Backyard Q&A: Varina Krook - Stash Textiles
We recently had the chance to catch up with the very talented designer/ owner of locally based Textiles brand, Stash Textiles. Varina Krook gives us a peek into her world of textiles, shares some of her simple little pleasures as well as the more substantial sources of inspiration that nourish her creative appetite.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
How did you become a textile designer – what first got you into textiles? Did you undergo any formal training?
I’ve always been completely obsessed with fabric and have an (some would call unhealthy) addiction to collecting beautiful pieces to use in sewing projects or just to admire. My mum always worked with fabric, creating incredible quilts, clothing and intricate embroidery so I always had an appreciation for the material.
I studied design at COFA and discovered that textile design was something I could major in, so I did. When the degree ended I felt I needed to learn more about fabric and how to manipulate it to do all sorts of wonderful things, so I studied Fashion design at Ultimo TAFE. The stress of fashion and my continued passion for print and pattern design fuelled me to undertake a business in textiles.
What type of material do you prefer to use?
I’m a total natural fibre snob. I love beautiful silks, pure cottons, textured linens and cotton velvet. I’m very particular about the feel of the fabric I use. It has to feel luxurious, weighty or precious. A lot of time is taken to find the perfect base cloth to do justice to the artwork and make it appear at it’s sharpest and most vibrant.
Who and what inspire your work?
I’m incredibly inspired by the Australian landscape, all of the plants that are distinctive to my local area and all of the colours and details of everyday life. I love flowers and I am constantly documenting plants I see for inspiration in my prints. I’m also inspired by architecture, particularly old, historic buildings and antique objects that I feel hold so many stories and possess such incredible design details.
Where do you go for inspiration?
I walk daily with my little dog Alfie. I love to observe changes in nature and find that these walks inspire my decisions on what flowers to draw. Each time I’m about to design a collection I visit an Australian historic house and draw inspiration from the stories and architectural elements in the house. I also visit natural history museums and historic library collections to draw inspiration for the collections.
How would you describe your work?
In the historic house prints I would say masculine, textural, architectural and bold. As a counterpoint to that my floral work is soft, delicate and feminine.
Briefly explain your process.
When creating floral prints I always find beautiful specimens of flowers and work from life. I hand illustrate all my designs, scan them and then create intricate prints on the computer. I spend a lot of time taking images and studying my inspiration in order to capture it in an interesting way. All my artworks are then printed digitally onto various luxury fabrics to ensure no loss of detail in the design.
What environment do you enjoy working in?
I love working in bright, natural light since this is the perfect environment for illustration work. I try to surround myself with beautiful flowers and precious objects when I work indoors. I particularly love working in the historic houses since there is often a beautiful sense of calm in being surrounded by nature. The rooms are often more spacious than modern buildings and the details in the environment make me feel very inspired.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There are always a few emails to attend to before doing design work. Design work often involves hand illustrations or generating intricate patterns digitally. I’m always out for a walk in the morning or afternoon to get fresh air. Once designs are finialised everyday is quite varied as I spend time working with different production houses and suppliers.
How did you become involved with The Design Residency?
About a year ago I was approached by Lorraine to take part in the residency. She had seen my work at TAFE and knew I would be interested in the residency program. I love the idea of sharing information, working in a creative hub and absorbing wisdom from amazing professionals. Being a young designer is often nerve wracking and definitely has major challenges. The residency allowed me to constructively build my business ideas and built up my confidence to follow my passion.
What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not working? How do you spend your spare time?
I love unwinding by baking or cooking something delicious for family and friends with some great jazz playing in the background.
What’s your favourite song at the moment?
Inner City Blues by Marvin Gaye.
What’s next for you?
The next big step is starting fabric production overseas. I’ve made contact with some incredible print companies ready to take my fabric and print quality to the next level. I’m also starting my new collection of historic house prints inspired by Meroogal house in Nowra. The house is filled with interesting stories, a wonderful colour palette and fascinating design pieces.
Image credits as follows: Styling & Product Design: Varina Krook
Photography: Jake WeiszModels: Brooke Durrant & Liam Hall
All Scarves are available at www.stashtextiles.com
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