Meet Field Day: New Dynamic Design Duo in Town

Hold onto your sewing machines, there’s a new dynamic duo on the design scene and they are going to knock the thread out of your needle. Field Day is the partnership of long-time friends, illustrators and pattern designers, Louise Fernando and Shelley Steer. The pattern studio is a match made in heaven that combines their love of nature and creativity, celebrates their eternal optimism and yet showcases their individual styles.

The team are launching their first collection with Nerida Hansen Fabrics and here is a taste of Field Day from a chat with our blog editor, Jacqui Taylor.

Firstly, who is Field Day? 
We are Louise Fernando (otherwise known as @louise.jones_) and Shelley Steer (just known as @shelley.steer), illustrators and textile designers who love creating patterns and are often inspired by nature.

When did the two of you meet?
Eleven years ago, while working for the same company within the fast fashion industry. We’ve since shared a studio space together and become very close friends.

Have you always thought about forming a business together?
Yes! Way back in 2014 we began A Side Project together where we created original pattern artwork based on a monthly theme. We embarked upon this personal project so we could challenge each other and start creating artwork that we really wanted to design. This kickstarted our individual careers as freelance artists. From there, our careers grew until we no longer had time to keep up with the monthly schedule. You could say we’ve been working towards formalising this partnership for quite some time!

Tell me about your creative processes. Do you seek each other’s approval or do you remain independent with your work?
We do a combination of working on designs together and also designing individually, but checking in with each other throughout the process for ideas and feedback. We had been critiquing each other's work for years before Field Day, so it’s been a natural progression to finally start working on the same files!

What are some initiatives you have taken to be more sustainable with your business?
From the beginning we both knew that we wanted to run a sustainable and ethical business, but also make a point of aligning with like-minded individuals and companies. In the planning stages we really committed to being mindful about the quality and quantity of product that Field Day would bring about. The lovely thing about designing fabric for makers and sewists, is that by its very nature, requires a certain level of thoughtfulness during the purchasing stage.
That is great! OK, now for some truth telling. Who is the messy one?
Louise: It's a tough one but if I am known to be a bit ruthless when it comes to clutter, so Shell may be more relaxed on the clutter levels than me :)

Shelley: I’m not sure you’d call either of us particularly messy, but if you were to take a sneak peek at both of our homes, studios, email inboxes… I have to concede that it is probably me. 

Tell me about your new collection for Nerida Hansen Fabrics. What was the inspiration?
The new collection is called Hidden Wildflowers and was inspired by some of the lesser-known native Australian plants. There are so many to discover, we’ve only just scratched the surface, we could probably re-visit this concept many times over and still find inspiration!

We’ve always had a strong drive and vision when working collaboratively, but hadn’t necessarily thought to partner with another business until the opportunity came about with Nerida Hansen Fabrics. This has enabled us to really focus on the creative side and with the added collective brainpower, time and energy of another business, we’ve been able to see our designs realised on fabric much more quickly!

Who has inspired you the most to date and why? Whose careers do you
follow and find most inspiring?

Louise: I admire many creatives in different fields, so I find inspiration in many forms. Currently, I love the work of artist Amy Wright, florist Hattie Molloy and wallpaper designer Anna Glover. I also admire the fashion labels who are making a difference to the fashion and textile industry with their ethical and sustainable practises, such as Obus and Carlie Ballard.

Shelley: Like Louise, I feel inspired by many people and sometimes companies. I’m continually inspired by the work of botanical artist Margaret Mee, who travelled extensively throughout her lifetime painting plants, particularly those in the Brazilian Amazon rainforests. More recently, I’ve been really enjoying the work of artists Luke Edward Hall and Camilla Perkins, jewellery designer Bianca Maverick and companies who create amazing wallpapers and textiles, like Pierre Frey, Fermoie and Liberty, just to name a few!

What are you listening to on Spotify/Podcasts?
Louise: I've been listening to a lot of podcasts on feminism and indigenous run podcasts, I'm loving The Guilty Feminist, A Podcast of One's Own by Julia Gillard, Black Magic Woman by Mundanara Bayles, and 3 Girls, 1 Keith with Amy Schumer.

Shelley: I’ve actually switched over to listening to podcasts or playing IGTV in the background, but looking at my most recent plays on Spotify, they’re by Khruangbin, Chromatics, Molly Nilsson and Arcade Fire… actually, Louise first introduced me to Arcade Fire when we worked at neighbouring desks, luckily I loved them too!

What are you looking forward to?
Louise: I'm looking forward to growing Field Day with Shelley, and seeing what creations people will make using the Hidden Wildflowers fabric collection. And a holiday for sure! We hope to travel to New Zealand in the near future which excites me very much, a new experience to learn and discover new things. 

Shelley: I'm so excited to see what people make with our fabrics. I've thoroughly enjoyed sewing with them and I hope others will too. I can't wait for spring - this is a recurring theme for me each year. Our second collection won't be too far off at that point and without giving too much away, it really celebrates the warmer months.

Do you have a dream collaboration or project?
There are a few dream collaborations we have added to our wishlist which we’re hoping will come true one day. We’re planning on launching our wallpaper range soon which we’re very excited about.

Describe your designs in three words.
Botanical, playful, original.

To finish with, what advice would you offer to those that are starting out as an artist/designer?
Create the work you would love to create for others and get it out into the world.

Thanks for sharing a little more insight into yourselves, Louise and Shelley. We wish you all the very best with your new venture and welcome you to the Nerida Hansen Fabrics family. To shop the range visit www.neridahansen.com.au.