Having coveted Marine's work from afar for some time I approached her with the proposal of a collaboration in which to produce her designs onto fabric for a selected number of chairs. I also love the fact that she is local to me, I live in Lewes, she in Brighton, it's so great to work with talented designers who are on my doorstep, making beautiful products together feels serendipitous! Her giclee print 'Orange Chair is destined for my studio wall and available from www.hellomarine.com
We started out discussing chair shapes from my existing stock and it seemed an obvious choice to go for the Ernest Race dining chairs. Funny how these chairs seem to reflect Marine's style even in their original state: simple clean black metal frame upholstered in the original bright blue vinyl, they already looked striking. The chair seat and back panels could be likened to canvases, akin to Marine's illustrated prints.
We discussed digitally printing fabric, this may well be a project for a future date, but for the time being we decided that hand screen printed fabric would be a good way to launch a small number of chairs. I am keen to work with designers using different methods of fabric production. Having worked on a previous project with digitally designed fabric it was nice to embrace a production method at the other end of the spectrum. And of course I was keen to visit Marine's studio in Brighton to see how it is done.
I asked Marine about the inspiration behind her designs: “Mexican art and native patterns have been a major source of inspiration in my work recently. This pattern is called 'Leon'.” Marine has also recently worked with Heals www.heals.com to produce a limited edition range of cushions in three different designs including the 'Leon' design. “ The geometric pattern adds a modern edge to Mexican art through its bold use of colour”.
Her designs are printed onto acetate. They then go through a process of applying a photo sensitive emulsion to the screen to react to the UV light source which exposes the design. Once this is rinsed off Marine applies the ink to the screen and repeatedly swipes the squeegee with a sweeping motion backwards and forwards to push the ink through the mesh onto the fabric.
Lift up the screen and 'voila' you have the beautiful Leon design, hand screen printed onto natural denim in a gorgeous Matisse blue, bright turquoise and bright green.
Next, over to me to work my magic on the chairs.There lies another post:)