Working from her studio located on the shores of Moreton Bay in Queensland, Helen, creates reusable handcut stencils and water based inks to be mindful about the environment around her.
Iced Vovo asked PalumaPrint a few questions:
A: I guess my scientific training as a biologist gave me a love and an understanding of our wonderful natural environment – particularly the flora – and a desire to promote this beauty and the need for its conservation – in my case through art. The library training gave me insight, curiosity and confidence in using the internet both in searching for information and as an outlet for my craft via e-commerce sites such as Etsy.
Q: When did you set up PalumaPrint and what prompted you getting into the textile printing area?
A: PalumaPrint emerged way back in the late 80s after I attended a TAFE short course on screen printing fabric, and started to print T shirts. These were much in demand from work colleagues, friends and family and I decided I needed my own label to make it all a bit more professional. I’m not sure what prompted me to try this print making technique but once I had experienced the thrill of lifting the screen and seeing the crisp clear print and gorgeous colours I was hooked.
Q: What is the story behind the name, PalumaPrint?
A: Paluma is the name of a small village set in the tropical rainforest near Townsville, north Queensland where my partner and I had a holiday house. The first screen printing course I attended was in Townsville and Paluma and environs provided a source of inspiration for my early floral designs. The name PalumaPrint just seemed right at the time, and even now, although I am more than a thousand km away from Paluma and it’s been decades since those early days.
Q: What new skills have you had to acquire along the way?
A: Hmm – where do I start. Colour theory and mixing is perhaps one of the most important and one where my skills are still developing; photographic skills to ensure product photos are the best they can be – still going up the learning curve of that one; social media site skills – Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook – even though they are not a mainstream part of my business, I still need to know about their potential. I am also looking at digital design and use of Photoshop and Illustrator for that – only scratched the surface on those.
Q: What do you love about screen printing?
A: That’s easy – the thrill and satisfaction of lifting the screen and seeing the result – especially the first print of a new design. I never tire of that.
Q: I figure the background in biology has probably had some influence on the natural elements you favour in your designs – what else has influenced your designs?
A: I love growing native plants – nurturing them until they mature and flower. They provide my inspiration. I have planted hundreds and hundreds of different species over the years. I am a bit obsessive about them I’m afraid.
Q: How many designs do you currently have in production?
A: A dozen or so active at any one time. Sometimes I “retire” them for a little while and then bring them back again.
Q: What new designs are you working on or have in the pipeline (that you can reveal)?
A: Watch my blog! I don’t really have a planned approach to designing – it’s a bit serendipitous. If I get an idea/see something that inspires me I just do it then and there.
Q: What is currently your most popular item?
A: The humble tea towel!
Q: What is your favourite print and/or item and why?
A: Usually it is whatever new I have printed or made. Right now it is this Japanese loop bag. The design is one of my early ones but I haven’t used it for a while and never in black, but I thought it would just suit this bag – and I’m very happy with the result. But who knows what it will be tomorrow.
Q: Is the Etsy shop the only place people can get a hold of your work or where else do you stock?
A: I also sell online through the Australian site MadeIt. I don’t wholesale – preferring to sell direct and online but I do belong to a local Arts and Crafts co-operative and sell through their arts and craft outlet – The Slab Hut at Samford just outside Brisbane. I have also been participating in the Botanique Bazaar held twice yearly at the Brisbane Mt Cootha Botanic Gardens.
To see the full selection of items available from PalumaPrint follow this link to the Etsy shop.