Ingredients for a fulfilling creative career: the Auckland textile printer making an impression

After a career in New Zealand’s fashion industry, Rachel Moore felt it was time to combine her textile knowledge and and artistic creativity together – leading to the creation of her Ingredients Design brand (also known as texdesign here on Felt). Rachel works with 100% linen fabric for its environmental and tactile qualities, and sees her work as providing the ingredients to make a space a home.


 

 
What do you make?
I design and handprint linen fabrics which are made into bespoke cushions, pouch bags and other interior goods. My brand is Ingredients Design, as I feel that what makes a space a home is not the walls, roofline or awesome location, but the ingredients you add to it. These “ingredients” can showcase a personality, interest or hobbies – and this is what makes up the recipe of your home.

How did you get into your craft?
I have always had a love for textiles and sewing. At a young age my mother taught me to sew and that lead to a 25 year career in New Zealand’s rag trade. About ten years ago I began abstract painting and loved experimenting with paint and creating artworks which I sold through various art galleries and art sales. After much soul searching I left the fashion industry but have never lost my love for textiles. I knew I still needed a creative output so started to look into combining my love of art and textiles. With a lot of research and learning of some new skills I settled upon the concept of printing my own designs on my favourite fibre and creating beautiful items for the home.

Do you have any formal training or qualifications?
I completed a two year fashion design course back in the day and had a career based around pattern making, design, range building, sales and company management so most of my skills come from experience! I have taken art classes, textile printing workshops and love to research any areas I am lacking in.


 

 

 
Your favourite material?
I am a linen lover! Linen has to be one of the oldest fibres known and has so many great qualities. I love the look, feel and texture you get with linens and above all it’s a natural fibre with a production that’s one of the least invasive on our environment. Did you know that the growing and production of linen uses 5-20 times less water than cotton and synthetic fabrics? In its natural state it is fully biodegradable, yet is 30% stronger than cotton. It is moth and rot resistant, hypo-allergenic and just gets softer and better with age. What more could you want!

Tell us about some of your tools, techniques and processes
Where to start! My linen cloth is all washed and pre-shrunk before I go anywhere near it with inks. I love to mix colours so often find myself mixing up a few tubs of ink, testing a colour and that will lead me into a design or pattern that works with a particular shade. I have to admit I tend to gravitate towards moody shades and simple patterns. It’s out of my comfort zone to go bright and busy!

“I feel that what makes a space a home is not the walls, roofline or awesome location, but the ingredients you add to it.”

Designs and patterns are sketched and tested and I use a variety of “tools” to create the patterns. It is often assumed I screen print but in fact 95% of my designs are all hand block printed. One of my favourite “tools” is the humble potato! It can be cut and shaped into any design, but I also love its natural curves. Definitely a labour of love when you have to print, then re-ink your potato over 50 times for one cushion!

I always like to be conscious of how things affect our environment, and the over-production of waste. I only sell feather cushion inners as these are fully biodegradable but also the best for that squishy perfect pillow. All the inks I use are water soluble and by block printing I save a lot of water by not having to constantly wash out screens. All fabric ends are used in my pouch bags so nothing goes to waste.


 

 
What inspires you?
Oh gosh… what doesn’t inspire me! I am always looking around me at different patterns, colour combinations or marks that occur in everyday life. Some days start with a complete blank mind and I have to force myself to just pick up a pen and start somewhere. Other days I love to troll the second hand stores, markets or art galleries and just see what’s out there. I love to bounce ideas around with a friend over coffee, and of course a wander through Pinterest and Instagram can help cement an idea. I have realised recently that I am a serial creator and am always keen to try something new, but sometimes do wish I could just focus on one thing!

Describe your creative process
This always starts with a feeling. You know that gut feeling that comes with an idea that you just know you have to get it down on paper? I have several sketch books that are filled with ramblings and quick sketches. Some ideas never make it past this stage while others are worked through and printed up as soon as possible.

Describe your process
My studio is based at home, where I am lucky enough to have a spare room all to myself. I do have a part time job three days a week so I love that I am able to just pop into the studio around this and just carry on with something. It is a little cramped and the view is lacking but I dream of one day having a large open studio/retail space surrounded by lots of plants, sunlight and likeminded people.


 

 

 
What are you currently listening to?
Time in my studio is a bit like a road trip when it comes to music. I love to listen to something I can sing along to when I think no-one’s listening! Loving Brooke Fraser, Ginny Blackmore, Hozier at the moment. My sons are always telling me to turn it down!

What’s your favourite childhood book and why?
I have kept an old book that my grandmother read to me as a child. It’s called “The Tall Book of Make Believe” and was printed in the early 50s. It’s a collection of short stories, poems and drawings and fascinated me as a child. It’s a little yellowed and tatty around the edges now but has become a family treasure.

Your favourite feedback from a customer?
I love customer feedback! It’s the best way to learn and grow from both the good and bad. I recently sold a retro footstool I had re-covered with one of my linen prints. Her comments here on Felt, and to me personally, made me love what I do even more:

“What an absolutely beautiful footstool, I love it. Fabric is lovely and the vintage footstool has a new life. It is a complete pleasure to purchase from this clever and equally kind maker.”

“Local makers are not only putting their goods out there but showing a part of their soul too.”

A favourite quote?
“ Only when he no longer knows what he is doing, does the painter do good things.” – Edgar Degas.

I love this as it reminds me I don’t always have to have a plan. Sometimes the best comes from just doing.

What would be your advice for those starting out in a crafty business?
Self doubt has to be the biggest hurdle. It’s so easy to get caught up in the “What if no one likes what I do?” thoughts. I am a terrible over-thinker and took me a while to realise that there will always be others doing what I do but you just have to believe in yourself, do it your way and have a go!


 

 
Why do you think it’s important to buy handmade or locally made goods?
Why not! Such a great way to support and show that you appreciate and understand the time and soul that someone has put into that product. Local makers are not only putting their goods out there but showing a part of their soul too, so you can be guaranteed the quality is better than the mass produced.

What was the last handmade item you bought and what attracted you to it?
I bought a hanging plant holder for my wall. It’s a beautiful ceramic piece that I got at a local school fundraising event so supported the artist and raised funds for the school.

What’s in store for the rest of 2019?
I am planning to spend a bit more time on my paintings as I am showing at the Artfushions exhibition in September, but will continue with the cushions and will add some new products to my Felt store. I recently learnt how to make soy candles and may add these later in the year.

Special offer!
Rachel has a great offer for Felt readers this fortnight, with a 20% discount on everything in her Felt shop for her entire feature fortnight. Just choose your favourite pieces from Rachel’s gorgeous range of Ingredients Design cushion covers and accessories, add them to your basket, and enter the code TEXDESIGN20 in the voucher code field during checkout to receive your discount. Thanks Rachel!

 

See Ingredients Design’s range here »

 

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