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Everything Begins

Meet the Maker - The Print Society.

Posted on April 16, 2013 by Amy There have been 0 comments

The Print Society is the latest design studio to join the Everything Begins design collective and online boutique.  We are pretty excited to introduce The Print Society to you - we absolutely love colour and we know our customers do to, so we are pretty damn sure you are going to love these new designer cushions and designer textiles from The Print Society, available in-store right now!

The Print Society | Designer Cushions | Karen Johnston Karen Johnston, Designer-Maker of The Print Society.
















The Print Society's designs are driven by colour, shape and scale, ensuring that their homewares and accessories are innovative yet simplistic at heart.  The Print Society's designer cushions and designer textiles are influenced by their travels and love of traditional textiles from cultures far and wide, old and new. The Print Society takes a practical approach to their work and design, and can often be found toying with geometrics and mark making.

We caught up with Karen Johnston, the designer and printer behind The Print Society in her Sydney studio.  Karen loves to work with natural fabrics such as hemp and linen and all of her fabric is hand printed locally in Sydney, Australia.  The Print Society uses water based, non-toxic inks and dyes and have a sustainable, low impact approach to manufacturing and materials.

The Print Society | The Print Society Designer Cushions The Print Society Designer Cushions, Colour Collector collection.

Everything Begins somewhere. Tell us a bit about your background – what path led you to what you are doing now?

I’ve been printing for over ten years now. I originally studied Fashion Design at East
Sydney Tafe and started to play around with printed fabrics to ensure I could create
completely unique designs. I returned to study Textile Design and Printing a few years
later to sure up my printing skills and methods. Designing homewares is great for a
printer as these kind of products allow you to focus on the print design rather than the
shape of the item.

The Print Society | Designer Cushions | Reversible Cushions The Print Society | Designer Cushions | Reversible Cushions

What challenges have you faced since starting out as an artist and on the flip side your biggest triumph?
Space can be a challenge, as printing takes up a lot of room, but you learn to create work
arounds when you need to. We’ve had some create media coverage so far, which has been fantastic, but our biggest triumph would really be the high level of customer satisfaction that we’ve achieved.

How would you describe your work & what would you say is the most special thing about your work?
I like to work with lots of colour. That doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s always bright colours, although they do feature heavily, but rather an eclectic use of colour. I also work
with traditional mark making techniques, whilst keeping a certain amount of focus on
shape and scale. The most special thing about my work is my experimentation process.
Testing new methodologies, materials and ideas, keeps me on the go!

The Print Society | The Print Society Designer Cushions | Chevron Cushion The Print Society Emerald Green and Chevron Diamond Dust cushion

Your cushions are reversible, meaning people get two cushions in one!  We think this is a brilliant idea, what inspired you to do this?  
I really wanted to give my customers more bang for their buck! Plus I think it's great to be able to change your look, just like you would with clothing!  It's nice to be able to change things up a bit!
The Print Society | The Print Society Designer Cushion | Chevron Cushion The Print Society reversible designer cushion in Ultra Violet Diamond and Peacock Blue.

What are you most proud of in your work?

I am most proud of the positive reaction I’ve had from customers in relation to the designs
and materials. Feedback is really important to me and it also provides a lot of motivation.

What kind of material do you think has great possibilities?
Hemp – I think Hemp has long been associated only with environmentally sustainable
projects and products, however its incredible durability is often forgotten. Products made
from hemp have a very long life span.

The Print Society | Designer Throw | Brush Stroke Throw The Print Society's Designer Brush Stroke Throw in black and emerald, and ‘Confetti’ print in fuschia with hand painted \ hand applied copper spots.

The Print Society | Designer Throw | Brush Stroke Throw The Print Society Designer Brush Stroke Throw

Your cushions are made of hemp and yak.  Why did you decide to use these materials over say cotton or linen?

