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Local inspiration

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We’re inspired by the world around us – our colours and patterns are drawn from the chalk downs and ancient villages around our workshop

My new home in the Adur Valley has inspired my new collection of Dora fabrics – I’ve discovered incredible patterns carved and painted in the ancient medieval churches along the South Down Way near where I live and have been drawing and printing these all summer.

I’ve named my designs after our local Saint’s – St Cuthman, St Peter, St Botolph and St Mary. Apparently St Cuthman pushed his mother to Steyning in a wheelbarrow – you see his picture all over Steyning and the boys climb on his statue next to the Church in Steyning.

I discovered St Cuthman while I was sitting in St Andrew’s church, and became absorbed in the fantastic Romanesque stone covering the arches and columns. It wasn’t long before I was drawing and my loopy undulating St Cuthman pattern came to life.

St Peter is a more geometric pattern from the nearby frescoed church of Coombes, which shelters in the Downs above the River Adur. I came upon these frescoes by chance when I wandered into this humble looking church and was amazed by these almost Byzantine decorations. Designing St Peter took me a long time, with lots of drawing and printing untiI I got it right. Now when I look at it, it reminds me of the shew shwe designs from my native South Africa.

The flowery design of St Botolph is based on the beautiful Georgian wood-carvings in the nearby church of St Botolph right on the banks of the River Adur. If you get a chance – do pop in and have a look at these churches yourself – they are very special places and so very English and ancient.