Last year, illustrator and textile designer Edith Barrett traded her home in the Blue Mountains for the desert backdrop of the Pilbara, Alice Springs and Uluru. Barrett is known for her almost scientific illustrations of native flowers (she collaborated with Gorman in 2015), but having only sketched the flora of Australia’s southeast, she was eager to see what blooms on the other side of the country.
“I was pretty naive going there,” Barrett says. “I didn’t think there would be that much flowering plant life, but I was blown away by the colour and diversity.”
She came back inspired and armed with a bunch of sketches, which have since been refined into eight different botanical prints for her Edith Rewa range of silk scarves. The latest collection is an array of pink and orange-hued silks, decorated with illustrations of the hardy flora Barrett observed thriving in unforgivable conditions.
“I loved how the plants adapted to the heat,” she says. “Like with the glaucous foliage. It has a layer of film on all the leaves and stems to reflect sunlight. I just get really excited when I see new plants. The sturt pea and the macrocarpa flower were standouts.”
Barrett’s scarves start out as sketches done out in the field, before being inked in black pen in the studio, coloured digitally and then sent off to a silk printer and hemmer in Sydney. There are about 250 available, all up.
This collection took a year to cobble together on the side of Barrett’s freelance work, and she is currently working on releasing one-off editions of clothing in the same prints. But she’s not promising anything regular.
“I feel strongly about pushing people’s idea of seasonal clothing,” she says. “I create something from the heart and hopefully people will respond to it now and in four years.”
Edith Rewa online
Art Gallery of New South Wales Shop, Art Gallery Road, Sydney NSW
The Blue Mountains Atelier, 1 Badgery Crescent, Lawson NSW