The illustrative work of Edith Rewa offers a nostalgic and romantic slice of native Australian flora and fauna. Step into her world and be ready to book your trip to the Blue Mountains!
Share with us a little about your background and the resulting work you do? I’m a textile designer and Illustrator whose work dips into botanical and Natural History illustration with a special fondness for the native Flora and Fauna of the Australian Bush. This love came from growing up surrounded by a pretty special native garden in rural Victoria with parents who encouraged an outdoor life! I enjoyed drawing and printmaking at school but never really imagined it might be a career path. A last minute discovery of a Textile Design course at RMIT Uni made it all a bit more realistic and allowed me to use textiles to give my illustrations further purpose and mobility. From there I jumped head first into a commercial print design studio job for three years in Sydney before moving to the Blue Mountains to freelance and work on my brand creating silk scarves.
Tell us about your creative process? Travelling and keeping my eyes open and hand excited to draw is a big part of wanting to create work. It usually starts with a plant, place or just a floating idea. I do a lot of thinking before I start drawing – what is it about a certain plant, collection or place I want to capture? Is there a story I want to tell? All these elements determine how I start but often it is with my pencil and sketchbook in the bush. Once I have recorded the feeling and enough detail I snap a few photos for reference and head back to my studio to pen up the illustrations. Most of my composition and colouring work happens in Photoshop so a good scanner is essential!
What are some distinctive career highlights that stick out for you? The transition from full time work into freelance working from home was a big one for me. I think for a lot of people (myself in- cluded) this can be a massive mental jump, but a pretty empowering one too! From there on it has been a dream to collaborate with some women I very much look up to such as Milk and Thistle and Gorman. Another more recent one has been the launch of my new collection of work ‘Field Trip’ in Melbourne with the support of the wonderful ‘Guild of Objects’, surrounded by friends and family.
You have such a beautiful body of work spread across all sorts of mediums. Can you pinpoint a favourite piece or collection? That is a tricky one! Probably my recent collection of silk scarves, ‘Field Trip’ which loosely explores the colours/patterns and plant forms of desert flora. A lot of my time and heart went into it but it was also a pretty indulgent project. It involved a lot of travel and learning around Australia, drawing on location, painting, studio designing and collaborating with talented friends – a good mix.
What’s next for Edith Rewa? Some new limited edition clothing and art prints are in the works for ‘Field Trip’ as well as some upcoming exhibi- tions -one in Melbourne called “Bloomin’ Beauty” (a group show on contemporary botanical illus- tration), a solo show on local Blackheath flora/ landscapes and one more group one at the Wood- ford Academy. To keep me sane along the way I have some exciting freelance projects with some lovely customers lined up and hope to explore a little more into some printed publication illustration work this year too!
If we had just one weekend to spare to visit your region, what are some MUST DO’s we should include? Lockleys Pylon, Hanging Rock and Grand Canyon walks – for the views and of course the plants! Anonymous for a quinoa choc-chip cookie and the Rhododendron Gardens in Blackheath for the birds and a relax.