Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Amazing William Morris

On a recent trip to Europe I visited some beautiful textile museums, probably the most inspiring being the William Morris Museum in London. Situated in his old family home, it is a great overview of his life and work.

If you’re not familiar with his name, you will definitely recognise Morris' textile designs; intricate, flowing and truly timeless, they are just as admired today as they were when first produced in the late 1800's.

Some of William Morris' most popular designs.
Morris' ever-evolving business started as an interior design consultancy firm which also produced the items they used to ‘deck-out’ some of the wealthiest people’s homes of the time. He was a big player in the Arts and Crafts movement and eagerly encouraged the resurgence of traditional British textile arts and artisan manufacturing. Morris was quite revolutionary in his socialist views, he despised the Industrial Revolution and the ugliness it brought with it.

Hand drawn and painted wall paper design, fabric length and wood block-cut at the William Morris Museum.
I found the similarities of the textile manufacturing world that Morris lived in and our own local textile industry fascinating. The difficulties he faced such as ethical manufacturing and affordability for the ‘everyday’ person are very much topical for us at Frankie and Swiss and for many of our customers. He had setbacks and failures along the way (like painting a hall at Oxford University without proper preparation so that it faded within months) which is always encouraging to hear that these kind of things can happen to the most successful of people!

Wall paper and textile swatches in the museum. (We like Morris' views on gentler dyes and colours!)
I also visited museums in France, Switzerland and more in England with some of the most incredible textile pieces. The richness of the textiles and garments that were created even from very early times across Europe and the Middle East always blows me away. 

Beautiful embroideries and jacquard woven fabric at Musee des Tissus in Lyon, France.
Another must-see destination for me in England was Chatsworth House (if you're an Austen nerd like me, it's Pemberley in the 2007 movie). What I loved most about this stately home was the way the beautiful, old artworks, furniture and home-wares were displayed alongside modern art pieces. The juxtaposition gave a life to the house and showed the older pieces in a new light - very different from some of the stuffy old castles! It gave modern art and design a place in the history of the house. Check out the incredible modern art exhibition of chairs they currently have scattered through the house here.

Antique Japanese wallpaper, heavily embroidered curtains and a modern art chair installation at Chatsworth House.
Back in the studio and I'm still of course getting to see beautiful, printed textiles. 


Friday, June 5, 2015

Call for Entries!!! The Flying Duck Hotel Design Competition

The Flying Duck Hotel, Prahran

The Flying Duck Hotel is on the hunt for duck inspired works of art! 
 Under New Management and re-opening soon, with a whole new look!! 
Sky is the limit here! Photography, digitally rendered and traditional 
drawing to sketching, painting or collage….

The only criteria is that it has to be of ducks, inspired by ducks or of 
The Flying Duck Hotel itself!!

Top 40 design will be displayed in the pub with full credits to the artist 

How it Works
1. Create your duck related design. 
2. Download the entry form (see below)
3. Submit your design. Email us at with your entry form and design file.
4. Hashtag your design at #giveaflyingduck (optional but so much fun!)
5. Winners will be selected by The Flying Duck Hotel Management 

1st place Prize: $500
2nd Place  Prize: $250 
3rd Place Prize: $250

The judges will also decide on their favourite top 40 Duck or Duck inspired designs which will be displayed on the walls of The Flying Duck Hotel.

     Submission guidelines
Multiple submissions welcome
Entries must be submitted:
as a JPEG file at 150dpi
no larger than 10MB

The closing date for entries is Monday 22nd June 2015

The Flying Duck Hotel is looking for an eclectic array of designs so basically if it’s in the spirit of Ducks it’s good to go!
Or head to their social media pages Instagram/ Facebook 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Angie Rehe drawing class

Angie Rehe of The Patsyfox Drawing Salon is doing an

Introduction to Fashion Illustration course 

at Frankie and Swiss!

Classes start on Monday 25th May. 
For bookings or more info head to

There are only a couple of spots left so get in quick if you would like to come and join in!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Intern Projects

At the Frankie and Swiss studio we are very fortunate to have many creative and talented individuals regularly coming through our doors as part of work experience or internships. We love allowing our workplace students and interns the chance to come up with their own projects that tie in their own interests and studies with something that fits into the Frankie and Swiss world!

This gorgeous recycled fabric bag was created by Eleanor Carrucan, who spent her week-long, year 10 work experience with us. With limited time Eleanor jumped right in and with a mixture of hand and machine sewing created this lovely addition to our collection of ideas to recreate beautiful items from what would otherwise be waste.
Options for projects include working to design briefs, learning about 'Florence' (and the process of digital print onto natural fibre fabrics), helping us tackle various jobs around the studio and working on projects that recycle our scrap fabric. We love the way that each person we invite to be part of our team, brings with them their own interpretation of how these projects might look and we wanted to share with you some of the results. 

The very talented Leanza Tang joined us for a couple of months last year. Leanza was in the final stages of completing a BA in Textile Design at RMIT - majoring in Weave, Leanza chose to take on design briefs to create some new “basics” for our textile design library (more on that soon!). We love her use of layers, textures and colour combinations.

