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Textile designer, Stalley, showcases unique Tasmanian designs inspired by her home state

16 June 2017

Designer Spotlight: Stalley Textile Co.

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Tazzie Textile Designer, Stalley: ‘I have always been intrigued by how things are put together. The creative process definitely does soothe the soul.’

Hi there, my name is Stalley; yes, it’s unusual, isn’t it? Stalley (pronounced Sally with a T, or stallion without the ‘on’) was my grandmothers’ maiden name but it is my first name. I have used it as my business name as well so that I don’t have to explain the meaning behind both. My company consists of myself, my little girl Emma, and my cat, Simone.

We live in an apartment in Sandy Bay – a leafy suburb close to Hobart CBD and the beach. I have been selling on Made It for about five years. I didn’t put much thought into it at first, but now I am a full time designer and maker. My pieces are completely different now to those that I first started out doing, and they are continuously evolving.

Screen printed robin purse, cream variation

I have a tiny studio space that is so small that it is completely taken up by storage of all my sewing and screen printing equipment and materials. If I do need to use the space I will clear off the desk, but mostly I screen-print and sew on my kitchen bench top, and sometimes I sew in my lounge room on the couch, listening to an ibook or podcast. There is a fantastic view outside my lounge and kitchen windows of the river and mountains.

Stalley at work: ‘All my designs feature Tasmanian plants and animals.’

All my designs feature Tasmanian plants and animals, and the design process usually starts with being inspired by a particular plant shape or texture that I think would make a great print pattern. In the case of a native animal - echidna for example, I will see the spines as something that I would love to draw out in a print design. I try to express all the alluring physical features of a particular animal within each design – spines, whiskers, fur, ears, etc.

‘Fagus’ design tea towel in detail

Once I have the idea in my head, I start with either a photograph or a composite of photographs to create the image. I then use Photoshop to refine the image, then print it out, then use a pen and whiteout to add detail, and then scan the image and Photoshop once again. I repeat this cycle over until I am happy with it. I then send the image off to a screen manufacturer who creates a screen and sends it back to me.

Wombat creation in progress

After university, I worked as an urban designer and planner for 11 years alongside any private interior design work that I was able to pick up from time to time. While on maternity leave after my first child was born, I opened my online (Made It) shop selling purses and bags. I really needed something creative to do with my hands during my leave because I had no baby to look after. He was stillborn at 38 weeks. Selling online seemed like a good idea as it did not involve leaving the house, or facing people in person.

After my leave was up I returned to my corporate job, and, after my second child was born, I decided not to return to ‘work’ but pursue my handcrafted textile business full time, which by this stage incorporated my own hand screen printed textile designs into the pieces that I made.

‘Emu’ black and white digital print: ‘I try to express all the alluring physical features of a particular animal within each design – spines, whiskers, fur, ears, etc.’

I have always been intrigued by how things are put together. My dad has made a lot of things - from farm machinery to musical instruments, so he has been a real inspiration to me. I have learned that if you can dream something up, then you can make it.

Everything about what I do now - being my own boss, in my own business, creating and selling my own designs is extremely rewarding. The creative process definitely does soothe the soul.

I have a picture of the sewing machine that I learnt to sew on. It went to sewing machine heaven last year. My Dad gave it to my Mum as a wedding present in the early 70’s.

The Elna sewing machine that Stalley learned to sew on

I think that generally, something that is made by hand is of a higher quality than something that is mass-produced. Buying handmade also ensures that you have a unique or small batch item. I take a lot of care with each piece that I create. Everything I make is sturdy and will stand the test of time.

Textile printing in progress: ‘I have learned that if you can dream something up, then you can make it.’

As Made It is an Australian company and my designs are distinctively Australian, I thought that Stalley Textile Co. and Made It would be a natural fit.

I met Made It founders, Bec and Jayc, when they were touring Australia meeting makers from each State. I really enjoyed meeting them in person. About ten Made It makers had a get together at a local bar by the waterfront and it was just fantastic. Now when I log in to Made It, I feel a personal connection that I would just not get from any other online selling platform.

Visit Stalley Textile Co. to find uniquely Tasmanian hand-printed homewares & accessories: Stalleytextileco

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