Natural selection

We talk rainforests and robin-egg blue with the winner of Bolt of Cloth’s annual textile design competition, Lisa Baudry.

Having grown up an arty kid, Lisa Baudry saw her first ‘real’ painting (with brushstrokes, not a reproduction) when she was 17, on a class trip to an art school. It made a big impression and there was no going back – she was hooked.

Lisa, how did you come to be working as an illustrator? After studying graphic design, I got jobs painting ceramics and working as a designer for Auckland’s Lopdell House Gallery – now Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery. I took on my first commercial graphic design role in my 30s, then went on to establish my own studio, doing illustration and graphic design for a range of clients. When my daughter was born, I took a break, then moved into editorial illustration and home décor design when she started primary school.

ABOVE The winning textile designs have been translated onto linen-blend cushion covers by Bolt of Cloth. Lisa wears a skirt by Beth Ellery; she designed the manuka flower print exclusively for the fashion label.

What types of jobs are you usually commissioned for? Most recently I’ve had some editorial commissions through local magazines and worked with a publisher doing their book covers and design work. I’m also starting to get opportunities to design prints for use in apparel and home décor.

What was your inspiration for the Wilderness collection you created for your Bolt of Cloth Textile Design Awards entry? Mostly New Zealand rainforests. There’s a stand of bush at the end of the road I live on, so I took a few leaf samples, then painted them in my studio. Our own native garden was also a source of inspiration – one of the coprosmas I walk past daily features in the collection.

ABOVE Lisa spends a lot of time working with black ink. “I like the gradation of tone I can get, and it’s also perfect for scanning to convert to digital art. My digital tools are as essential as my traditional ones. I work up a lot of painterly textures and use them in conjunction with drawing and ink work.”

Did your drawings have to evolve much to work as textile designs? The collection I submitted was slightly different, with more coral and salmon pinks. Bolt of Cloth know what their customers like, so this helped guide the final colour choices. We printed samples of a number of designs and colour ideas I had, then chose colours their customers love. Apparently robin-egg blue is very popular; in fact, a room in my own house is painted in Resene Robins Egg Blue from one of the Karen Walker collections, and I never get tired of it.

What projects do you have coming up? There are new fabric designs in the works, which is very exciting. I’d love to develop more textile collections and I dream of one day working with some of the big names in fashion. I made a painting of a butterfly wing two years ago that was almost exactly the same as a print Marni had in their Fall 2016 collection, so I took it as a sign to keep going in this field. I hope to exhibit at some textile and design trade shows in Europe in early 2019 and see where it leads me.;

Interview Alice Lines
Photography Michelle Weir

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