeat printThe hand-drawn image is then scanned into a computer to create a repeat print, taking into account its final application, which determines the nature of the pattern layout as well as its scale. In this case, the 80cm-high, 110cm-wide repeat was created specifically for the Anatomy Design Southern Guild chair.
3. transferring to a silk screenThe repeat pattern is then transferred onto a silk screen using a light-sensitive chemical exposure process. It's now ready for printing - only small batches will be custom hand printed on order.
4. inking the fabricThe screen is carefully laid down onto the base cloth. Water-based fabric ink in the desired colour (in this case blue) is pushed through the screen onto the fabric using a squeegee.
5. repeat, repeat, repeatAs it is a repeat print, the screen must be lifted off and moved over to fit to one side of the part that has just been printed to create a seamless, perfectly matched-up pattern - careful attention to detail is required to create a good print. The ink is again passed through the screen, and this process is repeated until the desired meterage is achieved.
6. heat setting the designThe printed fabric is then heat set using a drying machine that fixes the ink into the cloth. No two final prints will be exactly the same...the art of screen printing is very technical and time consuming when done by hand, but it yields this very special, unique quality.
7. upholstering the chairFinally, the hand-printed fabric is passed on to the upholsterer to cover the beautiful blue and white Anatomy Design Southern Guild chair. If you'd like to own the Southern Guild chair, visit anatomydesign.myshopify.com to place an order.
Find out more about Nicole Levenberg and what inspires her in our October 2016 issue