Since Fraser Crowe’s design team got together, an appetite for innovation in textile design steered them to developing their own ranges of signature textiles: fabrics exclusive to Fraser Crowe’s collections that are rich in ideas, push boundaries and make the work unique. Consistent themes that run through these limited edition fabrics often acknowledge heritage and recognise the language and history of textiles. Some designs are embedded with narrative, others play with visual contradictions.
Some of the back stories….
This rich, ornate design was developed from artist Deborah Crowe’s teenage flower drawings and art school entry portfolio rediscovered in her father’s attic in Scotland, shortly after he died. Recorded on an iPhone by her sister and emailed from Europe to Aotearoa New Zealand, Crowe reworked photographs of these drawings made in the early ‘80’s into a luxurious layered digital collage that continues the life of the early artworks. The original charcoal drawing now hangs in Dusseldorf, Germany, while it’s remastered iteration permeates silk satin georgette in Fraser Crowe’s fluid garments and picture scarf.
This seemingly lavish and opulent print on silk satin georgette, harbours a darker underbelly – a somewhat subversive message from the Fraser Crowe design team focused on promoting discussion about sustainabilty. Buried below the maniplulated photographic imagery shot in glasshouses around the globe and the ‘field photography’ of flora and volcanic sites of Aotearoa New Zealand, are images of waste destined for local landfill; Fraser Crowe’s small reminder that what we throw away doesn’t just disappear.
Constructing Chaos (brown/navy)
Fraser Crowe’s Constructing Chaos print exemplifies a design methodology where documentary imagery of one iteration in a series of art or design works becomes material for the next. Developed from Crowe’s Bit City Series of artworks - a series of sculptures, drawings and prints, the ‘look’ of this complex print on silk georgette is one of a composite; a mash up of pictorial references to construction, scaffolding and structures observed in the built environment.
This design considers connections between textile, in particular woven textile, and architectural construction. In many buildings and architectural situations shifts in materials and scale can take us from reading a surface, material, or structure as cloth to reading it as architecture.
Both are disciplines where materials are manipulated, joined and built to produce a form that may, or may not, contain the body.
Square Scribble White
A mash-up of photographic imagery generated from drawings/paintings from Crowe’s Bit City Series that subtlely play with light, reflection and repetition. These, combined and layered with direct freehand mark making on the computer, comprise Fraser Crowe’s Square Scribble White print. Developed from explorations of repetitive mark making and playing with tensions between control and the notion of automatic drawing, Square Scribble White is fluid, subtle and bold.
Square Scribble Black
This textile design references the grid, a magnified freehand rendition of warp and weft threads intersecting with a painterly surface transferred digitally to silk satin georgette. Subtle areas where the texture in the print resembles erasure seen in heavily worked process drawings or paintings embue this almost totally monochromatic print with a soft blurry texture that contrasts the rigid characteristics of a conventional grid, playing into Fraser Crowe’s proclivity for embedding complementary contradictions in their designs
A characteristic of many of Fraser Crowe’s textile prints is the use the visual device called mise en abyme; a formal technique in which an image contains a smaller copy of itself. This is used to push against typical traditional repeat patterns and to create textiles that have a sense of space in their two dimensional patterning. This also dovetails with a design methodology used in designing the textile where elements are documented photographically and reassembled in various layers to fuse with copies of themselves and other elements in composite mash-ups.