The thing about being relatively new in town is you hear names and see faces, but as nothing is familiar, you don’t bring the two together. And then one day, all the loose ends come together and you stand face to face with amazing talent.
This is how I discovered Umbrella Prints. I saw the fabric somewhere on a blog and thought “oh, this is cool!” Then I saw the name Umbrella Prints, realised it is a local business and started following their Facebook Page. Even later I attended a networking event where I met two really friendly and talented women who told me about their fabric design business. And lo and behold, there they were! Amy Prior and Carly Schwerdt, the brains and talent behind Umbrella Prints!
Amy, an artist and textile designer and Carly, a graphic designer both worked with fabric, designs and printmaking before they joined to launch their first hand-printed organic cotton/hemp fabric line in 2006 and they haven’t looked back since.
Along with considerable experience and skill, it is their love of playing which inspires their designs. They share their working space with children’s art studio Nest Studio (run by Carly), where stories, play and creating are central to the approach. For Amy and Carly, a new design is not just about line, form and colour, it is about the story and the feeling it represents.
In 2008 Umbrella Prints created a product with its own story- Umbrella Prints Trimmings. Trimmings are a packet of fabric off-cuts collected from the making of different Umbrella Print products such as cushions, bags or end of rolls. The little snips of fabrics showcased the duo’s design skills; every inch is beautifully resolved; they also inspire people to think creatively about making good use of the off-cuts that traditionally would have ended up in the bin – to encourage a waste-less mindset.
They sold like crazy and in 2009 Umbrella Prints created the yearly Trimmings Competition -inviting clients to send in photographs of the most creative item/thing they could sew, make, do from one packet of Trimmings. The amazing creations from all over the world can be seen on the Umbrella Prints Pinterest boards. Each year there are two winners, and now there is a team of industry judges, which have recently included Irene Hoofs of design blog fame Bloesem, Jodi Levine from Martha Stewart and environmental creative champion Lianne Rossler.
Being environmentally aware is a core value at Umbrella Prinminimisingwaste, using GOTS certified 100% organic base-cloths, printing with water-based inks and using recycled packaging are all a consideration in their approach to design.
Umbrella Prints has recently launched a new range of printed fabrics – Floating World. Six new quilters’ weight 100% Organic Cotton and Five new 100% Organic Hemp/Cotton designs make a small and unique collection inspired by the lightness of being and which are sure to be snapped up by collectors of beautiful fabrics worldwide.
Have you made anything with Umbrella Prints fabrics? Show and tell, please!