Marie Wallin Designs
One of the booths I had to check out while attending the Nottingham Yarn Expo in Nottingham was Marie Wallin's booth. She creates beautiful colourwork garment and home design patterns featuring traditional motifs. I asked Wallin about her methodology in her approach to her practice. She begins her design process by selecting a motif to then expand upon to create a larger design or motif. Most of the motifs she uses are traditional Fair Isle motifs that are altered to fit the product in mind by resizing or expanding the motif with other new surrounding elements Her style of selecting elements and combining them together to be aesthetically pleasing and fit for the product use reflects a bricolage or collaging method that begins on a chart paper and then moves into the act of knitting.Her use of traditional or traditionally inspired motifs that are collaged together in new patterns in similar to the methodologies used by the Romanian textile design studio, Half-Drop, at the London Design Fair. It is another instance of creating creating upon reflection of tradition, in this circumstance reflecting on Shetland Fair Isle for how it relates to present day culture. What makes the garments in particular feel accessible and for today versus something suited by times gone by is the styling. Marie Wallin was the creative director for Rowan, before focusing on her own brand, where she was very involved with the creative direction and styling of the garment designs. The photos are beautiful and show the correlation of pattern to place (Shetland) in a very phenomological grounded practice. They take you on a journey/ tell a story as they are very cinematic.
Video from the photoshoot for the pattern collection book Shetland
Her brand has a distinct aesthetic and ethos (rooted in tradition, sense of place, earthy/rustic) as well as a clear colour palette that feels earthy/ natural, colorful but not bright/ almost colourful neutrals. She has created a nice balance between traditional (referencing historical research) and fresh that appeals to wide audience (her booth had a lot of traffic throughout the day of varying ages). Seeing this booth reassured me that one can make a brand, collection, and practice based methodology using & reinterpreting traditional motifs that can appeal to an audience.
Marie Wallin (2017) Shetland. Available at: https://vimeo.com/221868422