5 MINUTES WITH TEXTILE DESIGNER, GRACE GARRETT
We just can’t go past cushion queen Grace Garrett’s gorgeous designs when we’re styling our renovation projects. They’re like individual pieces of art on your sofa.
I sat down with Grace to get the low-down on her talent with textiles.
Grace, you’re a woman of many talents, tell me about your background in a nutshell:
I’ve worked in the design industry for the past twenty years and have extensive experience as a colourist and designer both in Australia and overseas. I was an Educator at Sydney Design School which I loved but I couldn’t let go of this passion to create my own textiles so I stopped teaching to grow my own Grace Garrett brand.
I knew from the first time I met you and Bonnie at the Tuckshop that we had a connection. I’m a big advocate of women supporting women and helping each other grow Australian brands.
How do you go about designing a collection? What inspires you?
My collections are inspired by travels and the journey of life experience. Each collection starts with an inspiration, it may be items I’ve collected or a photo. I whittle them down to a few key visuals and go about creating the collection from there. A full collection takes about a year to pull together (but you girls renovate houses so fast, I have to work even faster to meet your crazy deadlines)
My Beauty of Asia collection came about because I was living in Asia at the time. The bamboo, palm pods, lanterns and of course the banana palms that feature on the cushions in House 4, were all familiar motifs from my time spent there.
Sunburnt Country was inspired by my return to Australia. I wanted to portray the Australian landscape in a subtle and tasteful way.
Around the time of my Deco Glamour collection the film The Great Gatsby had just been released. I was inspired by the glitz and glamour of the 1920’s Art Deco era that was brought to life in this film.
Although my inspiration for a collection may seem specific, every design is quite timeless and versatile because it can be custom coloured to suit any home. I can literally colour match any colour under the sun.
Grace, we’ve been so lucky to collaborate with you and use your textile designs in Houses 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 – can you tell us a bit about these?
And House 4, Lana! That was before I met you girls actually, but an ex-student of mine from Sydney Design School was working with one of your suppliers and snuck some banana palm cushions from my Beauty of Asia collection into the house. I like to think our collaboration was just meant to be after that!
We chose designs from my Aztec collection but custom coloured them to complement the house. I also created the cactus wallpaper in the little girl's room which worked beautifully with the cushions. The fun part is sitting down with you girls to understand your vision and to start playing with paint samples and experimenting with colour.
When I met you about your #santoriniinsydney inspiration, it was very timely as I was working on a Mediterranean collection. I felt like we were working in tandem to create this collection. I loved creating the custom fish scale print to tie in with the feature tiles in your bathroom.
This house was so much fun because all the black is right up my alley. The ginger flower print was a bespoke design for this house, but everyone loved it so much I’m turning it into a beach towel too.
For Bonnie’s house we borrowed from my Aztec, Blurred Lines and Tribal collections to create a range of cushions throughout the house. This shows how my collections can be really versatile when they’re custom coloured to suit your décor.
Do you have a favourite Three Birds House?
Oh, don’t make me answer that! I have to say I love the ones that have a really personal connection, so yours (House 6) and Bonnie’s (House 8). When I worked with you on those collections I could really see your personal vision and passion coming to life and that’s exciting.
Do you have a favourite colour palette?
Black, brown, white, green – all neutral but fabulous when layered together. The colour red is one thing you won’t see in my collections. I don’t love it so I don’t include it, but I’m always happy to customise if that’s what a client wants.
What’s next in the pipeline for you Grace?
Aside from your upcoming projects, I’m pouring my energy into my own textile collections and am finalising a collection of summer beach towels, bags and candles.
There’s never a dull moment in my life. It hasn’t been easy but I have to say, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved on my own. I’ve never had any financial support to set up my business and raise my children on my own but I haven’t given up on my dream.