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Flinders Outback Inspires
a Winning Wool Design
A childhood connection to the Flinders Ranges and Outback has been the inspiration behind the winning entry in an exciting design competition launched by Australia’s largest independent wool marketer, Australian Wool Network (AWN).
Goodwood graphic designer Karen English was overwhelmed to be named the winner of the community-led competition which focused on the region’s woolgrowers. Karen’s winning entry will feature on a homewares blanket produced by AWN from wool grown by the sheep that graze the land of the Flinders Ranges and Outback.
Karen feels a strong connection to the huge mountains, vast skies and endless plains and, with her father being one of the first exploration geologists in the region in the 1960s and 70s, was lucky enough to travel with her family as a child to experience the splendour and beauty of the region.
“Creating this design was a real challenge for me. It was all about the lines of the ranges, the creeks and rivers, the dunes and plains, the tracks and the reflections, and the over-arching curve of the earth,’’ Karen said.
“As a graphic designer I am usually designing for other people, but this time it was about doing something for myself. This was enough for me, but to win was a real thrill. It is impossible to know what the judges are looking for as abstract design is so subjective, but I was very happy with the final result.’’
The competition forms part of AWN’s Direct Network Advantage (DNA) campaign, a provenance program, which showcases some of Australia’s best wool growing regions and enables consumers to understand where their woollen products come from and for growers to see the final products made from their luxurious merino wool.
The DNA program allows customers to scan a QR enabled swing tag to view videos with breathtaking scenery which showcase the wool growing region, the wool growers and their sheep which contributed to the making of the product, and to hear their unique stories.
Like the growers, who are able to follow where their wool goes, Karen is excited about seeing her design come to life.
“It will be very exciting to be able to see the process of my design becoming an actual blanket made from this beautiful merino wool from this amazing region,’’ she said.
Taking part in the competition has also taken Karen back to her interior design roots. Having completed an interior design degree in the 90s, Karen found that with the country deep in recession there was no building and therefore no design work in Adelaide. This forced a move to Sydney until 2000 where there was a boom in graphic design and Karen has followed that path without looking back.
“I found this competition very interesting as I haven’t done a lot of design for textiles, and it was wonderful to combine my love of both interior and graphic design,’’ she said.
AWN Marketing Specialist and DNA Program Manager Cynthia Jarratt says some of the world’s most desirable merino wool is being grown in the Flinders and Outback and the DNA program provides a wonderful opportunity to showcase this to Australian and international customers.
As the competition winner, Karen will receive $1000 from AWN and an additional $1000 donated by local woolgrowers Tony and Julie Smith from Rawnsley Park Station and Markus Jebsen Australia of Martins Well Rangeland Reserve and $500 worth of the final product featuring her design. The finished homewares product, featuring the winning design, will be sold through select retail outlets and on the Merino & Co website.