A little known fact about me – I used to work at Spotlight. I actually worked there every weekend for all my years at university and then some… we’re talking over 6 years! And whilst it was somewhat nightmarish on Saturday mornings when the queue was 34 people deep, it has left me with a surprisingly diverse (and not always particularly useful) knowledge of all things craft. There are techniques being rediscovered NOW which the oldies in Bentleigh were doing before you were born, kids. These include 1970’s style weaving (oh so hot right now), knitting using a knitting machine, and latch hook (a little like tapestry, except you end up with a long fluffy fringe-type texture).
Today’s discovery is the first time I have actually seen such techniques being incorporated in a contemporary range of home accessories, and it’s really transporting me back to my Spotlight days!
Melbourne based textile designer Elise Cakebread takes old fashioned weaving and knitting techniques into new territory. After a few years working in commercial textile design, freelancing for bed linen companies and the like, Elise became compelled to do her own thing. ‘I decided to follow my own aesthetic and forget about trying to be commercial or appeal to a particular market’ she explains. Her decision to follow her own path has certainly paid off, opening up a world of possibilities she couldn’t have imagined whilst working as a commercial designer.
Elise’s work develops through experimentation with traditional textile processes and techniques, and sits somewhere in the hazy grey area between installation-based art practice and commercial application. Her first collection of hand made cushions were created for a window display at Fitzroy store Dagmar Rousset in 2013. Since then, she has gone on to make supersized versions of her distinctive soft furnishings and installations for Space furniture, Hotel Hotel in Canberra and a number of private clients.
More recently, Elise has created her own debut collection of soft furnishings called ‘Silver Linings’. Incorporating handmade cushions and knitted throws, the range is a playful mash-up of crazy colour and texture, where over-sized handknits and intricately constructed textile pieces meet velvet and silk, hand finished fringing, tassels, tufts and ceramic buttons. The overall look is like nothing we’ve seen before – a little bit lux and a little bit mad, in the best possible way!
Each piece in the Silver Linings collection is made in collaboration with local producers and sewers, then additional touches and flourishes are added by Elise in her Coburg studio. The collection is available online here!