Textiles as Art – Ally Bryan

I first meet Ally of Coloured Space Design four years ago when she came to Next State to print her paintings depicting the north shore of Sydney. At the time I was drawn to Ally’s work for it’s depth, texture and complexity of techniques used. Ally combines all the best elements of textile design by using her original paintings and overlaying different elements into layers to create texture and detail that represent her work more as art than surface print. The line is truly blurred with Ally and I can see her prints working perfectly as a wall hanging, as they would a summer dress. We were delighted to have Ally join our Artwork Library and wanted to ask her more about her creative process.

Your prints are created using traditional hand painting techniques, were you trained as an artist or are you self taught?

A long time ago I studied a degree in Computer Graphics where I learnt the foundations of graphic design. Later I worked as a designer at the BBC in London where I learnt to animate and work using many different layers and techniques to create a design solution. Now I find myself working in that way; each object or character is first created by hand, painted or sketched separately. Sometimes the design is composed digitally. I combine the elements as layers digitally to create the final image. Alternatively, I build the layers on the canvas or a painted surface until I reach a conclusion for the piece. Most of my work has an experimental element in it which makes it really interesting as I work with textures and techniques which eventually combine to create the final artwork. To answer your question, I guess I am self-taught however I continue to do CPD (creative playful development) by attending a variety of workshops, collaborations and online coaching. There is always some new technique of natural tool to discover when experimenting, I am really embracing this in my creative process when working on my designs.

Much of your original paintings are based around nature and marine life, do you feel a special connection to the ocean?

My childhood passion for beachcombing and my ritual of diving into any ocean at any time as often as I can is very influential in my work. When I dive into the ocean it reminds me that the world is a rolling slideshow of light and colour. I love the flow, the movement and diversity found in nature. Living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney I am lucky to be surrounded by beautiful beaches and bays, full of vivid colours and the changing seascapes. I love walking along the oceans edge – it makes me feel alive and renews my energy!

How do you seek inspiration for your design work?

Sometimes I start with an idea and the end result is completely different. I love that art can take me in so many different directions; it’s like reading a book, the twists and turns of the story line take you on a wonderful journey and eventually your reach a happy ending! I consciously surround myself with light and colour, sea and the bush. I walk, swim, look and touch – these are some of the elements that are an inspiration to me.

What does your dream creative project look like?

I love working on large scale projects such as design for a theatre or film production, corporate or boutique interiors. To work in a design team where I can design and contribute my extensive skill set would be magical. I really enjoy taking a brief and seeing how my ideas which are often influenced by nature develop. I like to create a “wow” experience that allows people to connect with their own curiosity and delight. I like my designs to help the client tell a story!

See here for a collection of Ally’s work in the Next State Artwork Library