Designing with Natural Australian Landscapes

Jennifer Faulkner is the creative brain behind Formosa Designs a textile design business making a gorgeous range of bags, tea towels, cushions and greeting cards with a strong emphasis on Australian flora and fauna. I interviewed Jenny about the inspiration behind the designs:

Q: Formosa Design seems to be strongly influenced by the Australian landscape and birds in particular, was this an intentional decision, and if so what draws you to this?

A: Yes, it’s totally inspired by the Australian landscape, I love that my backyard has become my palette! I focus exclusively on Australian flora and fauna in my subject matter and in doing so I aim to draw attention to the beauty of our lesser-known natives. The strong presence of birds in my designs wasn’t intentional at all, when I lived in Canberra I got hooked on bird watching, and couldn’t resist using the little guys in my designs. They then became really popular among other bird fans so it’s snowballed from there.

Q: What else influences your designs?

A: I get inspired to design after hanging out with other creatives, seeing a good art exhibition, or listening to live music. Actually, I saw the Fred Williams exhibition in Adelaide earlier this year and it got me really pumped to do more abstract textile designs for the next range.

Q: What method/s do you use to transfer your designs onto the bags, cushions, tea towels etc?

A: Screen-printing with water based inks.

Q: How long have you been making your range of products?

A:  I came up with the idea in 2008 but only really launched the range in 2010, so technically 2 years.

Q: What spurred you to start producing your own range of goods?

A: After completing a BA in Design at Curtin University I worked as a designer at a leading Perth studio, Block Branding. While there my then boyfriend (and now husband) and I were in a long distance relationship and in 2008 I bit the bullet and moved to Canberra to be with him. After bush walking one day in Canberra it hit me that no one was designing with Australian flora and fauna in mind and, with my new found time, I decided to do something about it. I taught myself to make repeat patterns, screen-print, sew, build websites, book-keep and the rest is kinda history. Then mid way through 2010 Luke was offered a disaster risk reduction job in Indonesia and, because we had been looking to live in South East Asia for a while, we jumped at the opportunity.

Q: Are you going to be expanding your range?

A: While I have only just released the latest collection my head is already full of new patterns and product ideas. In the future, I’d love to apply the illustrations to porcelain (any ceramicists out there?) and maybe even venture into clothing. Right now though, my main focus is keeping up with the expansion of the studio.

Q: Can people only buy your lovely products through your Etsy shop?

A: No, they can also buy from any of my stocklists ( or through my website Formosa Designs. The website has my complete collection, I’m still in the process of putting up the new collection onto Etsy.

I just love the freshness of these designs and the truly Australian feel would make a great present for international friends, or for anyone who loves the Australian landscape. Details about Formosa Designs can also be found on the Fab-Finds page.

Photos courtesy of Formosa Designs.

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