Sydney based designer and illustrator Edith Rewa developed a fascination for Australian native flora in her childhood years, growing up surrounded by bushland in rural Victoria. She went on to study Textile Design at RMIT in Melbourne, and spent time working in commercial textile design before developing her own range of beautiful botanical designs and printed silk scarves.
Amber Creswell Bell gives us the full story.
Sydney based designer and illustrator Edith Rewa embarked on her creative career three years ago, when she started work with Sydney print design studio, Longina Phillips, who encouraged the meticulous hand drawing of designs. Now, ‘very much with the help of Instagram and the internet’, Edith’s own illustration work is starting to emerge!
Growing up in rural Victoria, Edith was surrounded by bushland and the vast native garden of her parents, which instilled in her an appreciation of the natural world from an early age – exploring, collecting and drawing specimens. Going on to study Textile Design at RMIT in Melbourne, majoring in screen-printed textiles, Edith was lucky enough to travel to Estonia for a study exchange, where she completed hands-on field studies at The Estonian Academy of Arts. ‘Secluded in an unfamiliar and exciting new world, I had more time and greater freedom to explore my own style,’ she says.
It is Edith’s keen interest in natural history, botany, and the native Australian landscape that now feeds her personal design projects, and diverse creative ventures. ‘A big influence in my work and style is the intrepid paintings and etchings commissioned by explorers and naturalists way back in the day’, she explains, saying that she has always been drawn to the more scientific side of botanical illustrations. ‘With my latest textile range, ‘Fossick‘, I wanted to create a series of wearable Wunderkammers (‘cabinets of curiosities’) that document my own botanical explorations in and around Sydney, a wingding of a new place and findings,’ she describes. Using delicate pen detail and brush work, Edith is excited by the challenge of transferring illustrations into patterns and onto fabric.
Edith explains with great animation that she likes to get to know what she is drawing, and that it very much becomes a personal thing to her. ‘It is far easier to draw a flower that talks to you. I like to study the specimen visually and also investigate its name and place of birth. The Latin nomenclature of plants is a magical world! I am just discovering plant by plant as they find their way into my sketchbooks,’ she explains. Describing her room as ‘The Bush Museum’, Edith likes to surround herself with a giant storyboard of drawings, specimens and ideas.
Edith has a lot of exciting collaborations on the way this year. She’ll be teaming up with a talented group of fellow textile designers later this year for an exhibition called Sans Souci – a reimagining of classic travel souvenirs and iconic Australian products. She is also looking forward to a project with emerging label Collie Park; plus Club of Odd Volumes; and is keen to complete the installation of some Australiana wallpapers she has designed for a very special interior. And of course, many more explorations with her own range of prints and scarves, ‘and hopefully, some time to work on building The Bush Museum!’ she adds.
Edith’s latest range of beautiful printed silk scarves are available in her online store.