Fabric swatches of the range Leanza created for our Textile Design Library (more on that soon!).
To see some of Leanza’s stunning woven creations that she has been working on this year    

The super lovely Charlotte Campbell spent her time very patiently working on a recycled fabric project with some stunning results. The brief for Charlotte’s project was that she could use any of the offcuts of fabric around the studio but they had to be used in a way that made any printing unrecognisable. Using a mixture of different techniques from spinning to knitting and sewing, Charlotte came up with several items, all of them unique and beautifully hand made.

Amy Lawrence came to Frankie and Swiss from Kangan Institute where she is studying Applied Fashion Design & Technology. With an interest in Fashion illustration and an amazing talent for biro illustration, Amy got to work on a series of artworks to be used as placement prints and included in our Textile design library.
Amazing illustrations by Amy all done in ball point pen illustrations (really!)
Biro Bowie! Another of Amy's illustrations printed on to 100% Linen to create a very cool tea towel.
We are always impressed by the amazing talent and beautiful individuality expressed as each of these creatives took a brief and brought their own interpretation to the project. How lucky are we to have so many amazingly talented people coming to spend time with us and add to the creative energy here in the Frankie and Swiss studio? 

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Studio Update!

Happy New Year to you all!  We hope 2015 is off to a great start! 

We've been getting back into the swing of things here at the studio and are busy working on some pretty exciting projects - more on that later!

In other exciting news; many of you would have met Bridie, one of the F&S team, Bridie is heading off overseas with her charity Ndoto Afrika. Ndoto Afrika is a grass roots initiative which focuses on fundraising for and overseeing sustainable, community based projects in Africa. 

Bridie on her last trip to Africa

Ndoto Afrika events over the last two years have not only been important fundraisers but have also been incredibly fun nights, filled with art, music and great food. The Melbourne event was held here in the Frankie and Swiss studio.
Bridie's hard work and passion we've seen over the last few years has resulted in the first project getting under way in Tanzania. Bridie will travel to Chamwino in Morogoro (Tanzania) where the community is in desperate need of basic sanitation facilities. Ten toilets will be built in three different schools, making a huge difference to the well being of the student's and their access to education. On-going education for the community on hygiene will also be a focus to ensure the sustainability and longevity of the project.
Toilets being built in Tanzania.

Here at Frankie and Swiss we are super proud of Bridie's amazing dedication to such a worthwhile project and we wish her all the best on her trip. She will be missed here in the studio for the month that she's away!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Christmas Printing Dates

Oh my goodness! Is it that time of the year already! Where has the year gone? :) 
Florence has been very busy printing lots of beautiful fabrics and is getting busier and busier as Christmas approaches. So make sure you get your orders in early so we can ensure your project can be sent to you in time for Christmas.  Also we all know Australia Post is stretched at this time of year – so allowing for postage time is super important!

We'll be printing all the way up to Friday 19th Dec with a last mail run on Tuesday 23rd Dec - keep in mind Australia postage times! 

LAST CUSHION/other product PRODUCTION ORDERS= 5th December
LAST PRINTING ORDERS = Monday 8th December 
LAST PRINTING DAY = Friday 19th December
LAST MAIL RUN = Tuesday 23rd December

We'll be back from our break and taking orders from the  Monday 12th January 2015:)
Thanks! Happy Holidays!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

August Wrap Up!

Ok, so August isn’t quite over yet and we’re not wishing it away but we have so many exciting things to talk about that we thought we’d do a little wrap up of all the goings-on over the past month.

It’s been incredibly busy in the Frankie and Swiss world; Florence (the printing machine) has been busy producing lovely prints as always, there have been events, competitions, an open studio and an art fair – the weeks have flown by!

We recently held our inaugural textile design competition as part of our involvement in the 2014 Craft Cubed Festival. It was such a refreshing and exciting time for us receiving all the amazing designs! We received 94 entries in all which totally blew us away.  Thank you to everyone who submitted a design (thanks also to those who persisted when our inbox got a little full! We really appreciate it).  The judging panel was made up of special guests Rowena Martinich, Carla Fletcher, Gemma Jones (Craft Cubed organiser) as well as Frankie and Swiss co-owner Jacqui. The judges carefully shortlisted their favourite designs that would print beautifully onto our natural fibre fabrics.  After many hours deliberating they chose Alisha Baker and Jessica Buckley’s 'Melbourne Pojagi' design (for the OK Computer category), 'Cycling' by Liza Freddi (‘With My Own Two Hands’ category) and Caitlin Shearer’s design ‘Posie Palette’ (Best in Show). The winners receive cash prizes and their design printed onto our 100% Linen fabric. Thanks to everyone who got involved and cast their votes for the People’s Choice Award via Facebook. With a total of 370 ‘likes’ Chloe Caday won with her beautiful painted design – you can view all the beautiful entries on our Frankie and Swiss Facebook page.

The winning designs printed onto our 100% Linen.
The judges in the studio.