I’ve always enjoyed working with hemp, it prints up beautifully.  Not only is hemp a sustainable product, but it’s also very long lasting.  The fibres are so strong that hemp was originally used for rope on ships, so it really improves the life span of a product.  As for the yak hair, it really adds something a little unique and very hard to find (trust me!) plus it gives the fabric a slight grey tone, rather than the natural tone that is often associated with hemp.

Which product would you redesign if you could?
Child proof lids and other types of packaging that are difficult to open – there must be a
better way!

The Print Society Designer Brush Stroke Table Cloth Neon Pink The Print Society Designer Brush Stroke Table Cloth available in multiple sizes to suit all tables.

The Print Society Designer Brush Stroke Table Cloth Neon Pink The Print Society Designer Brush Stroke Tablecloth in Neon Pink. Available to suit all table sizes.

What does a typical day at work look like?
Email, print, make, draw, cut, email, print, paint, email!

What would be your dream creative project or collaboration?
I would like to work with councils to make seat covers for park benches. Imagine being
greeted by a colourful bench at your bus stop in the morning…so much better!

If you weren’t a designer what would you do?
Horticulture – gardening and a love of plants runs in my family.

Bride and Wolfe | Bride and Wolfe Round Shelves | Circle Shelves Karen's Edit. Karen loves our Round Shelves by Bride and Wolfe. Click to view and buy.

What inspires you?
Other creative people of all types. The dedication and passion expressed by others for their work is both infectious and incredibly motivating.

What are your favourite reads, both magazines & blogs?

Overland and Meanjin





What are you listening to right now?
N.S.Cho – amazing violin, cello and piano pieces.

The House of Kami | Silk Scarf | Black and NeonYellow The House of Kami Silk Scarf, Black Sea is one of Karen's favourite EB products.

What books would we find on your bedside table?
Right now I’m reading E.M. Forster’s ‘A Passage to India’ and Amartya Sen’s ‘The Idea of
Justice’ – I like to have at least two books on the go at the same time, usually one fiction
and one non-fiction. I’m slowly compiling a list of books as I read them on my blog,
hoping for suggestions from far and wide!

What art would we find in your home?
I collect Indigenous art – our hallway serves as a gallery, and I’m filling it up piece by
piece. You would also find old maps, books and textiles on display throughout the house.

What does a perfect day off look like?
A bit of a sleep in, followed by a home cooked breakfast with my boyfriend (he’s a fantastic cook!). Then a trip to the Art Gallery of NSW or the MCA, and a wander around the Botanic Gardens to find a spot to stretch out on the grass with a book. Dinner at La Ricetta on the way back, and a quiet evening at home with my man and my puppy.

Polly George | Polly George Butterfly Teapot | Fine Bone China Polly George Fine Bone China Butterfly teapot is one of The Print Society's favourite Everything Begins' products.

What/were was the last amazing meal you ate?
The blue swimmer crab risotto at La Ricetta in Enmore – to die for!

Most treasured possession?
Is a puppy a possession? It feels wrong to say that as he’s such a little human, but my 8
month old beagle Cooper is so beautiful!

Where would we find you on a Saturday? Doing what?
Newtown – drinking coffee, pottering around in book stores – bliss!

Nga Waiata | Nga Waiata Smoky Quartz Ring The Smoky Quartz Ring by New Zealand designer Nga Waiata is another of The Print Society's favourite Everything Begins products.

Sydney’s best kept secret?
The Bower in Marrickville – a reuse and repair centre collects, repairs and sells pre-loved
furniture and the like, to divert waste from the Sydney metropolitan waste stream – best
bargains ever!

And finally, let us in on a little secret?


Buy The Print Society Designer Cushions and Designer Textiles Online Buy The Print Society Designer Cushions and Designer Textiles Online. Simply click to shop.

This post was posted in Designer Interviews and was tagged with Chevron Cushions, Colour Collector, Designer Cushions, Designer Homewares, Designer Inteviews, Designer Textiles, Everything Begins, Handmade Cushions, Hard to Find Gifts, Hard to Find Homewares, Karen Johnston, Neon, The Print Society, The Print Society Cushions, Unique Gifts