We've always found art + design so interesting. Even more so now we've got to know someone who does it for a job on the daily. We got to know a little more about the life of textile designer, Anna Walsh. And yep, the job is as cool as you think it might be!
Firstly, how are you? How has life been for you in isolation, how have you been keeping yourself busy?
I’ve been well! I actually quite enjoy isolation life as weird as that is. When I was working freelance last year I was home alone working pretty much every day so it feels similar. I am lucky to live with my partner, brother, cat and dog so I’ve still had plenty of company and entertainment. I am working from home, watching lots of netflix and listening to so many podcasts.
Please tell us a little about yourself, Where do you hail from? What's your job? And where are you based?
So I grew up in northern New South Wales on a sheep farm before my family moved to Moama a few years ago. Since then I’ve lived in Melbourne and am now in Geelong. Currently I am working full time in Melbourne as an in house textile designer so the commute takes up a lot of time but I love living in Geelong, it feels more like a regional town and it’s nice being close to the coast.
How did you find yourself enter into this industry?
Entering the industry was kind of accidental! I worked retail for a long time and was drawing and painting in my spare time, but I started to look more closely at the prints used in store at the brand I was working for and was so excited when I found out they had in house artists painting and drawing and creating these designs. I then did some research and applied to study textile design at RMIT. I finished my degree last year and got an in house job quite quickly which was so lucky. Prior to that whilst studying I did a lot of freelance projects mostly through my Instagram, I love Instagram for artists and creatives - its the perfect format for sharing beautiful visuals.
Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?
The natural world - especially australian florals. I spend too much money at florists. I just love having live flowers to draw and paint. It makes the outcome just that little bit more unique. I also love trawling through pinterest especially when I’m in a bit of a creative block. In terms of colour, I love warm Australian outback tones - I find it so hard to work to different colour palettes, my practice is very colour driven!
Over the time you've been working within the textile/ art industry have you noticed a change in ethical or environmental practices? Do you see more 'eco- friendly' fabrics/ dyes etc being sourced?
This is such an important question, I hope I give it justice in my answer. There has definitely been a shift to a more ethical approach which is so great to see! I think from a textile perspective it is such an important thing to be thinking about. There is such a focus on eco friendly fabrics, specifically recycled plastics in swimwear, smaller more curated collections and a focus on all over repeats with less colours to save on fabric wastage and dye usage. Small time makers with a clear production chain is a really comforting thing to see as both a consumer and designer. It’s so hard because I know I am working in an industry that contributes so much waste to the natural world but it is hopeful to see the changes I can be a part of. I think change has been slow and there is still a lot the industry needs to actively commit to but I am hopeful.
As an artist, what would you say your biggest achievement has been?
Wow, this is a hard question! The first thing that comes to mind is just meeting people through my artwork. I’m a pretty shy person generally, but when I started sharing my artwork through various online platforms it was so eye opening to meet people and connect in a way that was new. I’ve been so lucky to work with different brands and chat to creatives all through just making that first decision to start sharing my art. For me, that feels like a huge achievement.
For anyone out there wanting to enter the creative industry world, what encouragement would you give them?
I guess this question ties in with my previous answer! Getting started is the hardest part but it gets so much easier as you go. Be proud of your work, share what you’ve done and be confident in your own style and aesthetic. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now if I hadn’t first decided to start sharing my work and pushing myself to create as much as possible. I spent a lot of time saying ‘yes’ to every opportunity and whilst at times it led to some stressful nights working away, it also gave me confidence in knowing just how much I can get done when a deadline is looming!