We opened our doors on Saturday the 23rd and invited people to see how it all works here in the studio.  We had Florence in action for printing demonstrations, fabric swatches and samples, a fabric lucky dip and of course lots of sweets, treats and gluhwein to share around! It’s always lovely to see lots of new faces and get a chance to talk about new projects and ideas for printing. Thanks to all who popped in to say hello. 

We were proud to support local artist and lovely lady Minna Gilligan in the recent Melbourne Art Fair.  We printed her amazing artworks on our Cotton Canvas which adorned the walls of her creative space at the fair in the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building. Minna’s works are amazing explosions of colour and collage and so much fun to see come off the printer! Her space was a place for both kids and adults to create their own collage and was a lovely little pit stop in between all the art viewing. 

Minna Gilligan's space at the 2014 Melbourne Art Fair

Minna's beautiful artworks printed on our Cotton Canvas.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Open Studio and Winners announced this Saturday!

As part of Craft Cubed 2014, Craft’s annual festival, we invite you to come visit our studio this Saturday in South Yarra and meet ‘Florence” the two tonne digital textile printing machine. 

We will be throwing open our studio doors for an afternoon of learning, making, printing and fun! Watch Florence in action with a digital textile printing demonstration and hear about the fundamentals of digital textile printing and design. 

We will also be announcing the WINNERS of the F&S design competition!  Head over to Facebook  now and have a look at (and vote for) your favourite entries! What a challenge it's going to be to judge! many amazing and talented designers! Thank you to all who entered:)

We'll have the finalists work on display on Saturday and we can't wait to announce with the judges who the winners will be. What fun:) Think we might do something like this every year, what do you think?! 

Hope to see you:)

This Saturday!
August 23 
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Entries close in 5 days! The F&S/Craft Victoria design comp!


If you don’t already know, we are running a fabric design competition in conjunction with our Open Studio event for the Craft Cubed Festival 2014.

Whatever medium you create art with, whatever technique you use, from abstract art and traditional drawing to sketching, painting, or doodling—we’re looking for it all! There’s not much time left, so send on through your work!

We are privileged to have the following amazing ladies as judges for the competition. Hand claps for Gemma Jones from Craft Victoria, artist Rowena Martinich and current Archibald Prize nominee Carla Fletcher.

A bit about Rowena:
She’s is an abstract expressionist with a difference. While her work is sometimes displayed within the white pristine space of the art gallery, it is more likely to be found in the spaces of the everyday – the shop, the train, the school, the office, the cafĂ©. We’ve known Rowena since the very beginning of our little business now, and can honestly say she is one of the wisest, nicest and savvy ladies going around!

A bit about Carla:
“Carla studied fine art at RMIT and is a talented drawer, painter and stylist. She has been a finalist in many of Australia’s most prestigious Art Prizes including The Archibald Prize, The Sulman Prize, The Black Swan Prize and the Portia Geach Memorial Award for Women painters.  After many requests, she recently she released her very first limited edition print run of works from her sell out exhibition ‘Grey‘ at Tinning Street Gallery earlier this year” . words by Lucy from The Design Files June 2014
image description

A bit about Gemma:
“ My work revolves around a play with the mass produced image – reviving and focusing in on a fragment or a moment that is easily dismissed, discarded or forgotten within the bombardment of commercial culture.  I like the idea of emptying the image of its original purpose or intent.  An image or a face can suddenly be re-born just like that.” Gemma is a Melbourne craft institution all unto herself! An artist, writer, teacher, and the organiser extraordinaire of the Craft Cubed Festival 2014!

All the details here:

design comp mock up v2 opt1

2 posts in a day! First up: Brown Owls this Thursday

Here are some photos of July’s Southside Brown Owls meet at the studio – newcomers and regular ladies, it was such a fun night. As I’m (Michelle) based out of the States for a little while, my Brown Owls partner in crime Shannon is going to be flying the Brown Owls flag! She’ll be switching between venues, F&S and Miss Jackson cafe. All good!

We love new faces, so don’t be shy, email florence[at] or rsvp via facebook, here, or twitter and do come along!

Date: THURSDAY 14th August 2014
Time: 7:30pm onwards

brown owls

Venue: Frankie and Swiss, Ground Floor, 199 Toorak Road, South Yarra. It’s the building on the corner of Toorak and Claremont Street. Right on the #8 tram or a 2 second walk from South Yarra station. I’ll also have parking available underneath the building. You’ll need to call me (9826 4261) to buzz you under:)
Craft: BYO a project
Goodies: I think we have to have Gluhwein again! And the usuals, tea and biscuits – Feel free to bring something along as well.

RSVP: You can leave a comment here or email florence[at], facebook, or twitter.

Have fun!!
xx Michelle





Monday, August 4, 2014

Angie Rehe Drawing Workshop

The amazingly talented Angie Rehe of the Patsyfox Drawing Salon is running a great workshop here at the Frankie and Swiss studio next weekend! 

   Email the Patsyfox Drawing Salon to book your spot.