Mary Shackman – colour queen

I just came across this page from an old Belle magazine that I had filed away. I’m still struck by the vibrancy of the colours. This piece is entitled “A sound like someone trying not to make a sound“. Very inspiring. Mary Shackman is a Sydney artist and textile designer. She was well known in the 80s for her t-shirt and clothing designs. You can find out more about her here.

Mary Shackman

Baby stationery

Latest assignment for Design Practice : “create a design suitable for a NEW BABY range covering a variety of products such as greeting cards, gift tags, gift wrap”.

I wanted to avoid the twee cliches like images of baby bottles, nappy pins, small animals etc and definitely wanted to introduce some lively colour. Not everyone wants traditional pastels for their newborns.

HELLO BABY! cards and gift wrap










William Morris

I don’t remember when I first became aware of William Morris, his art, craft, and socialist views but ever since I was a young child I have been aware of England and English style, long before I ever went there.

Acknowledged as the father of the Arts and Crafts movement, William Morris is arguably the single most influential designer of the nineteenth century, and is still one of the best known of all British designers. This is due to his extraordinary talent as a pattern designer, his colourful and inspiring life story and to his forceful intellect and personality. Morris was much more than a designer: he was a socialist, scholar, translator and publisher, an environmental campaigner, typeface designer, printer, bookbinder, writer and poet. He was fervently, energetically creative and strove to achieve mastery in a “complex vortex of crafts, art, literature and politics”.

Dismayed by the dehumanising effects of industrialisation, he championed the value of human endeavour and passionately decried the corrupting nature of of manufacturing for profit. He believed that “true artists were people who expressed themselves completely through the material they worked with, benefitting from the full value of their labours”.

I have posted some of his floral fabric and wallpaper designs (categorised under Pattern).

I also love his books and typefaces. Morris set up The Kelmscott Press in order to have total control over the finished product of his reproductions of medieval books – from designing typefaces such as Golden, Troy and Chaucer, to paper production, ink manufacture, setting and binding.


More more information

Wells, N. M., 1996, William Morris, The Life, Times and Work of the World’s Greatest Artists, Brockhampton Press, London UK

Patterns – make my heart sing and soothe my soul

“To see a pattern as simply an ornament, however, is to misunderstand it in a fundamental sense. Pattern exists in the world: it is part of the underlying mathematical structure or design of life. Just as our eyes are capable of making many fine colour adjustments, we are predisposed to create order, to find pattern in what we see. We are always on the lookout for connections, just as one thought leads to another.

To cut yourself off from pattern is like depriving yourself of a sense, or living without music.”

Orla Kiely 2012, Pattern, Hachette UK

Update 23 May 2013

Beautiful coasters I was given on Mothers’ Day. Made of silicon or rubber, they are called Sejjadeh and are reflective of Mediterranean ceramic floor tiles. These are from via Blackbird and Fox in Hawthorn (

coaster3 coaster4 coaster2











OK Stem OK Alpine forest OK acorn_spot_m Norwich square crop Diaper square crop Brother rabbit square crop Bird and anemone square crop Ann Sacks_BlossomAquamarine