Patterns in print: innovation in textile design

Sarah Annand

There’s a bold reinvention of the textile industry here in Australia; it’s exciting and innovative.

The textile designers and the boutique creatives are revitalising the industry with energy, vigour and an outpouring of inspired inventiveness. And we’re so thankful for it! The principal types of fabric design and manufacture on the rise, include small batch printing, hand-screen production, made-to-order and digital printing.

The renewed and ever-growing interest in textile design is due to a mix of technology and rediscovering techniques of old. But the search for authenticity in aesthetics and looking for new ways of artistic expression are the catalyst for originality and modernisation.

Ironically, exploration of ‘new’ printing techniques meant getting back to basics with screen and block printing, and the results are bold patterns, and modernity in colour. As is the way in this twenty-first century, it is the digital printing capabilities that are the game-changers. Digital printing allows the designer to print their works to order, printing faster in large batches, changing colours and the cost is usually lower than conventional methods.

Social media is an incredible tool for these smaller, often artisan, businesses who can now reach their particular audience, and the wider public, without needing the advertising and marketing budgets of old. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are creating a vast and accessible avenue for exposure of their work.

Advantages of this movement for consumers are manifold. There is more flexibility in creating designs which means seamless changes to substrates and colours. Those seeking greater involvement in the process can work more closely with the designers. Being able to make changes directly with the artist rather than a ‘distributor’ means greater satisfaction to the ultimate user.

Of course, unique, ‘one of a kind’, decorative fabrics bring individuality, personality and life to a room. A client can take a relaxed approach or aim for a more sophisticated style, perhaps with a boho edge.

Designers and their innovative manufacturers are producing sometimes raw and exposed designs and techniques, leading to an exploration and explosion of decorative finishes with no boundaries.

Here are some brilliant examples of these inventive creatives and their collections—block, hand and digital printing with sublime results.

Native Swinson



Kate from Native Swinson built her brand and textile design wanting to provide eco-friendly and handcrafted textiles and wallpaper. Her designs are based around nature—our Australian landscape and beautiful native creatures. I particularly love the soft and delicate line work of her designs which would inject character into any home.


Quercus & Co


From Adam’s designs we clearly get a sense of the celebration of print, pattern and colour. He uses an art-like eco-friendly paper rather than the traditional white, adding an earthy, rich and warm nature to his work. Embracing the quirks and characteristics of creating the works by hand—drawing and painting with watercolour—he then utilises the benefits of digital printing to produce beautiful textiles and wallpapers for us to use throughout our homes.


Ink and Spindle


Australia’s native flora and fauna provide the inspiration behind Ink and Spindle’s collections. With a focus on longevity in design and working with hand and screen printing, they produce a range of designs that pull at our heartstrings. “We use overprinting, screen flips and displacements to create beautiful results from only a single screen,” they explain. The soft and organic nature of Ink and Spindle’s products conveys a sense of home, calm and comfort into our interiors.


Kingdom Home


Kenneth founded Kingdom Home with a focus on turning his and other creatives’ ideas into reality.

This Sydney designer takes inspiration from a variety of sources and transforms these ideas through hand printing and digital methods into stunning fabrics and wallpaper.


Willie Weston


Working with artists from Indigenous communities, Jessica and Laetitia have curated collections of artwork and provided them with a voice; through colour and print. This team use digital printing methods to bring their range to life on fabrics and wallpaper.


4 Leaf Clover

4 Leaf Clover1

This one is closer to home for us in the ACT. Based in the Southern Highlands, Fiona has developed incredible ranges of wallpapers and fabrics from her beautiful surroundings. Inspiration is driven from, flora, fauna, decorative art and mid-century modern style and colour.

4 Leaf Clover2



North’s textiles are hand-screened in Australia, with great attention to detail and quality of both design and cloth. “The organic and manual nature of the process endows each piece with its own distinct and beautiful imperfections,” says the team.


All over the world, creatives and their consumers are loving this boutique textile movement – the NY Times recently published a great article on the subject. Follow this link to read more.

Sarah Annand

Sarah Annand is the Creative Director at Cloth and Paper Studio, Fyshwick. With a passion for art and styling, she has almost a decade of experience working in textiles and interior design. On relocating from Melbourne a few years ago, she became the mum of Sadie and continues her love of textiles in our capital. More about the Author