Meet Christie Williams: Our Girl From The Bush

Immersed in nature is exactly how Australian illustrator and designer, Christie Williams likes it. With birds at her window, trees as her view and flowers at her feet - this is what surrounds Christie and acts as an ongoing inspiration for her creative work.

Here she chats about her recent collaboration with Nerida Hansen Fabrics called Australiana Bush, completing the full circle of design and sewing garments from her own fabric collection and the ongoing evolution of her natural style.
Christie, you’ve been a part of the Nerida Hansen Fabrics family for a few years now? When did you first start your working relationship with us?
Nerida and I met back in 2019 at her surface art industry workshop in Brisbane. Her workshop was amazing and full of wisdom and relevant advice that really inspired me. We were chatting after the class and that sparked the beginning of our working relationship together.

When I returned home from the trip to Brisbane I began working on my first fabric collection for Nerida Hansen Fabrics and we’ve been working together ever since. I love being part of the Nerida Hansen Fabrics family and I am so grateful for the opportunity she has provided me over the years to showcase my designs with her brand. 
How have your designs changed/grown over the years?
When I first started designing patterns I came from a greeting and gift wrap background so the colours I worked in, plus my illustration style was more commercially driven to suit colour trends and a variety of themes. Over time I noticed that the designs I was most excited to create always featured Australian flora and fauna and were inspired by experiences and things I’d seen in nature. I moved away from designing what was trending and have been creating what I want to see in the world, patterns with more obscure Aussie animals and flowers that are equally beautiful but usually less seen in fashion and fabric, like the wax flower or the snowy daisy bush.  

I really loved painting in watercolour but found it hard to get the colours accurate when I would scan the paintings, so I moved to digital drawing methods instead. My first year of pattern making was much more digital as I hadn’t found that sweet spot between digital and traditional art making yet.

My designs are still evolving and growing but I’m finally getting closer to a style that feels like a good balance of both traditional and digital.  
Tell me about your recent release, the Australiana Bush collection. What has been your inspiration?
For this collection I wanted to create designs featuring some of my favourite Australian flora and fauna in a colour palette suitable for all year round. I love getting out in nature and seeing different flowers growing together in the wild. It always inspires me and I start dreaming up patterns to create. These designs are a collection of memories of different outings in nature and the animals and plants I saw that really inspired me to create each design.

The wax flower design was inspired by a Monbulk main street, the town where I live. Near our library is a beautiful native garden that is bursting with rows and rows of wax flowers, when they are all in flower it is really beautiful. The snowy daisy bush design was inspired by seeing so many of the beautiful snow like flowers sprinkled through the gully opposite my house. I was fascinated by Spotted Quolls when I visited the Trowunna Wildlife Sanctuary in Tasmanina a few years ago and couldn’t wait to draw one when we returned home. They are such an interesting animal and really beautiful to see. 

This time you embraced sewing a few garments in your own design, it completes the circle for you. Did you enjoy sewing and ultimately wearing your own designs?
I loved it! I was a little rusty at first and made a few mistakes sewing but once I had the hang of it again I really enjoyed it. The effort that goes into cutting and sewing a garment really makes you appreciate your own clothes more. My grandmother taught me to sew when I was little and gave me refresher lessons as I got older. Being able to show her something that I’ve sewn using my own designs on fabric is truly special. 

What is next for you?
I’m currently working on a new Australian floral collection that’s a blend between hand drawn florals and abstract painterly backgrounds.

Christie's designs are available at online now. Follow along with her endeavours at @christie.williams.design.