"Collaboration is the ultimate is reinvention."
In 2005, friends Pepa and Karen came together for an afternoon crafting session that turned into a textile agency with a personality, momentum and following all its own. Over a decade later, the Sydney-based pair continue to collaborate on collections for interiors and fashion projects, host workshops from their Sydney studio, and are co-authors of two books, Shibori Recreated and Tie Dip Dye.
Tell us a little about your current work - what do you do, and what inspires you to do it?
Shibori began in 2005 - what started with us following our creative outlet (i.e. dyeing) quickly became an entity of its own, with a personality all its own.
Traditionally, shibori was used to decorate silk and cotton for kimonos and obis. Today, we decorate anything with space enough to fit a pattern. We produce shibori fabrics, cushions, wallpaper, leather, rugs, wood and glass - all with commercial and domestic uses.
We have been fortunate enough to collaborate with some great Australian artists to spread the shibori love from the interiors of major hotels to high-end leather bags and even dog collars and surfboards. There’s nothing that can’t do with a bit of shibori pizzaz!
How does your work enrich your life or the lives of others?
Shibori is a playful technique. We encourage others to bring out their inner child and forget the rules when learning shibori. If you are having fun you will continue learning and playing. Shibori is addictive. With our commercial work, we never say no and will strive to find the best outcome to compliment the designer's project. In our opinion, everything is achievable.
Can you share a recent project you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?
Last year we worked on The Elements of Byron Resort in Byron Bay NSW. We hand dyed 3-metre x 2-metre headboards for each room. This year we are doing an additional 170 rooms and it is a "dyer" challenge!
What was the pivot point that set you on your current path?
The pivot point for us was the decision to come together and become a creative partnership. We had both been working and studying in the creative field for many years, but it wasn't until we joined forces that things really seemed to happen. We are really different people, with very different ideas, styles and skill sets, but we always seem to find a way to complement each other design-wise.
What advice would you give to others to identify and embrace those moments of action?
Love what you do and keep going. If you love what you create, then you will find others will love it too. Believe in yourself and don't aim to please everyone.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s going through their own transformation?
Put aside the failures and keep moving forward.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration in shaping your career?
We are lucky to be in a creative partnership and have each other to bounce off. Beyond that, we have worked with some amazing designers on big projects who inspire and encourage us to go beyond our comfort zone.
Where in the world would you describe as the place that speaks to you - your soul place?
Antarctica, the ultimate empty canvas, the silence and space for clear thought. It would be a dream to go there and experience colour without the clutter.
If you could do anything, what in the world would you want to do next?
We like pushing things to the limit. Collaboration is the ultimate reinvention. When we were invited to collaborate with Black Star Pastry we were blown away. Who knew mixing art, design and food could be so satisfying? I'd like to eat more of that! Maybe a shibori plane, train or automobile? Who knows where the limit ends?
All images used with permission from Karen Davis & Pepa Martin.