September 08 2011
Glasgow-based textile designer Fi Douglas’s large-scale prints – on linen cushions and wall hangings – have a charming retro quality reminiscent of dresses that a flamboyant aunt might have sported on special occasions in the 1960s.
“My favourite flowers are summer blooms – peonies, sunflowers…” muses Douglas, thereby admitting her weakness for zingy colour. The scale of her watercolour flowers – tall and seemingly swaying in a breeze – creates the impression of a hand-painted frieze rather than a mass-produced repeat pattern. Yet while the flowers are originally hand-painted – in a loose, impressionistic style that gives them a spontaneous, informal air – they look crisply modern for being digitally printed. “I like digital technology because it doesn’t restrict the number of colours used, unlike traditional screenprinting,” explains Douglas, who founded her company, Bluebellgray, in 2009. “The colours are printed exactly as they were painted originally.”
To date, she has produced limited-edition ranges. These include cushions (from £60, going up to £105 if trimmed with pompoms in shades that pick out those in the print). Their lively designs range from figurative flower prints such as the Poppy cushion (second picture, £70) to more abstract styles, such as the Modernity cushion (£80), whose blossoms are hazily evoked with broad-brushstroke washes of translucent paint. Douglas signs and numbers the backs of all of these.
Her work’s frieze-like nature is shown to its best advantage in her 200cm x 140cm pompom-trimmed Meadow wall hanging – or throw – which features bluebells (one of the inspirations for the company’s name), anemones and grape hyacinths (first picture, £455).
This month she is launching a new floral fabric range (£80 per m) at Tent London (www.tentlondon.co.uk), a showcase of contemporary design held from September 22 to 25, during the London Design Festival.
Autumn might be fast approaching but Douglas’s prints allow those who own them to imagine it’s summer all year round.