Scatter Daisy, by Florence Broadhurst.
I’d not heard of this lady until a beautiful pillow caught my eye in a local design shop. It very quickly forced its way into my life and onto on my couch.
Reading up on her in this fascinating book, Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret & Extraordinary Lives, I discovered a colourful woman who led many lives, a few of which may have been pure invention. She was adventurous and a bit naughty, which makes her a very good read as well as a design inspiration.
Born in a country town in North Australia, she had a career as a starlet stage performer in Asia, opened a fashion house in 1930’s London, and was a painter of classic Australian landscapes before starting her textile business as a last ditch effort to make some money!
Never short of ideas for self promotion, she made quite a splash in Australian society, always good for business. Her design inspirations are varied, a little art nouveau here, Japanese there, Op Art over there.
Butterflies (below) is restrained and timeless.
Others are lavish and exuberant, perfect for celebrity boudoirs, bars and hotel rooms.
An Asian influence is obvious in many.
Her groundbreaking designs languished for 20 years after her death in the 70s. Nowadays they’re available again, produced in Sydney by Signature Prints and sold worldwide.
Japanese Floral (below) is the fabric of my pillow.
Hollow Squares, from the late-sixties. Dizzying.
What I love most about Florence’s story is that she didn’t start her textile printing business until the age of 60!
This is very good news for any of us who are still making up our minds what we want to be when we grow up.
It seems it’s not necessary to grow up at all. Like Florence, we can go on re-inventing ourselves and having fun until we run out of steam.