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Hand Painted Textile Designs Inspired By Canberra’s Modernist Architecture

Creative People

For Sarah Annand, textiles are the medium that fuses all her creative loves together. Her brand Oat Studio is a way for the designer to unite photography, painting and architecture in fabric design.

Sarah’s textile designs are a culmination of decade of experience in the local fabric industry, a degree in art history and her love for Canberra’s modernist architecture. An unexpected trifecta!

10th September, 2021

Sarah Annand started her brand Oat Studio after spending ten years in the local textile biz. Photo – Jenny Wu.

Her designs are printed digitally onto fabrics which are suitable for upholstery, cushions or soft furnishings. Photo – Jenny Wu.

After completing an art history degree, Sarah realised that fabric design was a place she could unite her loves for photography, painting and architecture. Photo – Jenny Wu.

She starts the process for her designs by photographing modernist and brutalist architecture around Canberra. Photo – Jenny Wu.

She then creates paintings from the shapes she finds, which she then turns into digital designs. Photo – Jenny Wu.

The resulting geometric patterns are realised in soft tonal palettes, with lots of greens, browns, and creams. Photo – Jenny Wu.

Oat Studio fabrics are made-to-order to minimise waste. Photo – Lauren Sutton.

Sarah creates everything from her home studio in Canberra, which means she is currently locked down with her young kids! Photo – Lauren Sutton.

Oat Studio sells Sarah’s photography and paintings alongside the fabrics and cushions. Photo – Jenny Wu.

Sarah’s designs covering cushions in every shape. Photo – Jenny Wu.

Brutalist and modern shapes are easily recognisable in the final designs. Photo – Jenny Wu.

Oat Studio is a finalist in the Textile category of The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2021! Photo – Jenny Wu.

Sasha Gattermayr
Friday 10th September 2021

‘There is no set time to create a design; some come quickly while others are slowly built upon as I return to them over time.’ – Sarah Annand

To create her swatches of geometric patterned, earthy-toned fabrics, Sarah Annand starts with a camera. She finds unique light, angles, shape and patterns around Canberra’s modernist architecture to snap and take back to her studio where she will enhance the contrast between light and dark to uncover the dominant shapes hidden in the frames.

From here she paints. Sarah works by hand with acrylics to create a final artwork, which she then prints digitally onto fabrics. The whole multi-step sequence takes a long time, but it delivers designs that Sarah has crafted at every point in the process.

It also allows Sarah to unite so many of her creative passions: photography, architecture, painting and fabrics.

‘The textile design side of things is self-taught,’ Sarah explains. ‘After working in the textile industry for the past 10 years I knew I wanted to bring together my love of photography and painting with fabric so I invested in the digital tools to make it happen.’

You can see the modernist and brutalist shapes in her geometric, architectural patterns, expressed in tonal palettes consisting predominantly of soft creams and shades of brown.

‘I love to find unique compositions created by light and shadow around forms,’ she says. ‘My painting process is quite free, allowing me to stumble upon shapes and patterns through creative play, deconstructing, reconstructing and creating new compositions both by hand and digitally. There is no set time to create a design; some come quickly while others are slowly built upon as I return to them over time.’

Once the designs are complete, Sarah sells fabric and cushions made-to-order through Oat Studio. She also sells her photography and paintings that inspired the print designs. It’s a multifaceted practice!

We obviously love the beautifully crafted Oat Studio aesthetic because Sarah’s brand is shortlisted in the Textile category of The Design Files + Laminex Design Awards 2021!

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The Design Files acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files – we would love to hear from you.

Please email us here.