Last updated 10:16, April 10 2018ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Meet pattern designer and 2018 Bolt of Cloth competition winner Lisa Baudry as she talks to us in her home studio in Avondale, Auckland.
An illustrator, graphic designer and portrait artist, easygoing Lisa Baudry specialises in the wonderful world of shapes, patterns and colours.
She began with designs for branding, then expanded into patterns for paper products and apparel, such as for fashion designer Beth Ellery, now she's moving into the world of interiors.
Her recent victory in the 2018 Bolt of Cloth textile competition might have been her first official foray into patterns for interior textiles, but it's one that's got her hooked.Sign up for the >Homed newsletter
"The first time I saw some of my work get reproduced onto silk, I just loved that it moved," Baudry said. "It's artwork that moves. I love it. It just seems so flat now on cardboard or paper. I love that you can wear it or that it can be part of your life."
These days a resident of Auckland suburb, Avondale, where she lives with her husband Kris and her daughter, Marlowe, 8, Baudry hails from a little place down the line. Which may be where her fascination with natural forms began.ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Artist and designer Lisa Baudry at her home studio in Avondale.
"I'm a real rural person in my heart because I grew up in a very small rural community in the Waikato," she said.
"The name of the place is Kaihere. It's a very special place for me and I lived there with my family until I was 18, when I moved to Auckland and it was a big shock."
A family of multiples, Baudry herself is an identical twin. After taking art throughout high school, she followed in the footsteps of sister to study graphic design at AUT university, graduating in 1994.INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
The 60s meet chinoiserie hues in this appealing floral design by Baudry.
To make ends meet she painted ceramics part time, at three different establishments. The ceramic houses apparently preferred to hire graphic designs students over those doing fine arts, as the graphic artists were considered "more disciplined."
"I got really good at painting," Baudry said. "Cup after cup after cup."
In her spare time she would continue practicing her drawing and painting. "I was really driven to get better and practice my skills."INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
Left, Baudry's winning 'Wilderness' collection that took out top spot in this year's Bolt of Cloth competition. Right, Baudry takes inspiration directly from nature on a rainy day.
Baudry then worked as a graphic designer in commercial studios until she started her own design business in 2006, choosing to hit the pause button in 2009 when she had her daughter.
"I wasn't very good at being a powerhouse and multi-tasking all that stuff, so I chose to close it down to focus on her and spent all her early years with her until she started school."
She's been in the process of re-establishing herself for the last few years and works from her home studio, a she-shed in the backyard.INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
Baudry on the steps outside her garden studio in Avondale, Auckland.
"I'm really enjoying the change and it's been exciting to do the things that have come along so far."
Her work is influenced by folk art florals, chinoiserie, ancient art and geometric styles of the 1960s, for Baudry, patterns are "a language with infinite mood."
"I want my work to feel contemporary but connected to the past, but I think the nature of pattern is that it is optimistic. To quote Orla Kiely, 'What I love about pattern it it's ability to convey happiness, which is a much under-rated aspect of design,' and she also says, 'To cut yourself off from pattern is like depriving yourself of a sense, or living without music.'"ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Some of Baudry's textile prints have been used by fashion designer Beth Ellery.
"I'm heavily influenced for some of my more bold graphic stuff by the prints of the 60s. I love the boldness, the scale, how resolved the shapes are, and the colours of course."
She finds art and history to be a wealth of inspiration at her fingertips thanks to the internet.
"Over the past few years I've been very inspired by the motifs in 15th and16th century Italian ceramics, early photographic prints by Henry Fox Talbot which were mostly depicting plant forms, botanical illustrations, medieval illuminations, some of which have such a lovely naive intimacy that I'm very fond of," she said.ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Calling her work space a "studio" and not an office is an important part for this artist of having the right mindset for creation.
"I love the Bloomsbury group and the way they went nuts and decorated their homes. I absolutely love American folk art and often look at the floral motifs in the works called Fraktur by the Dutch immigrants to the US. Love the 1960s bold and graphic prints from Maija Isola, I love the European modernists, Eastern European traditions where elaborate florals are the norm, African pattern work."
"So yeah, with all of the online material we have at our fingertips in this culture, finding inspiration is not hard at all. My curiosity is broad and wide. If it speaks to me I save it for future reference," said Baudry.
Patterns begin in her sketchbook in vivid or 4B pencil, then she scans the pages, picks out icons that appeal to her and plays with them in Adobe Illustrator to create vector artwork. The motifs often go through "many, many" iterations and colour options before the final design is achieved.
"Colour can really make or break whether it works or whether people like it as well," said Baudry.INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
Botanical designs in ink by Baudry.
Her "gestation period" for a design can be admittedly, "quite long."
"Because of my design background I really like honing the shape of the vector elements and making sure they're really pleasing to the eye," said Baudry. "So I'll often work on those shapes for quite a long time. Print them out in colour and then revise. Refining, refining."
"When I make a break through on a design I do a little dance," said Baudry.
Her winning designs for Bolt of Cloth are a collection called 'Wilderness' and were not vector artwork. "I used a lot of ink and I used brushes and different ink tools to just do direct drawing. A lot of different plant forms."
The green and denim colour-way is dubbed Tanglefern, the design with blobs and branches is Caprosma and Berry, and the last design is called Sage Green Feathery Fern. Inspiration for the designs came from her own garden and a stretch of bush that goes down to the sea in Blockhouse Bay.
Music is key to her creation process but the genre will depend on which type of work she's producing. For example, for something like her Bolt of Cloth designs, Baudry would listen to classical music.INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
Left, a pattern produced by Baudry that is a favourite with her twin sister. Right, this pink and black art deco-inspired design is a winner.
"I'm really into music, it's one of the life forces in my life. It's very powerful and comforting for me. Things like Ravi Shankar and the Inspan meditational music is quite amazing for some work," she said, "Because it's trying to get into 'the zone' that people talk about, that real flow of concentration."
"I'm a real big fan of Concert FM," she laughed.
If she has any downtime, you might find her wiling "away hours on etsy looking for vintage sewing patterns", playing netball or "ferociously reading."INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
This pattern designer prefers an "old-school" approach of drawing (or in this case stamping) onto paper and then scanning into the computer.
Constantly pushing to evolve her skills, next on the list is the medium of gouache.
"I want to try gouache this year because I've been scared of it my whole life," she said. "Some of the most amazing patterns before digital were designed in gouache. Orla Kiely used to do all her work like that and it's so beautiful."
Following that, the realm of interiors is one that holds appeal. "I would love to have my own range of furnishing fabrics," she said. "I've done quite a few custom jobs, but I'd like to get more cohesion in my work and deliver the designs in private collections is a goal I have."ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Once she's scanned the design into the computer, Baudry will turn the icons into vector art to refine their shapes and add colour.INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
Left, botanical designs on the wall in Baudry's studio. Right, her winning Wilderness collection captured on cushions.ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Baudry finds her best work comes when she's just doodling.ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Curios and patterns are laid out in Baudry's studio.INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
Left, the beginning stages of a new pattern emerges in vivid in Baudry's sketchbook. Right, a berber-inspired pattern in its final form.INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
Baudry also does portrait art using collage techniques, some are commissions like Bob Dylan on left, or homages, like this depiction of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Baudry also produces portraits using a collage method, something which started as just for fun.INSTAGRAM.COM/BAUDRY.LISA
Left, a portrait of Winston Peters by Baudry, right, some of her wrapping paper designs.ABIGAIL DOUGHERTY/HOMED
Illustration has been the name of the game for this artist since 1991.
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