A Printer's Impression
It’s seriously cold outside but the studio is full of a warm creative energy. There is an international sound to the conversation in this shared space and soft 80’s techno plays in the background. I find Jamie (textile designer and one half of Ravel) with her apron on, print-making roller in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. She takes me through to her corner of the studio where she sits down at her desk surrounded by inks, fabric and carving tools. I perch on a conveniently located stereo amp and get an insight into the creative process behind Ravel’s beautiful creations.
Jamie is trained in print making - wood cutting, lithography and copper etching - all methods used to create works on paper. It was only when she began to collaborate with Lizzy (designer and other half of Ravel) that she began using these ‘relief’ methods to make textile prints. Through experimentation Jamie has developed the optimum ink viscosity and heat setting techniques for printing on fabric. Now she’s got it down to a fine art and she talks me through the process.
“I start by making the block, carving away, one piece at a time. Then I mix the inks and roll them out [makes ch-ch sound of viscous inks] and then I begin printing. So this [gestures to the navy blue linen spread out on her desk] is going to take me like an hour - and it’s only one of three panels for the shawl. But I like getting into the meditative process of printing. Travel and a sense of place have been key themes in our work. The symbols that we use to create patterns represent important places in our lives. The geometric shapes are flattering on clothing and also translate well to accessories.”
Jamie credits family as the source of her creative instincts.
“I’m super inspired by my mother and grandmothers who have really passed on to me this idea of craft and artistry - it’s always been something my Mom really encouraged when I was growing up and I really took that and ran with it. That’s kinda a theme between Lizzy and I, we both learned our craft from matriarchs of our families.”