Blue Lawn Designs
One half of Blue Lawn Designs, Chris McDonald attended the Melbourne College of Printing and Graphic Arts, completing a five-year apprenticeship in Screen Printing and Stencil Preparation. During the early 1970s he was apprenticed to Alf Evans of A Charles Print, producing some of the earliest photographic images on tee shirts in Australia. Chris also learned textile printing from master yardage printers supplying the fashion and soft furnishing markets.
Later, he teamed up with Alf again who had bought a firm called Textile Convertors, of Hawthorn. Chris left Melbourne in the 1970s for Western Australia where he set up Snapshot Screen Printing in Mosman Park - likely the earliest textile yardage printers in the state. His visual arts journey has been an interrupted affair, and after some decades away from textile printing, his circuitous life journey has brought him back with a renewed vigour for this enduring craft. "It was something I learned when I was young and I loved it. It has never left me".
Blue Lawn Designs was set up by Chris and his wife Claire Bradshaw in 2010. Their design and screen printing studio is located on the ground floor of the Pakenham Street Art Space (PSAS) in Fremantle. As well as sharing a creative space, they also share a home, two children, debts, domestic tasks and a resilient sense of humour. Original art and design are sources of much enjoyment for them and increasingly, for their children.
Chris started screen printing when he was fifteen and it definitely got under his skin, and he is dedicated to maintaining this hands-on tradition. He finds that the richness of colour and texture that comes from applying liquid inks onto fabric, wood and paper is far superior to other methods such as desktop inkjet printing. Screen printing deserves to be enjoyed for a while yet.
The Blue Lawn design philosophy centres on celebrating the everyday in a new and interesting light: hence the name Blue Lawn, which alludes to a new way of highlighting familiar things in the environment. The tag line ‘Art where you are’ refers to Western Australia’s natural environment, buildings and domestic spaces immediately surrounding them, that are drawn on to create their designs. All of their products are designed and printed by hand, by them. As ever, they aim to produce distinctive products that are of practical and aesthetic value to people every day.
Made in Western Australia.