Sunday, 31 July 2011

Spotlight On Melissa White!

Fairlyte Butterfly Carnival Faded

I was a winner winner chicken dinner and won this fabulous fabric taking part in a VeryBerryHandmade & Fancy Moon Giveaway.  The prize was 2 meters of fabric of my choice from Fancy Moon and whilst I considered 8 Fat Quarters for my stash, I couldn't resist this beautiful fabric Fairlyte Butterfly Carnival Faded and thought how lovely it would be to have a fabulous chunk to myself!

My second win was discovering the fabulous designer/artist of this fabric, Melissa White, who has blown me away with her eye for delicate beauty, which is strangely evocative and familiar, maybe from a previous life?

Melissa White

Melissa works from her Fairlyte workshop in Hastings on the Sussex coast England.  Her passion is pattern and decorative design, which shows in her fabulous textiles.  Influenced by her extensive catalogue of original 16th & 17th century designs, reproducing rare and wonderful designs that were once abundant in our ancestors' homes.

5 designs in 4 colourways

Back in 2007 Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably chanced upon Melissa's studio and were inspired enough to recommend her to Westminster.  Last year Westminster Fibers invited her to design for them working as part of the Rowan Fabrics branch of the company.  She has produced two collections with a third in production.

Blossom Swirl
This collection launched in January 2011 called Fairlyte Garden after her business name Fairlyte.
The 5 designs evolved from a large fresco secco painting she did in 2009 (below) when she was playing with elements of Chinoiserie and scraps of vintage fabric.
The design process for fabric was very different to how she usually works, painting in a way that meant being able to separate the colours, put the designs into a working repeat and think on a smaller scale than she was used to. 

The biggest challenge was keeping her signature style of ageing and distressing the surface; how to incorporate cracks and worn areas. There are limitations and some of her cracking didn't translate so well into fabric, looking more like batik in print, so she had to adapt her techniques. 

Here's a shot from her workshop last year. At the bottom are her original paintings for Butterfly Carnival, Medusa Tree and Bug Hunt.
She rarely sews so if you ever use any of her fabrics you should drop her line so she can see how people use her fabrics, learn from feedback and adapt/develop her style as she works on future collections. 

2nd collection - launches August 2011

MISAKI 8 designs in 4 colourways. 

Coming soon is this larger collection of Oriental inspired designs. Here's a sneak preview:

The Misaki Collection by Melissa White 

3rd Collection - launches Jan 2012

TO BE NAMED She is currently working on her third collection, which should come out in January if all goes well. She's started painting in gouache on paper rather than with pigments on fresco as before.  Here's a sneak preview: 
New work in progress 

A favourite of Melissas', it's inspired by an exhibition in Paris which was a retrospective of one of her favourite artists Odilon Redon.

Here's a little montage of some of her overall work.

Some of Melissa's fresco secco paintings 
...and here are some Elizabethan designs hand painted on linen for cushions and curtains and as fresco secco panels.

A mosaic of Elizabethan designs.
Lastly, I had to finish with these gorgeous Dragon Cushions. Melissa was invited by exclusive department store, The General Trading Company, London, to supply a collection of hand painted velvet dragon cushions. The design is based on an Elizabethan wall painting found in a house in Surrey.

Elizabethan wall painting.

Cushions in the workshop.
Newly painted Dragon cushions piled up ready for delivery to London
Melissa also paints textiles such as curtains, cushions and wall hangings.  She says "linen is wonderful to paint on be it luxurious, dense new linens or gnarly old antique French linens prickling with flax fibres. I paint on velvet too and I am always looking out for light coloured old velvets that are faded and worn as they suit being painted in washed out, nostalgic colour."

I hope you have enjoyed looking through Melissa's inspirational work.  To see more check out her Blog and websites and Fairlyte Elizabethan

There's also a great feature on Melissa at the gorgeous Blog Lobster & Swan, which concentrates more on Melissa's overall artwork.

Where to buy:  Visit Westminster for Store Locator.  Or for in the UK you can order a selection from the Fairlyte Garden Collection at the wonderful Fancy Moon'purveyor of fine fabrics'.  

Just a last point, we're off on holiday Monday morning for the week so I'll kind of be 'incommunicado', so to speak, but looking forward to blogging again soon.  Have a fabulous week and enjoy what apparently is going to be a glorious week in the UK.  I'm so glad we decided not to go abroad!

Thank you as always for dropping by!


Annie xx TheFeltFairy said...

I really love the hydrangea fabric - isn't her work amazing! I have not hear of her before so enjoyed the introduction thoroughly!

Minka's Studio said...

Love her work. Thank you for posting!