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From Canvas to Cloth

Nestled between Coledale's quiet beaches and the calming bush of the escarpment you'll find Ash Leslie - mother, wife, artist and designer. A pool of humble talent and a true friend to Fabrik, Ash's earthy tones and beautiful compositions belong here. The journey from hand painted pieces on canvas to ethically made clothes is a first for us, and we couldn't be more excited to share the process with you.
We sat down with Ash to get to know a little bit about her, as well as the inspiration behind our upcoming prints.
Tell us a little bit about yourself please.

I'm 33 years old, a mother, wife, artist and graphic designer.  I love anything to do with creativity - art, design, interiors, fashion.  I'm most happiest at the beach, op shopping and drinking coffee.
What's your lifestyle like living on the South Coast?

We live in an old miners cottage in Coledale which is tucked between the bush escarpment and the beach. Most of my week usually involves juggling my painting and design work, along with beach and park hopping with my two year old. Weekends are for family walks down to the local cafe and working on home improvements.

When did you first get into painting?

I can always remember art being my happy place as a child so I guess I started painting as soon as I was able to use my hands. I would mainly draw growing up but I started focusing on abstract painting about 7 years ago.

You have a background in graphic design, how has this shaped you as an artist?

I think it really honed composition skills which has allowed me to work instinctively. All the time spent colour matching pantones and putting together mood boards has helped me to confidently develop my colour schemes too.

We have recently collaborated to produce two exclusive prints for Fabrik, can you tell us a bit about the process?
I have been playing around with turning my artworks into prints and making clothes for years, so it was very handy to actually have some print samples to show Sarah when we originally met up to talk ideas. 
To start the process I needed to create the digital file so I took a high resolution photograph of the original artwork and then edited it in my design programs to turn it into a seamless repeat. I then did some mock ups to provide a bit of inspiration of how the print might look like in different styles and then it was up to Sarah to come up with the designs. We then got some strike offs from the printer to decide what material will work best, check the colour and a few tweaks to the scale and it was a matter of sending off the final file to the makers in Bali to start samples and then begin the production process.

What's the inspiration behind these two prints?

The Jacaranda print was created from an original canvas artwork that was inspired by sunset in my backyard under the big Jacaranda Tree. When it drops its flowers they just fall like rain and cover the lawn in lilac. I just love this colour scheme and how lilac mixes in with the warm tones.
The Peachy Sea print was inspired by my obsession with collecting shells on the beach as a child which is something I have now passed onto my daughter. I painted the collection of shells, seaweed and coral after a walk with her during isolation back in April. I love hand painted vintage prints so this was something I wanted to emulate.

Staying environmentally conscious while digitally printing was a big part of this project, why is this important to you?

The impact that the fast fashion industry is having on the environment is very concerning to me. So it was really important for me to work with a brand that has integrity and values. I love the personal nature that Fabrik have with the makers in the manufacturing studio in Bali and hearing about the garment making process too. Each piece is made with care and treated like a piece of artwork in itself.

What was your favourite part of our collaboration?
I've loved all of it. To the initial painting and dreaming up ideas to being on set for shoots. Seeing what I had imagined in my mind in real life is infact mind blowing.

What's your essential item from Fabrik?

I live in the wide leg pants. I have them in spice and brown check and whenever I'm out I always get people asking me where they are from!

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?
I guess for me my best success has come from times when I share and connect with people. It's hard to put yourself out there when your work feels very personal but if you stay true to yourself and keep doing what you love chances are you will eventually find your people who love what you do too.
The first drop of our collaboration with Ash will launch next Thursday, the 20th of August!
You can purchase Ash's beautiful artworks here, or follow along her journey. Head to our socials to see a behind the scenes video of Ash curating these special prints for us in her gorgeous home studio.

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