Design Assembly recently got the opportunity to chat with Lisa Baudry to find out more about her transition from graphic designer to award-winning textile artist:
Hi Lisa, can you tell us a little bit about your background.
I grew up in rural Waikato and moved to Auckland to study graphic design in the early ’90s. After graduating I worked part-time as a ceramic painter and spent my spare time drawing and painting. I worked in administration and community arts before managing to land my first graphic design role. Following that, I went on to freelance mac-operating, then eventually developed my own client base with Polygon Design which operated for about 6 years.
Can you explain how your relatively recent transition from graphic designer to textile designer came about.
I wound down Polygon Design in 2010, when my daughter was born. I wanted to focus on my new role as a mother, and her early years were a really important time of growth for her and for me. When she started primary school, I began the process of figuring out what the next steps for my career would be.
I took a number of online courses, which helped me to discover pattern design. It seemed like an area where I was able to merge many of my skills, including graphic design, while also providing plenty of scope for hand-painting and drawing. The fact that I took up my childhood hobby of sewing again, I think, also contributed to my fascination with printed textiles.
How would you describe your illustrative style?
Trends play a big part in this field. To some extent my work is dictated by the market category and what the work will be used for. At this early stage I try to have a degree of variety in my work to allow for the greatest reach to the largest number of clients.
I think my techniques are helping to develop some distinctive styles. When I use collage, with ink and textures, I get a very layered and moody look. When I use pen or ink and work with vector shapes, the result is quite bold and graphic. I’m really interested in developing a strong original style as I think it’s so key to standing out in a pretty crowded marketplace.
What excites you most about what you do?
I love developing the work, getting in the zone, and waiting for the magic to happen. When an accident or something unexpected happens, or I try something out and it works. The process of creativity is really why I do it.
What does a typical working day in the life of Lisa Baudry involve?
Quite a bit of messing about. I’m an information junky so I read and research quite a lot. I go to the library at least once a week. I walk or bike and train getting my daughter to school and back. I social media post. I meet people. If I’m making something, that involves making lots and lots of paintings or drawings. After that lots of scanning. Then messing around with how I can assemble the work into concepts. I have a little bit of client work, but I also mix that with self-directed as my studio is still getting established.
What project, personal or professional, are you most proud of and why?
Tough question! I’m really proud of my recent collaboration with Beth Ellery for her 2018 Collection. It was very satisfying that she could see the potential of my artwork on her garments. She is an excellent designer and I love that she reaches for such high quality in her work. The manuka print translated beautifully onto the silk which I’m extremely happy about because I love natural fibres. I am also passionate about regeneration of ecosystems, so I wanted to subliminally bring the manuka plant into people’s consciousness.
What have you been working on most recently?
This week I’ve just signed off on some fantastic books with a new literary press, Paper Table. I designed the covers and inside pages. They are the first 3 books in an series of novellas. Each book features painterly botanicals on the covers. I’m hoping some of these designs will also make their way onto textiles somehow.
I’m also working with a local curtain company to develop some new prints for their custom range.
Where can we see more of your work, Lisa?
My website: www.lisabaudry.com
And finally, where to next for you? What does the rest of 2017 and early 2018 hold?
In the near future, myself and Bronwyn Lloyd are having a small exhibition as part of the Paper Table book launch. I’ll be doing some new botanical works on paper for this. I’ll also be creating a new print for Chichester (UK) homewares company Winter’s Moon.
One of my main goals in 2018 is to find a way to make my studio self-supporting so that I can grow a financially viable business. I’ll keep working on developing my own collections with the view to showing my work at some of the major textile design trade shows in 2019.
Thanks for your time, Lisa, and all the best for 2018!