Textiles have always been an important part of my life. Growing up on a farm in South West Victoria, the youngest of six kids, I loved the simplicity of life on the land, always barefoot or in gumboots. Day trips were exciting, as out came my yellow dress with puff sleeves a peter pan collar and lace up shoes.
Textiles run in the family – my grandparents were milliners as was my aunt, who made velvet horse riding hats. My sister and I felt like queens, riding bareback with our stylish hats from Dorothy Johnson in Sydney.
Textiles were further woven into my life through the nearby Fletcher Jones manufacturing plant. Sited on an old tip on Mt Pleasant, the plant eventually employed over 1000 locals and became a great Australian brand. Sir Fletcher Jones was an inspiring man who treated his workers well, even employing a German chef to raise standards in the staff canteen.
A seasonal trip with mum to the factory store was the start of my journey into fabrics. Mum would order custom-made pieces in fine merinos and cottons, to top up her wardrobe. In my teenage years the connection to the Fletcher Jones plant deepened as most of my friends worked there. Equally the FJ gardens delighted each time you passed, and still do today.
Once I was old enough to leave the farm and head for Melbourne, I decided that I wanted to work for Adele Palmer, the founder and designer of Jag Australia. Amazingly, I got my dream job, and was excited to become part of her team. I loved working in the pulse of the Chapel Street hub in South Yarra.
The varied threads woven into my life have made me appreciate what goes into making our clothes, and the journey of a garment from crop to weaving mill, design and production. Those threads also explain my commitment to Australian-made garments in my current journey at Silk and Cotton Boutique in Bellingen. I love textiles and I love what I do.
Thanks to www.fjstories.org.au for the photo