Artist Collaboration: Turning her Hollyhock Watercolor Painting into a Beautiful Floral Textile

What happens when a watercolorist and a textile designer collaborate? Custom designed upholstery fabric and a newly reupholstered sofa, naturally. 

Watercolorist Hilary Warren Simmons, living new Weymouth, UK, is the talented artist who painted the beautiful hollyhocks featured on this sofa. While visiting her studio, I began by taking a photo with my favourite Sony Alpha Nex Digital camera of Hilary's watercolour painting neatly framed.  From there, the next step was to develop a design repeat. I worked up a few examples with some color options and sent them off to our digital artist/printer, Diana Ballard, to do test prints which I then mailed to Hilary. We ended up loving the same one. We tweaked/adjusted the details of the print in the repeat to make it what Hilary was happy with and adjusted the scale of the bloom to the scale of the sofa. While she checked with her upholsterer local to where she lives, I went shopping for a fabric that would be suitable for recovering this very special Thomas Hardy antique sofa.  Found one at one of the best places for upholstery fabrics in LA - Diamond Foam on La Brea in Hollywood - they had to special order it from Europe and it felt a bit strange having it shipped from the UK to the US just to be printed here (and then shipped back to its new home in the UK) by the wonderful textile art printer, DianaBallardDesigns, as a special order.

Take a look below to see the transformation of this Thomas Hardy “Hollyhocks” print Sofa! 


And here is Hilary's original watercolor painting of the hollyhocks...


A little glimpse into the process...


Hilary (watercolorist) and Louise (textile designer) below.