Dubai/Noosa: Watercolour artist turned textile designer, the multi-faceted Dubai-based talent, Georgia Macmillan, has launched her first range of unique linen textiles for the home.
With an intuitive approach to design, the creative behind Georgia Macmillan Paints and Paper Goods finds inspiration in her new life in the Middle East and travels near and far. All of Georgia’s textiles, which include double sided linen cushions stuffed with luxurious 100% duck down inserts, an all-purpose throw and napkins are designed and all artworks are made in her studio in Dubai.
Congratulations on your new textiles range! Could you please introduce us to the range and business, Georgia Macmillan Paints & Paper Goods?
Thank you so much! The Winter 15/16 collection Grey Days + Indigo Series features 100% linen double sided cushions in five designs, The Big Throw and a set of six napkins. The linen textiles range has been driven by a desire to take my art beyond brush and paper and see how far I can push the medium.
While digitally printed artwork on fabric has been done before, I don’t feel it has oversaturated the textiles market. Art is such a personal, unique medium, which automatically makes the products different.
As a watercolour artist, how did you find the transition to textile designer as your interpreted your work into such tactile materials? How did you find the manufacturing process?
I have learnt a great deal about colours and patterns and what works and what doesn’t work transferred from paper to fabric.
For the Winter 15/16 Indigo Series + Grey Days collection I painted more than 70 watercolour patterns on A4 artist paper. I realised early on that I was leaning towards two main colourways – indigo and grey – and pursued these shades. So it then became a process of elimination. Which patterns worked well together, which looked too busy, how the blues and greys would look lined up on a couch or bed etc. I literally placed the paper artworks side by side on the floor and moved them around like a jigsaw puzzle. My mother, who has the best eye, was invaluable during this process and happened to be visiting from Australia at the time. For two weeks, we worked hard matching the patterns and narrowing down the ‘collection’. Funnily enough the spontaneous artworks, which took the least amount of time to paint, made the cut. Not the intricate, detailed patterns I laboured over for days or weeks.
Each artwork is scanned and emailed to my supplier, who then works their magic to create a repeat patter and digitally print the designs onto 100% white linen, which has been specially prepared to handle the digital process. Sampling, sampling and more sampling ensues until the pattern and product are perfected. I hold my breath and hope every time a sample arrives in the post!
How would you describe your work and what influences your style?
I’m influenced by so many factors – everything from my Middle Eastern surrounds, the vast desert dunes, sunsets over the Arabian Gulf, patterns and textile designs featured in friends’ homes and magazines, patinas and textures of historic buildings in France and Italy, exploring the different shades of a favoured colour (i.e. indigo), my daughter Olivia’s beautifully illustrated children’s books, clever graphic design, restaurant fit outs, hotel interiors, the colours of my favourite Iranian rug shop in Al Satwa. There’s inspiration everywhere and it often hits me when I least expect it. For example, I was driving to the DIFC the other day and noticed a really ugly multi-storey carpark, but it is painted in the most beautiful shade of blush pink!
What does a typical day at work involve for you? Are you home or studio based?
The weekday structure is fairly concrete. Olivia attends nursery five half days a week and once drop off is done I’m straight in to it. The days are varied – sometimes shooting from the hip replying to emails and generally just trying to stay on top of things with my suppliers and orders, other days are more strategic and I work on a commission piece or flesh out new ideas.
I work out of my home studio, which is located on a large mezzanine at the top of the stairs. It is a thoroughfare to the bedrooms, which is beneficial in that there’s no excuse to get out of work – it’s literally in front of me. Plus, if I’m working on a piece of art, I have more opportunity to observe it and make changes. Of course the positioning of the studio can be distracting too. Sometimes I just want a door to shut myself off from the world! If I’m writing a story for The Grace Tales and trying to meet a deadline I often head to Tom&Serg and set up with my laptop (and sneaky coffee and croissant!). I focus well amid the café chaos!
What are you looking forward to?
My aim is to establish a steady supply of products and fabrics to businesses in GCC countries – I really want to explore ‘working locally’ with exciting new retail outlets, interior design firms and innovative stylists. On a more basic level, I am also looking forward to developing more hand-painted patterns and designs in the studio!