Lifestyle

Fabricanation Print and Textile Design

Owned by Jane Solomon, Fabricnation was established in February 2007. To design and produce beautiful textiles inspired by a love of fabric and the African textile tradition. Fabricnation produces fabrics in a manner that is respectful to the environment and uses locally woven fabrics and manufacturers to assist in keeping the Western Cape, South African textile industry alive. We create fabrics that are affordable to middle income South Africans, and bring freshness to the marketplace.

BELOW: (Toile du Jozi) Tells the story of an African city rendered in the faded style of a Toile du Jouy fabric but instead of depicting typically French rural scenes it shows Johannesburg (Jozi) street scenes. Urban meets rural, formal meets informal, tradition meets modernity.

The Product

Original South African textile designs printed as running meters onto 100% cotton fabrics. High quality made with love. Presently the collection is made up of 16 designs. Two to three designs are added to build the collection each year. Our main product is fabric sold by the meter. To establish an export market it became necessary to produce made up products these include cushion covers, bags, cloth covered journals, tablecloths etc. Fabricnation also reupholsters old furniture, turns fabric into wallpaper and uses fabrics to have headboards made up (to order) Fabricnation uses off cuts and end of the roll fabrics to make up many of their smaller products.

BELOW: (No 1) A mix of images inspired by the packaging of basic South African household products. (Four Aces) A mix of images, mealies, cards, stars and fish, inspired by the packaging of basic South African household products combine to create a strip repeat evocative of West African textiles. (Liliacea)This print investigates the strange succulents that are part of the family, Liliaceae. Printed “with roots” the textile celebrates indigenous South African flora and the healing properties, muti, associated with these plants.

Design

Fabrics are designed by either Jane Solomon or Jann Cheifitz. Designs are inspired by the indigenous nature, culture, environment and social issues of South Africa. Many of the designs look at re-interpretations of classic European patterns into an African Context. Designs are 100% original.

Printing of fabrics

Printing of fabric is outsourced to Imaterial printers who are based in Maitland, Cape Town. Jane Solomon oversees the Fabricnation production. Informed by her 20 year experience as a” hands on” screen printer she is able to make sure that all printed fabric produced is of a high quality.

BELOW: (Veld) An African savannah rendered in repeat in the style of a 1970s landscape photograph. (Old Postcards) A collage of a collection of old postcards from a faded South African past. (Africaqn Royale) A playful African treatment on traditional damask, the royal lion takes center stage surrounded by ostrich fronds, rampant lions and birds.

Customers include private customers (often clients who are buying fabric to make curtains, upholster old chairs etc), interior decorators (working on small and big domestic and corporate projects), export clients (Fabricnation sends products to Norway, France, USA, UK, the Netherlands and Australia) and retail outlets (Fabricnation provides products to Kalk Bay Modern, Heartworks and the Fringe Arts Pop up shops) Fabricnation also looks at showcasing their textiles in a gallery environment. Jane Solomon’s Positive Power print was exhibited as part of the 2010 Spier Contemporary exhibition at the City Hall Cape Town. Showing new textile prints in this setting assists in developing the Fabricnation name.

Fabricnation is part of the Threadcount Collective – a group of small textile designers and manufacturers who meet to discuss issues pertaining to the industry. Threadcount members promote local textiles and in doing this help each other to broaden their markets.

BELOW: (Bokkie) A reinterpretation of the springbok, inspired by art deco textiles and the South African railways

Giving Back

Jane Solomon also facilitates workshops in Craft Development. Much of this work is done for the Cape Craft Design Institute as well as for other local and national organisations. In this work Jane trains participants (who make products to earn a living but have had no formal education) in drawing, design, product development, production, costing and pricing and marketing.

Jane has also worked extensively with people living with HIV. In this work creativity is utilised as a tool for self empowerment and personal growth. This work has taken Jane to other African countries including Tanzania, Ethiopia and Zambia.

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