Forever in Blue.. when two Brisbane Creatives come together

October 24, 2019

Artist Michelle Grayson and Deanne Mayocchi

In September 2019 Sprout Gallery joined with Maiocchi fashion designer Deanne Mayochi. Together the two Brisbane designers collaborated on a beautiful fashion range using Michelle's paintings and Dee's fashion designs.

The below is an interview taken from Maiocchi's blog page.

For our 'Forever in Blue' 2019 Summer Collection, our designer Dee collaborated with talented local artist Michelle Grayson from 
Sprout Gallery

We have asked Michelle about her experience working with Dee to create these beautiful prints…

How did you get started as an artist / textile designer?

It’s a bit cliché but I’d have to say my mum. I grew up in a very creative household, my mum phoebe still paints and teaches art today, and it was her love that steered me in this direction.
My background is in graphic design but I also have a degree in Fine Arts as well as Communication so I dabbled in marketing and trade fairs. The trade fair gave me a knowledge of how the retail and trade side of things were run. I then worked for a couple of well-known fashion houses in their marketing and display department but ironically it wasn’t creative enough so I returned to graphic design. However, I found the graphic design background - although helpful in marketing my brand -  wasn’t the outlet I was looking for anymore to channel my creativity. I’d always wanted to ‘just paint’ (not computer art) and have a go at textiles after watching my cousin in the UK hand-paint designs for wallpapers and fabrics for Next and Laura Ashley etc. I knew I’d eventually head in this direction one day. I’m lucky that the watercolour paintings I create can be used so beautifully on textiles. My trade mark is blue and white chinoiserie.

What do you love about your job?

I get to be creative all day - every day. I get to be there for my family and work around my kid’s school hours – it helps that I have a very supportive hubby as well. My family gets to be part of the journey too and everything I have done in my life has led up to where I am now including all the lovely creative people I have met along the way. I get a kick out of meeting down to earth creative people from the various industries. mostly I love the solitude of just me, my paint brush, my cup of tea and some music.

Why do you always work in blue and white?
I just totally love blue and white - both décor and fashion. all the beautiful old brands we have grown up with or inherited from our grandmothers such as Chinese porcelain or the dutch designs known as Delftware which were ceramics copied from Chinese exports during the 17th century are beautiful. There is so much history at our fingertips on the internet that it makes it easy for someone like me to paint or redesign these beautiful pieces in my own way.

What was it like working with our designer dee on the ‘Forever in Blue’ collaboration? 
Dee is such an easy-going, sweet person. She told me what she was looking for and showed me the sort of fabrics my designs would be complimenting. We looked at some designs and she and her team just seemed to know what to do with all the artwork pieces I was painting. I really love how Maiocchi montaged my art together in one particular design. It’s got everything from bunnies, to cats, to waterlilies entwined. It really was lots of fun and it’s going to be such an ‘up there moment’ to see people wearing my art on their dress. it was a pretty fun experience and I love that our mutual mummy friend Kym O’Gorman from KOG marketing got us together.

What is your process for creating these beautiful paintings? 
I get this urge to paint something (or someone might suggest something) and then I start looking. I always love suggestions. I probably get about ten ideas and then dwindle them down to one or two and then design. If I can’t find something and I can’t photograph it because the flower or pot etc is not accessible, then I piece it together in photoshop so I have a photo of it. My graphics background does come in handy.

How long does it take you to do each painting?
It depends, I can’t just sit and paint and paint. I have to get up every half hour to give my neck a rest. Some paintings are more intricate than others. most paintings take about three days (off and on) and up to a week or two.

Which is your favourite frock from the ‘forever in blue’ collection? 
It’s a hard one but I totally love the square neckline on the 'Mind your Manners' dress in indigo but I am very partial to the lovely antique look of the 'Cinderella' top in white. I love the willow pattern embroidered on the front.
These beautiful fashion pieces are available from Maiocchi

Photos courtesy of Kate Luke Photography and slapics

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