Textile swatch, 'Symphony col. Night', knitted wool / cardboard / metal, designed by Annie Georgeson Design Pty Ltd for Blossom Road (Aust) Pty Ltd, Australia, 2002-2003
The Annie Georgeson designs are innovative and creative in their use of surface interest through texture, colouring, and patterning. The quilted knit structure and reversible effect, maximizes the versatility for the end user. The ergonomic properties are outstanding due to the light and bouncy characteristic of the material, warm in winter without bulk, comfortable in summer, and complete absence of 'prickle', and comfort next to the skin due to minimal contact points. Georgeson was invited several years ago by the SRS breeders to value add to their raw material with the Annie Georgeson Design logo, distinctive design style, and use of colour
The SRS fibre is a registered trademark world wide, for breeding and for textiles. SRS is the first trademark for wool since Woolmark. This new wool is only bred under licence to The SRS Company.
These products are a good example of the collaboration between a graphic and textile designer and an animal biologist who specialises in improving the follicle and fibre characteristics of merino wool.
The textile swatch was designed by Annie Georgeson and made by Blossom Road (Aust) Pty Ltd, knitwear manufacturer, using the SRS Wool developed by Jim Watts and The SRS Company Pty Ltd in Australia between 2002 and 2003.
SRS Wool is produced using a new animal breeding system that was identified and developed by Jim Watts, a veterinarian and CSIRO wool researcher. His research speciality is on the follicle and fibre characteristics that enhance fleece quantity and quality. He made important advances in showing that fibre bundle was the basic unit of fleece structure, and from this fundamental finding, developed a fleece marker and sheep-breeding system that produces Merino sheep of unparalleled ,fleece weight, fibre fineness and secondary follicle development. Over the past 13 years, Watts has worked as a breeding consultant to 50 leading Merino studs throughout Australia. He is the Managing Director of the SRS Company Pty Ltd., which was established in 1998.
The wool fibre improvements are genetically induced and they can be transferred through to the fabric. The chief differences between conventionally bred wools and SRS is that the latter wools are comprised of fibre bundles (not staples or locks) that are bold and deep crimping (not true to type). The fibre bundle is the basic unit of fleece structure and is seen clearly when fleeces are composed of a high density of highly aligned fibres. Staples, particularly thick locks, are entangled fibres of lower density animals that produce processing problems.
Annie Georgeson is an Australian graphic designer, who runs an independent textile and graphic design studio that specialises in textile design for domestic and in particular commercial applications including New Parliament House, Canberra, ABC Studios, Ultimo, Sydney, and the Park Royal Hotel, Canberra.
Georgeson started painting and drawing from a young age, which led to an interest in textiles. She studied painting, drawing, sculpture and design and learnt silk-screen printing from Florence Broadhurst, later selling her own fabrics to boutiques. She also studied architectural drafting and met her partner Ian Bailey while doing work experience at John Andrews International. Together, they turned what had initially been a hobby into a silk screening printing business aimed at architects and interior designers, who would commission hand-painted fabrics for commercial spaces. This led Georgeson to designing woven fabrics, rugs and carpets.
She was originally commissioned to design carpets, rugs and furnishing textiles for the opening of the new ANA Hotel, Sydney, in 1992. In 1998, she met with the new General Manager and was accepted as the design consultant for the hotel's textile refurbishment. Georgeson upgraded the 'Proteaceae' design she had commissioned for the original commission. The 'Stripe' design was introduced for the refurbishment to provide a simple classic design to co-ordinate with the room scheme.
Australia's natural environment has been an important source of inspiration for her designs in both a visual and emotional sense, and the Proteaceae genus was a major inspiration for her ANA textiles. Georgeson has remarked: "I have always been fascinated by the forms in the environment and, being fiercely Australian, particularly related to our Australian environment, [and] this has provided me with endless inspiration, particularly extracting details".
Georgeson works by magnifying the detail as though looking through a macro lens, then she abstracts the environment, flora, landscape and colour. "All designs I have created from day one on this project have capitalised on my long love affair with the Australian environment... I have been able to put these images into a context required by the hotel, i.e., rich, classic character", she says.
(Biographical material on Annie Georgeson kindly supplied by Grace Cochrane, Senior Curator, from initial correspondence with Annie Georgeson in January 2002).