Cre­ative col­lec­tion Meet tex­tile artist Deb­o­rah De­vaal

NAT­U­RAL TREA­SURES FOR­AGED ON STROLLS AROUND THE COUN­TRY­SIDE ARE AT THE HEART OF DEB­O­RAH DE­VAAL’S TEX­TILE DE­SIGNS

Home Beautiful - - CONTENTS - WORDS JANE PARBURY STYLING JES­SICA BELLEF PHOTOGRAPHY SUE STUBBS

ALL SORTS OF good things can start with a chat. In tex­tile de­signer Deb­o­rah De­vaal’s case, a ca­sual con­ver­sa­tion with the man who sold her a stand-up pad­dle­board re­sulted in him ask­ing whether she would work with him on a col­lec­tion of lo­cally pro­duced boards.

Fast for­ward sev­eral months and SMO Surf’s new range, which fea­tures Deb­o­rah’s strik­ing de­signs, has launched. “It’ll be fun to go out on the river and see the boards with my de­signs,” she says. It’s quite a change of medium for the de­signer, whose works to date have been hand screen-printed onto tac­tile linen and lov­ingly trans­formed into home­wares such as cush­ion cov­ers, tea tow­els, mar­ket bags and table­cloths.

Born in Hol­land, Deb­o­rah grew up watch­ing her mother and grand­mother stitch­ing up lots of dif­fer­ent type gar­ments – from baby clothes to wed­ding gowns – and also teach­ing oth­ers to sew. “As a child, I loved spend­ing time in my grand­mother’s stu­dio, help­ing with small jobs like sort­ing out fab­rics,” she says. Mov­ing to Aus­tralia at age 20, she main­tained her love of tex­tiles as a hobby for sev­eral years be­fore she en­rolled in a de­sign course at TAFE in 2011.

Men­tored by renowned painter and tex­tile artist Tori de Mestre, Deb­o­rah be­gan to make her own prints and trans­fer them onto high­qual­ity Euro­pean linen. Grad­u­ally, the hobby mor­phed into a busi­ness, which saw Deb­o­rah sell her unique range of prod­ucts on­line at Etsy, be­fore ex­pand­ing to brick-and-mor­tar out­lets through­out Aus­tralia. Now estab­lished at Tori’s cre­ative hub, Calle­mon­dah Stu­dios near Al­bion Park in NSW, Deb­o­rah con­tin­ues to draw her in­spi­ra­tion from her sub­lime sur­round­ing area. “I have a real pas­sion for Aus­tralian flora, as well as the breath­tak­ing land­scape and hid­den trea­sures of the Min­na­murra rain­for­est,” she says.

All of Deb­o­rah’s de­signs have been in­spired by the nat­u­ral world. “Some­thing will catch my eye and spark some­thing,” she says. Trans­fer­ring that vi­sion to fab­ric – or board – can take many weeks, es­pe­cially as Deb­o­rah also de­vel­ops her own colours, mix­ing pig­ments un­til she has just the right hues to suit the de­sign in her head.

Then there’s the added com­pli­ca­tion of mak­ing her pat­terns to suit a fi­nite area. “The screen is only a cer­tain space that you can work with, and you have to fit ev­ery­thing in it,” she ex­plains. “But it also has to be­come a re­peat pat­tern, so when you put the next screen down, it’s like a puz­zle.” Deb­o­rah, who also teaches screen-print­ing work­shops, plans to add linen cloth­ing to her range and has even branched out into stoneware. “I would also like to keep run­ning my work­shops and spread­ing the love for screen-print­ing,” she says. “Hope­fully more and more peo­ple will ex­plore [screen-print­ing] and keep alive this won­der­ful form of art.”

“I RE­MEM­BER PICK­ING UP A BRACKEN LEAF AND IN­STANTLY HAV­ING A VI­SION OF A PAT­TERN. THIS IN­SPIRED MY BRACKEN LEAF DE­SIGN” ~ Deb­o­rah

CLOCK­WISE, FROM TOP LEFT: Deb­o­rah shows off fab­ric in her ‘Banksia Leaf’ de­sign; “The banksia is my favourite flow­er­ing plant of all time,” she says of a framed print in the stu­dio (right); sus­tain­abil­ity is key for the artist, who uses eco-friendly inks on linen that is renowned for its en­vi­ron­men­tal cre­den­tials.

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